Celtic, Scottish Football

RIP Billy McNeill: Our Hero

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Reposted on this very sad day. Farewell to a legend, hero and (most importantly) a fine and thoroughly decent man. Gone, but never to be forgotten. RIP Billy McNeill. Mr Celtic.

The Clumpany


Good Evening.

The Clumpany has not been in a position to try your patience with regular blogs in recent times.

And I wasn’t going to say anything in blog form about the unveiling of the Billy McNeill statue today, because far more articulate folk than me can better-express the significance of the occasion.

But then I saw the range and depth-of-feeling of the comments from all sorts of folk, and I concluded that I should say something. Because today’s unveiling really means something to the likes of me: an ordinary punter who loves Celtic and the game in which they play.

And if nothing else, the example of the Lions – a bunch of local lads who came together and were sparked to greatness (by a genius of a manager) – shows that even apparently-humble folk can be worthy of note.

So here is my little observation…

Doing justice to…

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Celtic, Satire

Long Live The King

Good Evening.

The Clumpany hears tidings of a major disturbance in Leicester in recent days.

Archaeologists report that the late King of England Richard III – who was much maligned by Shakespeare and eventually found buried under a Leicester car park in 2012 before being reinterred in the local Cathedral – has been on the move again!

Apparently the Cathedral clergy were shocked to find his tomb disturbed, with the monument moved and his coffin broken open. They immediately called in the local archaeologists who were familiar with the remains of the last Plantagenet King.

Sadly, the experts were at a loss to explain what had happened. Their initial suspicion of grave robbing was quickly ruled out when they confirmed that the coffin had been broken open from the INSIDE in (possibly) some sort of ironic tribute to Rangers* ‘coming’ again.

However, thankfully the answer eventually came when new Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers held court at a local arena and informed the public – including a number of those local archaeologists – that he’d been informed by his staff that “Richard III wants a word with you.”

Brendan Rodgers apparently awaited the knock on his office door, and when it came, he invited Richard III to sit down.

Knowing his place, the one-time sovereign King of England said how pleased he was to meet Brendan Rodgers.

Richard III didn’t fancy Celtic to beat both Hearts and Hibs away within the space of a few days without Brendan Rodgers at the helm…

“Ooft, I’m pleased to meet you too Richard.” Brendan said in reply. “What can I do for you?”

“Well I didn’t want to just lay here in regal repose.” said Richard III.

“I wasn’t sure if you wanted me here in Leicester” said Richard III.

And then the heroic, history-minded new Leicester manager replied “Listen Richard, as long as I’m here, you’re here”.

Whereupon the audience clapped at the magic of Brendan Rodgers…

Meanwhile… 😉

#KeepOnClumping

NB Remember folks, it’s just a bit of satirical fun after a trying week…

Celtic, Media, Satire, Scottish Football, Sevco

How To Celebrate A Sevco Victory

Good Evening.

Overheard in a pub a short while ago. Possibly.

Celtic fan #1: “F*ck me. That’s embarrassing. Shocking from Celtic. I can’t believe we lost to the new club. What the f*ck has the board been playing at? And what about the manager and players? Do they think that’s acceptable?”

Celtic fan #2: “I know mate. Disgraceful stuff. The pressure is on now to sort the side out for the rest of the season.”

Celtic fan #3: “Aye, we are still top, we won the League Cup and we are still in Europe, but FFS we will never hear the end of it. Lawwell and Rodgers better get things sorted for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, over in another corner of the pub, the chat is also all about football… 😉

Sevco fan #1: “F*cking brilliant. We showed those b*stard paedo Tarrier f*ckers why they should go home!”

Sevco fan #2 “Spot on. Fenian b*stards. They are a f*cking stain on society. We showed them. Dave King is definitely bringing us 55. They won’t be able to handle it. The smelly mhanky bheasts!”

Sevco fan #3 “Well said mate. We are The People and they are sub f*cking human. This is our country and they should know their place! The Gaffer is going to be a legend when he delivers 55! F*ck Brenda Rodgers”

Sevco fan #1: “Brenda? F*cking brilliant mate! The Tarriers don’t have banter like that!”

And in a reserved area of the pub there were a few Scottish football journalists…

Journo #1: “Fantastic game yesterday. Brilliant result! It’s like David Murray never left Ibrox!”

Journo #2: “Usually I pretend he hasn’t! But yeah, it’s absolutely f*cking fantastic!” [*Rubs self uncomfortably*]

Journo #3: “Are you OK mate? Only you look like you are in pain.”

Journo #2: “Well I overdid the celebrations yesterday.”

Journo #3: “How do you mean? You are rubbing your [*cough*] groin area FFS!”

Journo #2: “Aye well I might have accidentally rubbed all the skin off my c*ck in the excitement.”

Journo #1: “F*ck, I’m glad it’s not just me! I’ve been in agony all day, but have been trying to hide it!”

Journo #2: “Good to know you are on board! How about you pal? Any chafing after the big win?”

Journo #3: “Bloody hell. Some of us have been around long enough to still have our Rangers* 9-in-a-row lubricant when required. It’s all about keeping your dignity. No chafing or blisters here. And look how smooth my hands are as well…”

>>>>>>

#KeepOnClumping

NB Remember folks, it’s just a bit of (admittedly tasteless) satirical fun…

Celtic

RIP Celtic Football Club 2016-18

Good Evening.

Let’s be clear about something. No one in their right mind wants to see a football ‘club’ or fan base that laughs in the face of 276 creditors, and every single tax payer in the United Kingdom be successful.

No one wants to see triumphs going to a ‘football club’ or fan base for whom rules and insolvency laws are a moveable feast as long as a junkie-like craving to wallow in a baseless superiority complex is satisfied.

And no one with a shred of decency in them wants to see people who revel in gloating about child abuse or a famine enjoy any sort of happiness in their lives.

Moreover, no one with any sentience in their brain or regard for the very notions of rational thought and the written or spoken word wants to see the liquidation-denying charlatans of the Scottish sports media – who would rather utter pandering ‘Rangers’ shite than touch an actual story – enjoying themselves.

But fair play to them and Sevco. Their lads won yesterday.

It happens.

I suspect they will all now go forward and become even worse than ever. Their long-established ability to suck the life out of our national sport, society and public discourse intensifying as they sniff an opportunity to continue harming football and the world around them while ultimately ensuring their own long-term disappointment and irrelevance.

Let’s take a moment to pity them, and then leave them to it.

As for Celtic, yesterday ended the first phase of the Brendan Rodgers era in no uncertain terms. It looked finished after the club’s shambolic exit from the Champions League qualifiers a few months ago, following an utterly inexcusable transfer window. However, Rodgers and the players brilliantly pulled themselves together. The club currently sits at the top of the league with a game in hand, a record-equalling trophy in the cabinet and post-Christmas European football to come.

As noted philosopher Roy Walker might say: “it’s good, but it’s not right”. The Celtic that won a double Treble and then a further trophy has run out of road. As Rodgers rightly stated yesterday, it is time to hit the reset button.

New players and a shake up are required. And that includes Brendan taking a long hard look at his selections and tactics, but more importantly the board asking themselves [*sigh*] again, if they are really doing all they can to back a very high quality manager who is enjoying an unprecedented streak of success.

It’s time to consign the seven successive trophies to the past. An augmented and rejuvenated new Celtic needs to start afresh after the winter break.

No excuses and no messing about Celtic. Get it done.

#KeepOnClumping

Celtic, Hibernian, Neil Lennon, Scottish Football

In Defence Of Neil Lennon

Good Evening.

The title of this blog is a lie.
 
I have no defence of Neil Lennon to offer.
 
Do you know why?
 
Because no defence is required.
 
The familiar“he brings it on himself” argument is currently being deployed following a coin striking the Hibernian manager last night. This is – of course – a suggestion that has been repeatedly made following Neil Lennon receiving numerous threats through the post, and being abused and physically assaulted by the side of the pitch.
 
And it is utter bullsh*t of the highest order. No one deserves what Neil Lennon has had to endure over the years as a player or manager. Or indeed as a human being.
 
Let me just stop you there if you are about to claim that Neil Lennon celebrating or savouring a moment on a football pitch is somehow a justification for some or all of the abuse that he has been receiving for many years. Because there are no excuses for what Neil Lennon has had to put up with. His religion, nationality, footballing career and allegiances are utterly immaterial.
 
The facts are very simple. If you are abusing or threatening Neil Lennon as the coin-throwers, pitch-side assaulters, racism-shouters and device-senders have been doing for many years, then you are an absolute disgrace to the very concepts of humanity and morality. What’s more, you also embarrass whatever warped sense of superiority over Neil Lennon and his religion, ethnicity and footballing background that you somehow manage to cling to as you try to survive the modern world.
 
So let us be very clear. The ‘problem with Neil Lennon’ isn’t Neil Lennon’s problem at all.
 
It is the problem of the intolerant and the narrow minded.
 
Not that they have the intelligence or respect for their fellow man to realise this…
 
#KeepOnClumping
Celtic, SPFL

Celtic’s Complacency Trap

Good Evening.

Celtic are an absolute shoe-in to win the league this and every season, aren’t they? And the evidence of the past two campaigns suggests that if they get themselves organised they can win a cup or two most years.

With their financial resources, top boardroom executives, quality manager, massive fan base, large stadium and talented players, no other side in Scotland can hope to compete over the course of a season.

Celtic are bound for 10-in-a-row and beyond, and the only point of interest each season is if they can negotiate the banana skin-laden endurance test of the Champions League qualification marathon.

These are great times for Celtic, as the club reaps the rewards of years of sustainable building, by having an operation and cash which absolutely dwarfs the minnow-like domestic opposition.

Woo hoo!

The above is the sort of view that is easy to adopt – either consciously and arrogantly, or subconsciously (perhaps because you have never known or have forgotten hard footballing times). And to a large degree it is quite a rational point of view to hold when you look at financial statistics, player transfers and wages, and results on the pitch over the past few years.

But it is a view that is absolute b*llocks of the highest order.

Worse than that, it is downright dangerous. Because it leads to people taking their eye off the ball, becoming complacent, and not doing everything they can to maximise the resources at their disposal.

And that way lies the path to defeat. Perhaps even deserved defeat. It leads to the loss of titles and humiliation As well as the potential loss of access to Champions League football.

“Surely Celtic could never fall into that trap?'” I hear you ask. “And even if they did start losing games they have enough to keep winning the title every year, don’t they?”.

Well, it’s too early to say that they are falling into that trap. However, you only have to look at

  • the club’s transfer activity over the summer,
  • some truly limp performances domestically and in Europe; and
  • the sometimes obvious unhappiness of the manager and his sudden diminished ability to fire up the team and win tactical battles week in and week out
  • …to wonder if some sort of rot is setting in.
  • Can anyone observing Celtic over the past few months honestly say that the club – from boardroom to football pitch – looks hungry enough? Does it look as though every sinew is being strained to maximise the on-pitch outcome while not stupidly imperilling the balance sheet?

    I would say that it doesn’t look like that. The root of all of this is open to debate.

    It could be the board’s failure to properly back the manager, it could be the manager suddenly finding he has taken the squad he largely inherited as far as he can and is devoid of miracle-working ideas, or it could be players not having the drive or tactics to ‘go again’ and demolish better-organised opponents for yet another season.

    Whatever the case, the Celtic FC we see on the pitch most games is not the Celtic FC that should be out there with the energy, quality, drive, creativity and perseverance to win and keep on winning in a variety of ways week after week.

    Victories and titles have to be earned no matter how big or good you are. They require everyone to be pulling in the same direction, maximising every strength and minimising every weakness. Every season should be seen as a fresh start and every game should be seen as a renewed challenge. NOTHING should ever be taken for granted if you want to be Champions.

    I am not sure the Celtic FC of 2018-19 is operating in this way. Yet.

    So I end this attempted blog with two questions for the Celtic board, manager, staff and players:

    1. How badly do you want to win the SPFL Premiership (and hopefully the cups) this season?
    2. How are you going to maximise your chances of doing so each and every day?

    If all concerned are not able to answer these questions by singing from the same hymn sheet, then some senior folk perhaps need to think about walking away sooner rather than later.

    HH.

    #KeepOnClumping

    Scottish Football, SFA

    Stop Complaining, The SFA Is Right

    Good Evening.

    The Clumpany noted with some mirth that the manager of Kilmarnock and the statement writer of Aberdeen FC have spoken out about horrendously inconsistent decision making by the SFA-overseen disciplinary process this season.

    To be fair to them, they have a point.

    The sort of point that is so correct that it could be used as the International Standard Measurement of Correctness for the rest of time.

    To outside observers with the capacity to hold a rational thought, the SFA’s disciplinary processes are a complete and utter joke. Much like the governing body itself and and every last apparent arrogance-infused cell of its blazer-wearing time-servers and other seemingly untouchables. Indeed, some might say that they are an embarrassment to the very concept of sport, administration and sports administration.

    But so what? Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and the massed ranks of the gullible folk who buy tickets for SFA-administered Cup and international fixtures can bleat, whine, stamp their feet, and throw as many toys out of the pram as they like. It will make no difference whatsoever, and they are embarrassing themselves if they pretend otherwise.

    Because until the day dawns when fans stop giving money to the SFA and (more importantly) a sufficient number of clubs take an organised collective stand against the SFA (as well as the SPFL for a host of reasons), absolutely nothing will change. NOTHING.

    Until that happens, the SFA is entirely justified in making the sort of statement it issued last night.

    SFA release statement after spotlight aimed at judicial panel

    The SFA is quite clearly implementing and administering processes that have been signed off by its members following their involvement in their design. Processes that give the SFA a large amount of latitude and don’t make it easy to review the consequences.

    The SFA doesn’t even have the clubs over a barrel. They have their tacit consent for what they are doing! So why on Earth should the SFA ever change any aspect of what it does?

    There is an argument which says that even if a good number of larger SPFL clubs took a stand against the SFA nothing would change because the majority of the SFA’s voting members aren’t (for example) even members of the SPFL.

    This argument is more than reasonable!

    When Celtic called for a review of the governance of Scottish football during the Rangers tax case sagas, Stewart Regan pointed out that he had 100+ members and only one of them had called for a review. This may have been true but it pointed to the scope for the SFA to hide behind (and for people seeking election to the top offices in Scottish football to rely upon the votes of) a large number of amateur outfits.

    I personally would argue that it is a complete nonsense that a large number of SFA members outside the SPFL can wield such disproportionate influence in an era of high stakes TV negotiations and Scottish football seeking any ‘USP’ it can find to stand out from the ‘obscenely’ rich leagues around Europe.

    I would like to see Scotland’s professional clubs (including the Ibrox outfit) doing whatever it takes – including threatening boycotts of the Scottish Cup and the withdrawing of players from the Scotland squad – to bring about the end of the 19th Century structures of the SFA. Because then we might stand a chance of getting a professional approach to the future development of the national sport as a whole.

    However, pending that unlikely miracle occurring, I have no doubt that if a significant number of the bigger clubs in Scotland could present a united front to the SFA and say ‘enough is enough – stop making excuses and sort yourselves out’, and could press for specific steps to be taken, it would make the SFA squirm and make it more difficult for them to hide behind process and ‘their members’.

    Sadly I fear that hell will freeze over before Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs, Kilmarnock (and even Sevco in some circumstances) can even begin to agree on a few points of common concern that can be put to the SFA as non-negotiable. Nor do I think that any of them have the guts to actually stand firm on any point of principle either individually or collectively.

    Until that changes they have zero chance of effecting change. And – frankly – right now, they don’t deserve change.

    As a result they should simply ‘suck it up’ and hope enough fans remain blindly loyal enough to go along with them for the money-spinning ride…

    #KeepOnClumping