So are we surprised at last nights’ defeat? There’s some surprise that we scored three goals away from home, which if we count Moscow, is becoming a habit, if an incredibly lax one, but I’m less surprised we shipped four, again. Even at full strength, we are several players short of being able to play Ronny Deila’s high-energy pressing game, so when the squad is further depleted by rest, injury and the like, we cannot expect to play an expansive game and come away with a result.
Fortunately the outcome didn’t matter, but it will next time out in this competition. I’m very supportive of Ronny and think we have not even begun to see the real benefits of his work, but he got it wrong when he opened up a game which did matter in Warsaw. We’ll need to see if he decides to play this way, with many of these players, in the Round of 32. For then we either need to add appropriate players or change tactics.
There’s been a bit of chat on how attendance figures are reported. Football clubs report paid seat sales, which baselines attendance at season ticket sales, but the ‘bums on seats’ figure is usually far lower.
The showbiz side of the game will always want to report the higher figure: see – our fans are faithful through and through, and all that. Only Manchester United and Arsenal report higher average league attendance figures than Celtic in British football. This claim maybe reliant on ticket sales, but it is an important indicator of the size, and therefore potential of our club in the right environment. Not to mention the efforts many thousands go to in order to financially support the club, in sunshine or in shadow.
It was still somewhat refreshing to hear the new newco director inform the media that his club attracted less than 16,000 people for a recent home game. The cynic would point out that if newco fall into insolvency, the excuses are already established – fans are not as loyal as they claim, blame then, not their unfortunate execs.
As a special offer, everyone who buys an Annual, or bundle, before Christmas will be entered into a prize draw for a VIP Meal of 4 at a Celtic Park restaurant on a match day. One entry for each Annual bought; pile in.
Our friends Magners, who I increasingly think get what this club is all about, have offered us another pair of Premium Tickets for the Jock Stein Stand on Sunday. It’s a great way to watch football, especially on a winter’s day. To enter the competition, email me firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the team Celtic play on Sunday in the subject line of your message. Competition closes at 22:00 tonight, winners will be informed by email tomorrow, so check your inbox!
The deal I have with Magners is that when we make this offer, we ask you to consider making a £1 (or more) donation to our Mary’s Meals Appeal. We are working towards building a kitchen at Chibwata Priimary School in Dowa, Malawi, which has 909 pupils and does not have food preparation facilities.
With a kitchen – and Mary’s Meals providing food – they will be able to provide primary school kids with what is often their only square meal of the day. This work cuts infant mortality, improves school attendance by an average of 30%, and increases life chances exponentially.
No matter what you do today, this £1 will do things you cannot imagine. It will make your day worthwhile.
I’ll be out with my boys on the bucket collection for the Foundation before kick off on Sunday. If I’ve not coaxed your last £1 out of you, bring another one along to the game. The spirit of Celtic needs to take care of those in our own community, as well as in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Sorry for all the calls to action todaym in summary: