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Celtic yesterday, today, forever

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The changes over the last decade have been so profound, and are now so established, it’s difficult to recall how different the balance of power was back then.  In 2004, a small handful of people had complete control over the Celtic media narrative.

Was Martin O’Neill going to Leeds United?  He was, you were told he was, live on the country’s most listened to radio programme.  By a former Celtic player, too.  Objectivity and the opportunity to challenge was controlled by the very people who were writing the headlines.

For years, this was the way it was, and it was poisoning Celtic.  The ‘old board’ were worthy of little better, but Fergus McCann was brutally attacked.  He was the man who would bring equality and respect to our club and fans, but he was demonised by lazy hacks who cared little for truth.  So much so, he was booed by the very people who celebrated the league title his vision brought.  It was a bitter experience for many.

Martin O’Neill, in some respects, like The Man 35 years before him, brought a force of personality so strong, the gaggle of critics could only stand back in awe, but the system had a flaw.  Stein brought unimaginable success with little more than unimaginable brilliance.  O’Neill used money, lots of it.  More than Celtic were earning.  His whirlwind high-spending start at Celtic ended with the £6m signing of John Hartson in 2001, little over a year after he took the job.

Martin would spend another four years working within a budget; not one that brought expenditure into line with income, we continued to lose millions each year, but one which limited signings to a fraction of what was spent on Hartson, Lennon and Sutton.

While those four years were among the most exciting in our history, it was an unhappy era.

Put yourself back in time for a moment.  Celtic are champions and have beaten Ajax to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.  We were imperious, had beaten Rangers 6-2 and took to a field in Turin to final take part in a tournament which for so long appeared out of our reach.

Juventus went 2-0 up but back came Celtic.  I worked with a Rangers fan who was at a lower league game that night.  When we equalised, his friend text “I don’t think I can take this anymore”.  We had come from nowhere, an irrelevance in Scottish football, but here we were, champions of Scotland and level against Juventus.

At that moment, anything was possible.  For the first time in decades, we thought, maybe just…

We soon learned that it takes more than honest endeavour to win in Italy, and visits to Portugal and Norway provided a rude awakening.  This was not ’67 all over again, there was a lot of work to do, we just needed to keep the pedal to the metal.

Two years after that defeat in Turin we came close to winning our second European trophy in Seville, with a team which had, pretty much, been in place for three years.  We were getting the hang of European football, but the team was aging.

For reasons that defy logic, history records the Seville season as the highlight of that team, but the achievements of season 2003-04, with 25 consecutive league wins, and eliminating Barcelona from Europe, were vastly greater.

Then the party was over.  The Great Swede left, we’d lost £35m in a few short years, and reality was acknowledged; all clubs need to live within their means, or face liquidation.  The climb-down was necessary, but I’m not going to tell you it wasn’t hard.

Back then few people read football clubs accounts, even though Celtic posted copies to over 20,000 shareholders, but all the clues were there, Celtic had to stem the flow.  We lost £7m in the Seville season alone; wages to players and coaches were unsustainable.

Despite this, Celtic were regarded as cautious.  We lost £35m over five years; Ranger lost £35m in a single season.  If they could pump debt up to £80m and survive, why wouldn’t Celtic?  We would learn the answer to this question in 2012, but think back to 2004, thoughts that one of Scotland’s major clubs could be liquidated were ridiculed – often, on CQN.

So how did the media deal with our club in 2004?  I was driving to work one morning and had heard “What the Celtic fans want to know, is where is all the Seville money?” once too often.  “Where is all the Seville money?” was a toxic question.  There was no Seville money, only higher debts.

When I arrived at work I ranted about such lazy reporting.  This was calculated reporting of the most pernicious type.  A Rangers supporting friend suggested, “Why don’t you start a blog and challenge what they’re saying?”  I’d never heard of a blog, but he sat me down and got me going.

The first CQN article, written 10 years ago today, was a modest call to “Ignore the Press”, but just before I pressed publish, I had to select, ‘Allow comments: Yes or No’.  I’d no views either way but ‘Yes’ was default, so I left it.

The whole thing, the millions of comments, the hundreds of thousands of pounds raised for those in need, the friendships made, the golfers, the slimmers, those helped in bereavement, the thousands of kids attending our school kitchens each day in Malawi and the countless hours of enjoyment we’ve had, are all down to a default position on Blogger.  And a Rangers fan telling me to start the fight back online.  Who’d have thought it?

Now, people stop me in the street to talk about Celtic.  Can there be a greater joy in life?  Thanks for all the help and support.

Celtic yesterday, today, forever.

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  1. well done paul, many thanks for the wonderful space this is.

     

     

    now could you repost the original first article ?

     

     

    and bring back the bin , for me makin an archie of myself,

     

     

    ta much.

     

     

    mon the hoops,

     

    keep it lit.

  2. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    Good luck to Jude’s grandson and our under 17’s in their final in Aberdeen today.

  3. Remember clicking onto that article through newsnow and being delighted that there was such an alternative and intelligent Celtic site, as etims was by then on the wane.

     

     

    Great great work Paul, and all the commenters over the years. Thanks so much.

  4. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    Celtic Quick News-8 years older than the Zombies!

     

    Congratulations Paul!

  5. 10 years is a remarkable achievement Paul but not as remarkable as the content throughout the 10 years.

     

    This is the first place to come for all news Celtic for me and other things at times.

     

    There truly is a tremendous mix of people and knowledge on here which is why it is such a great place to be a part of.

     

    Cannot thank you enough my friend as I have been able to do things when I go back to Scotland only through the help of this blog and some of it’s posters.

     

     

    Without getting too long winded again thank you for 10 in a row and hopefully at least another 10, making the Celtic family even stronger.

     

     

    Once a Celt….. Always a Celt.

     

     

    Mincey.

  6. Always a privilege to post on this prestigious forum.

     

     

    Here’s to another 10 years and decades beyond!

     

     

    Well done Paul ….HH

  7. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    PAUL67

     

     

    Amazing words,amazing input from yourself.

     

     

    I know it hasn’t been a walk in the park for you and yours-I recall tales from elsewhere of retribution being visited upon you and yours.

     

     

    Equally it must really p you off that some posters take liberties but I think most of us have done so at some point.

     

     

    Either drink or a wee personal problem manifesting in posting pash!

     

     

    Point is,Paul,the site has been a huge boon to many of us,keeping us in touch with latest developments and with each other.

     

     

    It is way too important to allow it to be undermined by a mindless minority.

     

     

    Btw,did I thank you?

     

     

    Naw?

     

     

    Well-thanks,mate. For everything.

  8. BOBBY MURDOCH’S, as always, you’re v welcome.

     

     

    Doc, quite right. Thank you.

     

     

    Hamiltontim, cheers to that.

     

     

    Saint Stivs, the bin, and comment management facilities in general, would be an excellent enhancement.

     

     

    Summa, wee Claire, yesterday, today, forever.

     

     

    Eurochamps67, off for another 10.

     

     

    Tarrant, aye, it was a different world back then.

     

     

    Tricoloured Ribbon, 10 years unbroken history!

     

     

    Mincey, you are very welcome.

     

     

    embramike, cheers.

     

     

    Teuchter ár lá, you’re very welcome.

  9. Well done Paul 67, happy birthday to your blog…take a bow mate…you deserve all the plaudits that come your way. Hail Hail

  10. does anyone happen to have stats of attendances for last season and the years before ?

  11. paul67,

     

     

    Great Article.

     

     

    Thank you so much for this platform that gives so much to so many.

     

     

    HH CQN

  12. Sir Paul

     

     

    As Ah hiv said .. a Mulitude of times..oan here..

     

     

    “Ah notice Things.”

     

     

    Yes Ah Dae Do..

     

     

    So..

     

     

    Ah remember well.. the First Time Ah ..well… Viewed yer Early Entrance tae

     

    Blogdom… those Bygone Ten Years,Ago..

     

     

    well..

     

     

    Yes.. “AH NOTICED!”

     

     

    Ah thought.. Here is a Guy.. who wull Go Faur.. He his Goat..

     

     

    The MALLUM~,

     

     

    So

     

     

     

    Ah Told Ma Boss..

     

     

    An .Fargo..he ,Also, hid a read at Yer Nascent Stirrings.. o… well.. GREATNESS..

     

     

    Yes, Greatness.. fur Baith He n Ah could see that Yer wur a Special Person..

     

    A Man o’ Distinction..

     

     

    So

     

     

    Fargo.. made Contact wit ye..

     

     

    n.. Well..

     

     

    Things Woiked oot Mighty Fine, Pal.. Mighty Fine..

     

     

    Ah must Feenish this..bunt Afore.. Ah ..

     

     

    Embarrass the Hell oota ye~

     

     

    By… Repeating this . Which Hiz become wanna they Mantra Thingmies..

     

     

    But, Awe that being Said..

     

     

    Ah wull Say it.. ( Well. Say it.. darn ye.. ed)

     

     

    “Paul, Kiddo.. Ye Done Good~ N .. Ah am Soiten that there is A SPECIAL SPOT..

     

     

    in Heaven. which is Reserved fur Folk Such as YOU!”

     

     

    N..

     

     

    Allow me ..jis want Mair.. complimentary.. Hosanna.. fae me tae You… pal..

     

     

    Ah hiv met a Loata folk ,in Ma Line o’ Woik.. Some real .. Biggies.. n some

     

     

    Even Bigger than Those!

     

     

    but..

     

     

    YOU are the Only Wan.. Who hiz Made me feel

     

     

    SMALL

     

     

    Kojo

     

    Still,Laughin

  13. Paul well done…10 years has flown by..

     

     

    Anonymous posts

     

    Saint of the day

     

    Weather forecast

     

    Celtic Business News (Who remembers the blue pages)

     

    The amazing charity work

     

    The friendships built up over the years

     

    Educating ML’ers (ok im pushing it a bit)

     

     

    Amazing stuff you should be proud of the good that has come out of this blog over the years…. Here’s for at least another 10

  14. Paul67,long time lurker occasional poster, congratulations, Happy 10th Anniversary.

     

     

    You have provided a medium for various things that has always been in the best interests of the Celtic family!

     

     

    Fantastic stuff!

     

     

    Hail Hail

  15. angelgabriel on

    Just logged on.Glad I did.

     

    Paul, congratulations, this blog may have

     

    its faults but the Good far outwieghs the not so good.

     

    It has produced good will , friendship, & humanity by the barrowload. Nice one.HH.

  16. whitedoghunch on

    Paul

     

    so proud to call you a friend and have you as part of my team

     

    thank- you

     

    Bryan

  17. vinniethedog on

    Been on and off for a long time Paul…….nearly from the start!!………Two kids later still here …sometimes…..

     

    Glass still half empty!!!some things never change…….I worry terribly about our great team…..we are so far in front of the dreaded enemy it can only go one way!!!……

     

     

    We seem to be helping that along……..well that’s the impression I get……

     

     

    Here’s to the next ten!!!

  18. Kilbowie Kelt will vote YES on

    A lot of joyous moments have come & gone in the 10 years of CQN, as well as many sad personal tragedies for some special people.

     

     

    Thanks, Paul.

     

    What you have managed to do would have tested the patience of a saint.

  19. Clashcitybhoy on

    Great headline article Paul.

     

    I notice you mentioned honest endeavour in Turin.

     

    Are you , like me, still intrigued by the decision of the ref in giving that late penalty against Joos?

  20. Paul, thanks for everything.

     

     

    I remember your articles showing up on Newsnow. Refreshing and insightful.

     

     

    I also remember those early blogs. I recall it seemed to be just you and Neganon.

     

     

    I still live in hope that a means can be found to filter the comments.

     

     

    Perhaps I would end up reading just you and Neganon…..:)

     

     

    But, back to my opening comment.

     

     

    Thanks for everything,

     

    Ronnie

  21. North Cyprus (formerly Baku) Bhoy on

    Just a quick note to add my sincere thanks to all of the posts above.

     

     

    This blog has helped, more than anything else, to keep in touch with home while I’ve been working abroad, since August 2004.

     

     

    Keep up the good work, Paul67.

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