Be like Martin O’Neill, not Alan Shearer


Ask anyone who has never played the game, managed, or run a football club, and they will tell you how easy it is.  In reality, success and failure on or off the field is determined by complex and interdependent factors.  You need to be a footballer to understand, that even in this modern time of sports science, how fatigue affects your performance late in a game.

You need to be a manager to know that scoring more goals is not just about putting two up front instead of one, or that encouraging players to pass with more urgency can cause undesired outcomes.  Few of us have the benefit of these experiences.

Then there are those who should know these complexities, and at one time, maybe did know, but are now lost in blissful ignorance.  Alan Shearer, you have been called out.

Martin O’Neill distilled his 31-years managerial experience into eight words for Shearer, who criticised Fulham’s Ireland international right back, Cyrus Christie, saying, “Maybe that’s why he [Shearer] only managed eight games”.

Alan, if you knew more about football management than you did, perhaps you would have recorded more than a single win in the business.  Your knowledge of management is not sufficiently useful to extend your game experience to double figures.  Worse than that, despite an illustrious playing career, you have forgotten that all those complexities and interdependencies exist.

There’s a debate to be had (another day) about who makes the better analyst, a former player or a  trained journalist.  The journalist will never know just how hard it is to make a 20 yard pass when you are so exhausted you can hardly see.  But too often, former footballers do not use analytical skills, which is pretty important when analysing.

Easy answers are offered for complex problems continually.  Why did Fulham ship five goals to Arsenal?  Maybe it was because Cyrus Christie took it upon himself to play as wing-back for the day, as Shearer suggests.  Or maybe it was a combination or several players actions, as well as tactics, counter-tactics, relative economic resource, the break of the ball and a dozen other things.

Martin O’Neill added, “[Shearer] should have prefaced things by saying ‘I don’t know what the manager has said’ because, at the end of the day, the manager has asked him to stay up the pitch and not worry about getting back.”

Be like Martin, not Alan.  People who offer simple solutions to complex problems usually have a huge knowledge gap.


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  1. mike in toronto on

    Saw this posted elsewhere, and forgot to ask you guys if it is true … are the tickets really more expensive for the Celtic/Hearts semi than the Sevco/Sheep semi?

  2. MIKE IN TORONTO. you bad bhoy your gonna be called a souptaker.lol. in other news mike dog haters I apologise, will send you a pic of Donny the pup sometime tonight, when I get my old 65 year old head around this new fangled technology. hope you and seamus are well ktf.




    There’s a huge amount of irony in the responses to this article that also reference the article about Neil Doncaster in that way



    I didn’t read a single comment that seemed to understand what Paul67 was saying, or seemed to have even read the actual words in the article



    Paul’s framing this now in terms we should all be able to understand. Being a Shearer, seeing even moderately complex things like the performance of a right back in a football match in simple terms makes you a simpleton.



    CQN is an intelligent blog, I think it’s wasted on us sometimes

  4. Danso



    Agree. I once tried to get his autog when I came out of the tkt office at CP when they were goin to Barrowfield & he blanked me & others.



    Wee fe**** & ahem….dodge city candidate.




  5. ABERDEEN have called for more transparency from the SPFL after boosting their ticket allocation for this month’s Betfred Cup semi-final.



    The Dons were left furious after being handed an initial share of 16,8000 briefs for the Hampden clash against Rangers.


    Dons chief Rob Wicks hit out at the length of time it has taken to update their supporters on ticket arrangements – as Gers also had a dig over their Hampden allocation.



    He said: “Whilst we are pleased that we have now been able to secure a larger guaranteed allocation of 20,300 tickets for our supporters, the fact that it’s taken ten days since the semi-final draw leaves a lot to be desired.


    These unnecessary delays surrounding the venue and kick off time of our match have impacted upon the time available to sell tickets.



    “Last Friday we were told we’d get the North Stand if we sold substantially all of our initial allocation of 16,800 tickets.



    “In good faith we gave this information to our fans – only to find out yesterday that in order to get the North Stand we’d have to sell virtually all of our initial allocation of 16,800 tickets in a matter of just a few days, putting us in an impossible position.



    “I’m sure we can all appreciate the SPFL’s desire to see a full stadium and maximise ticket income for these high-profile fixtures but moving forward allocations have to be done on a basis which puts supporters first and without the time constraints we have seen here.



    “We at Aberdeen are calling for more transparency within the game in Scotland. Our fans deserve to know these facts. We must put fans first.



    “We sincerely hope the SPFL will have learnt from this experience and that we don’t see a repeat.


    In a statement, Gers confirmed the club would receive just under 26,000 briefs.



    It read: “Rangers are pleased commonsense has prevailed and that our supporters will be able to purchase the lion’s share of tickets available for the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.



    “We have received an allocation of just under 26,000 tickets with the possibility of more, subject to how other sales go.


    “It is important to make it clear there had been an attempt to deny Rangers fans all of Hampden’s north stand but this was resisted fiercely and that entire area will now be a sea of red, white and blue.



    “Hampden should now be full to capacity for a match which is eagerly awaited.



    The Huns arrogance knows no bounds, delaying tactics from their brothers at Hampden, to limit the time Aberdeen would have to sell the initial raft of tickets, knowing the huns would pick up the slack.More collusion between the vermin and The SFA.

  6. In his excellent book, The Boy on the Shed, Paul Ferris talks in detail about Shearer’s fateful experience. Buy the book, you’ll thank me for it. But in summary….



    Shearer inherited a squad that contained (amongst other plums) a professional kamikaze called Barton who got sent off v Liverpool in the crucial run in. And an ageing show pony called Owen who continually declared himself unfit to ensure his next bosman would be the best possible.



    Despite relegation, Shearer was convinced he’d have the chance to take them back up. Till he made the schoolboy error of speaking ill of Lambias to Ashley. And then he was gone….



    I don’t like shearer. I think he talks mainly trite pash (as do almost all the ex pros), but the MON put down smacks of MON’s often arrogant prickliness.



    As for wee me having the intelligence to observe and analyse a sport that involves kicking a ball into the net…..as part of a small/medium Plc …. well I don’t need to. Cqn and kris Boyd will keep me right!!



    HH jg

  7. mike in toronto on




    Soup-taker? Cant see anyone calling me that…… lots of other things, sure. But, soup taker? nah…



    Talk to the boss and get the photos sent!







  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Did Misser just say he had never pulled out of a Scotland squad without being injured?


    Did he not retire from international duty about five years ago?


    Is that not making yourself unavailable without being injured?

  9. Celtic40me



    How very dare you!


    I love mince (and would have it on my quiz team before shearer every time!!!)



    HH jg

  10. JamesGang


    The time when Shearer kicked Lenny on the head and told the FA that if they done him he wouldn’t play for the brits again, showed them both up for what they are.

  11. I was in the directors box with my brother in the Riverside stadium at a Middlesbrough v Newcastle game years ago.



    Shearer was in the hospitality, an ignorant man, whilst Jack Charlton was a gentleman.

  12. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Once Again !


    Castle Greyskull-thats where the good guys live.


    Snake Mountain-thats where the bad guys live.




  13. Can I start by asking why I am seeing an advert to buy a red ( British legion) poppy – not impressed P67.




    When are other clubs outwith Aberdeen going to challenge the continual beneficial decisions towards only 1 club from both FtSFL and FtSFA ?


    Again, Celtic, I believe you as a club should be supporting Aberdeen, and then work to extend the content of the challenge to capture all areas.


    I see one club getting significantly more tickets for. Cup semi final at Hamdump than another club


    Why ? Explain FtSPFL, what’s the reason – same club Doncaster ???


    The European decision on crowd control is astonishing – why are UEFA accepting a club cannot guarantee a visiting clubs fans Safety ???

  14. TTT-congratulations on the new arrival.?


    Being a grampa of 3 it definitely is best thing ever?


    Although my 3 just away,and it’s flipping bliss ?

  15. Read back earlier and saw the comments about the Gorbals.



    I was cristened in St Francis and stayed in Caledonia Rd next to the graveyard until moving to Castlemilk when I was five.



    My most vivid memory was…. when at the bottom of the close a man/teenager probably, put a dead rat in my hood.



    I ran up the stairs ( tap dancer) with the dead rat in my hood chappin the door frantically.



    My ma answered it and screamed and then the next door neighbour came out and took the rat out off my hood.



    I’ve always minded the pink & white stripe bag the bassa pulled the rat from.



    Think it was a chemist bag.

  16. MIT- Internet’s been down for the last hour- I had saved the following for when it came back:-





    MIT @ 6.03



    OK- points made at last.



    I think you have stated that the article “seems” to suggest:-



    1) You need to have elite experience to comment


    2) Or you need elite experience to comment with insight.


    3) That AS was a “failure” though he only had a short time to prove himself.


    4) That the “shocking part was the “run a football club” element in the sentence- “Ask anyone who has never played the game, managed, or run a football club, and they will tell you how easy it is.”


    5) That in its true intent, the article was about Celtic and not the MON/AS spat and was aimed at us or , at least, the minehafters amongst us.




    Now that you have explained, others can see (sighted or not) or make a stab at your intended meaning as I just have. And I welcome any corrections if I have misrepresented your points in summary.



    I will try to answer them



    Firstly, if it only “seems” that way to you, there is an opportunity to ask questions to establish what was truly meant, rather than what was “seemingly” meant. You might have been answered- who knows?



    But taking your points in turn-



    1) I find it hard to believe that Paul intended this point to be taken. My reasoning is that he runs a blog for football comment. He knows that very few of the posters on CQN have managerial or coaching experience at any serious level. If he thought our opinions were worthless then why give a platform to them?



    Some amongst us may have more football skill than others but that does not mean they have the ability to teach or coach (the George Best syndrome). Some are good teachers and can carefully explain points but cannot mange a rowdy bunch of competing egos to be found in the elite levels of football. There are many ways in which you can be overall incompetent despite having some skills.



    Many of us in our, professions and careers, have developed a certain amount of expertise but, in the modern world, we know that the “doctor knows best” school of an appeal to Authority, no longer holds the sway that it did.



    Nevertheless, that does not translate into your opinion is as good as mine. The doctor still has to endorse “evidence-based” interventions and cannot be seen to endorse (as oposed to tolerate or allow) quack cures. The solicitor will take a clients views into account when framing the case, for defence or prosecution, but they will not surrender professional knowledge and ethics to be dictated to by a client.



    That is the middle line, the complex world, the grey area – that I think leads us to dismiss the argument that we are not allowed to make comment.



    We are.



    But we still have to make sense and compel in order for our voice to have influence. People within the profession of football, with many years of success and continued job offers, such as MON has had, are allowed to question why this particular cook , AS, could not stand the heat of his first kitchen and why he has never tried out for a second kitchen. That is a legitimate criticism.



    MON may still have to answer the point he made about the deployment of the his right back or he may have addressed it elsewhere (the added comment from MON in Paul’s penultimate paragraph, suggests he did) but it does not invalidate the main point- AS has made a living out of mundane comments about football and has worked less hard on his skills as a pundit and analyst, than he ever did as a trainee footballer. And the fact that his mundane idiocies have an audience does not vindicate their profundity any more than record sales make Westlife a great band.



    2) I think this is, actually, a point worth making. Not all comments made by amateurs are stupid and unhelpful to professionals. Many people can make sensible points from a less-informed or studied perspective. Not all points can be dismissed out of hand because you are unproven. But the amateur commentator on the Law or Medicine is not the first port of call for the busy professional who needs a 2nd opinion or re-assurance. They are most likely to seek out someone who has dealt with and dealt with, successfully, similar situations.



    MON slapped down AS because he does not fel he has proven himself as a fellow manager. He also slapped him down for his lack of consideration of an alternative viewpoint on the matter (the 2nd last para quote again).



    3) 8 games (which produced relegation for Newcastle) is not a great sample from which to base AS’s managerial expertise. However AS’s subsequent career does provide such a base. The man never returned to football management. In the mad world of celebrity mad football, I am confident that he had offers but he has stayed in the safe world of undemanding football punditry. Give some lazy soundbites! Ridicule anyone who “does their homework”, such as learning how to pronounce foreign names or even learn the names and traits of foreign players and you have a successful career in British TV punditry.



    4) I think you have ignored the import of the final part of the sentence i.e. “and they will tell you how easy it is”. That was a point made, and clarified and expanded, about the certainty of those who peddle simple solutions to complex problems. They often quote succesful managers who said that “Football is a simple game at heart”. And it is. But it is also a complex game with many variables. The days of getting by, as a manager, by just saying “get intae them”, applying the hairdryer treatment and basically exhorting players to try harder or be better, are long gone. You now have to work at your game. Jock Stein may have said it was simple but he did not give one explanation and let it be; he worked hard day in and out on the training ground to embed the skill and tactics, both simple and complex, needed to be a good football team.


    There is a knowledge gap between Shearer and MON when it comes to football management just as there was a skills gap between MON and Shearer re scoring goals. The former is much larger than the latter.



    5) I have no idea if this was just a parable about Celtic but, so what if it was? The intent is not to tell you that you cannot comment. To me it reads more about being informed about what you say. Nobody suffers fools gladly and AS was being, at least, moderately foolish. You would not listen too long to someone telling you how to solicit better if you felt they were uninformed, inexperienced and, above all, not making sense.



    AS got it in the neck for all 3 failings. The third failing was, in my view, the one that MON was applying most scorn towards.

  17. LMS 11 – ROUND 3





    Good Evening Contenders, and with less than 24 hours to go before the first kick-off in the third round of the competition, the clock is ticking. If you’re still trying to decide who to pick amongst a very tough round of fixtures ( some say the toughest yet ), then time is running out.



    No pressure. ?



    In the week that The Walking Dead returned to our TV screens ( no, not those Walking Dead ), this weekend will be the last chance to buy your life back should your selection let you down.



    If you haven’t already done so – and many thanks to those who have – e-mail your selection from the fixtures listed below to cqnpredictor@gmail.com prior to kick off in your teams game. Pay special attention to date and kick-off times, because the fixtures run from Thursday through to Sunday.






    Good Luck !








    Montenegro v Serbia (19:45)



    Israel v Scotland (19:45)








    Greece v Hungary (19:45)



    Croatia v England (19:45)








    Republic of Ireland v Denmark (19:45)



    Slovakia v Czech Republic (14:00)



    Netherlands v Germany (19:45)








    Romania v Serbia (14:00)



    Russia v Turkey (17:00)



    Poland v Italy (19:45)

  18. Stairheedrammy on

    Sipsini, very generous of the guy to part with his pet. At least you were close to a proper burial ground.

  19. MiT


    There is a programme on BBC4 that I want to watch now so I haven`t got time to read all SFTB`s post above at the momentso this point might already be redundant !


    Anyway,although I thought you made some decent points , I felt that the intent Paul`s article could be summed up in his final sentence:


    ” People who offer simple solutions to complex problems usually have a huge knowledge gap.”


    If so, I agree with him.


    Cheerio for now,



  20. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on



    … in dealing with Kev’s posts, but the choice of descriptors when talking about the Celtic support, is inappropriate and offensive imo…., the use of phrases such as, “The slevvirs are dripping aff the green gullibilly’s chins!”, or, “Celtic supporter base were no more than, spineless, green huns” or “Shame on you, you easily mugged cowards.” are offensive to me, and imo should have no place on a Blog for Celtic Supporters…





    Agree with all of that.



    Make your point by all means, but personal abuse and derogatory name-calling (albeit targetted at a wide group [i.e., everyone who goes to Celtic PArk to support Celtic] rather than at specified, named individuals) is not good.



    MiT – Wee BGFC still making his break for freedom – escape tunnel dug, but awaiting a reply from our host…






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