My initial reaction to a Sunday 12:00 kick off time is not positive. It’s out of routine, so there’s an inherent objection, but as I don’t have a long journey to Celtic Park it may end suit me better than a later kick off.
Fans who travel from great distances will have the inconvenience of an early rise, but some, who are dependent on public transport, will be prevented from attending, which is never a scenario to be treated lightly.
I see a bit of angst against James Forrest over his decision to reject a new Celtic contract and opt instead to leave the club when his contract expires next year, if not before. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of James. When he arrived in the team in the wake of Aiden McGeady’s departure he was on fire, but the intervening years have not been kind.
Injury has robbed him of a regular starting place, and a fair bit of form when he does get in the team. Sean Maloney was in a similar position a few years back. Injured for long periods, even when he was fit he was often a substitute. He needed to leave Celtic Park for a fresh start. Had he stayed, I don’t think he would have rediscovered his early peaks. Putting all emotive issues aside, James Forrest looks like a player in need of a fresh start.
He’s not alone, of course.
Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu took a shot across Uefa bows when he told the BBC he wants big (trans: rich) clubs who fail to qualify for the Champions League to be given wild card access. Make no mistake, this is a follow up to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s recent utterances on creating a closed-shop tournament.
Bartomeu also said he views the FA Premier League as the biggest threat to Barcelona, which is 100% true. When teams like Bayern Munich and Barcelona coordinate statements on structural change you know that profound moves are underway.
I’m all for change, Celtic have much to gain, but we need to organise quickly. Find similar allies – big clubs from Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Turkey and Portugal – and plan accordingly. Europe’s major clubs are each leaving hundreds of millions of TV money on the table each year because of the existing league and European tournament structures.
England has opened their eyes to what is possible. Change of some sort is inevitable now the ball is in play.