Football’s ability to destroy the finest spreadsheets


I watched Liverpool lose their fifth consecutive home game in the EPL last night.  One of the best teams in Europe over the last four years, which famously benefits from fan motivation, sit seventh in the table and out of a European spot for next season.

Even on current form, Liverpool would destroy Celtic, but the parallels in the two clubs decline are clear.  Virgil van Dijk’s injury enforced absence at Anfield had as big an impact on Liverpool as Fraser Forster’s loss to Celtic.  Both sides lost significant numbers through injury and, if anything, Celtic fans have a greater reputation for encouraging their team than Liverpool’s.

Jurgen Klopp, the urbane football intellectual, looks lost.  We see unflattering bouts of temper as he struggles to understand where his Midas Touch went.  Jurgen is among the game’s very best; Neil Lennon should take comfort that what happened to him can happen to anyone.

You and I have often said that a team operating at 90% is unrecognisable from the same players at full tilt.  When one or two things go wrong at the margins, an entire edifice can crumble.  Watching Liverpool also suffer does not sweeten the pill, but it is a lesson that football can destroy even the finest spreadsheets.

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  1. Celtic40me- ok maybe they don’t really believe it deep down but the public voices suggest we were hard done to in the pandemic. If only we had the fans, if only we hadn’t had COVID absences, etc.


    All probably do have an impact, but we have been a shambles:



    Paid big money for a goalkeeper but we’ve played three this season;


    Bought a centre back who isn’t suited to the way we play – this isn’t hindsight, he wasn’t playing for Brighton because he isn’t good in a team that requires defenders to hold a high line and pass the ball;


    We wouldn’t pay the asking price for Toney who would have suited us better than Ajeti;


    We brought in players to fit a 3-5-2 system and promptly ditched it, returned to it, ditched it again;


    We have failed, over a period of 30 games, to drill the team to defend corners and free kicks;


    We stupidly went to Dubai in the midst of lockdown – again not hindsight as loads of folk here were saying it was a terrible idea before we left and not worth the risk. The club turned a deaf ear to that;


    The board failing to take remedial action at any point in the season, leaving Lennon to take the flack.


    And that without the longer term issues that we’ve all been aware of – poor recruitment, a youth system heamorrhaging talent…

  2. Spidey



    You seem to want to argue that Liverpool’s dramatic collapse is down to Covid and injuries, but want to discount them as mitigating factors for us.



    It takes us back to Paul’s article. Battle lines are long drawn, positions are entrenched, evidence is used to further those positions while what doesn’t suit is ignored. But within the middle ground there’s a lot of similarities between what’s happened to us and them. A lot that’s unique and different but in a simple game like football a lot that’s the same

  3. Celtic40me



    I think my view is Liverpool couldn’t react quickly enough to the pandemic – not great but understandable. For us, we just didn’t do the basics well – not all Lennon’s fault it starts at the top. By basics I mean recruitment, youth system, and how we operate on the pitch.



    Anyway, it is what it is. We need to hope that the new CEO professionalises us.

  4. Paul’s article suggests that sometimes the vagaries of football play a greater part in success or failure than finance or computer based analysis.



    I think I that’s the case with both us and Liverpool.

  5. Quick question how many people think paul67 is the same guy who started this blog way back when to the guy who blogs now. My personal opinion is he’s been caught up in the corporate side rather than fans ‘customers’ side

  6. Spidey



    I think there are more complex reasons for Liverpool’s lead at Christmas changing to a 22 point deficit



    Same us our collapse



    I think it’s beyond the understanding of even the best coaches. I think that’s what Paul is driving at and I think it’s what makes football the best game



    The only way to change this…..







    No more season tickets







    No more merchandise







    Then the board will be gone







    Please wake-up fellow Celtic fans







    We have to re-structure ‘our’ club







    Or heaven help us

  8. BIG G on 5TH MARCH 2021 10:20 PM



    In the 17-odd years I’ve been reading the blog Paul67 hasn’t changed much IMO.



    Perhaps a little grumpier but than aren’t we all.

  9. Celtic40me



    Ok, let’s say I accept the vagaries of football and the pandemic can ruin a season. So it ought to be a temporary blip and in Liverpool’s case it probably will be. They’ll get their injured players back, still have a collection of world class players and will probably finish second to Man City (who will probably add Messi to thier already world class team).


    We, meanwhile, will be managerless, transitioning between CEOs, have a massive rebuild to do, have no youth system to speak of, and a failed scouting and recruitment set-up. That’s not down to COVID, that’s down to mismanagement at every level of the club.

  10. Celtic40me



    I replied before I saw your last reply. I’d agree with you there – stuff happens and no manager will deal with it. What irritates me is that whereas Liverpool’s issue was around style and the manager not adjusting ours is around the whole structure of the club being poorly set up.



    As I’ve said before, I do t blame Lennon entirely for the implosion – he has some blame for set peices, the goalkeeper flip flop and some odd decisions, but the infrastructure around him is not his fault.

  11. BARCABHOY on 15TH OCTOBER 2011 1:49 PM


    tommytwiststommyturns says:





    15 October, 2011 at 13:31





    Barca/JF – this is not a time for “I told you so”. We need to pull together and get the message across to the people running our club.







    This is exactly the time for it. We have been dreadfully served by ass kissers and forelock tuggers. We have been sold short by amatuer economists and walter mitty figures who have never made a serious business decision in their lives. But give them tea and biscuits in the boardroom and all of a sudden they turn into Warren Buffett







    Many have been forecSting this for years on here. We have an absolutely useless CEO. A bean counting , cost cutting negative influence. He has played the club and the support for mugs. He is driving us down a road called “mediocrity st” just to ensure he gets his bonus and his ridiculous salary







    The fact that he has sycophants on here who make every excuse possible for him, only makes matters worse






  12. Celtic40me My problem is. When I joined this forum it was a great place to escape the MSM and the Pravda of our club, now it’s neither.

  13. BAZFLAZ75 on 15TH OCTOBER 2011 1:56 PM


    You clearly don’t know how it works. If Lennon walks, he will have a gagging order linked to his payoff.





    You’ll have to wait for the autobiography in 5 years time to get the truth of what is really happening at the Club.







    Board – Management – Players. Our biggest enemy is not Rankers or the Media or SFA. It’s those inside the Hallowed walls of Celtic Park

  14. Spidey101 on 5th March 2021 9:11 pm





    You are a deep thinker – love your style.




  15. Pitymevin



    Interesting historical post there.



    Th eprescient predictors of failure are always with us………..



    well, at least, until they get it spectacularly wrong.




    P.S. Just for the avoidance of doubt – that 2011 post was from Barcabhoy and not from either tommy twists or James Forrest, wasn’t it?



    Did Barcabhoy disappear from this site that long ago?

  16. SFTB,



    I’m not sure when barcabhoy left, maybe his delorean ran out of plutonium.

  17. Majestic Hartson – cheers. It was tougher than I thought – a sign I’m gettting old that guys I thought were young are 26+!



    Cheers Scullybhoy. Can’t help think I should get more of a life…lockdown is bringing out my inner nerd/grumpiness!

  18. Pitymevin



    Interesting that was written in October 2011 and predicted we were headed for doom.



    In the 10 seasons since then (including 2011/12) we won 9 leagues, 5 SCs and 5 LCs



    So much for being driven to mediocrity street. It is perhaps not surprising that this anger and those predictions chime with the support of today. After all, we had lost the previous 3 leagues in a row and we did no look like we were stopping the trend with that Jeckyl and Hyde performance at Killie that night



    BTW- I always though Barcabhoy was an informed financial poster and I thought he might have been David Low- just speculation.

  19. SFTB, how did we do the the CL or the EL and do you think closing half a stadium for europen games should be classed as success. How many times did we qualify for the CL in the 9 seasons and what was the cost of not getting to the promise land.



    Aye fantastic achievement. No huns in the leauge for 4 seasons and you are going on about 9 leauge titles.



    How long has it taken them to pull it from our limp grip.



    You keep telling people how great the board have done and I will keep posting old comments.



    Stay safe

  20. Pitymevin



    “How long has it taken them to pull it from our limp grip.



    You keep telling people how great the board have done and I will keep posting old comments. ”





    It has taken them 10 years to pull it from what must have been quite a strong grip.



    I don’t post about how great the Board have done- I just point out that we- Celtic- have not done as badly as has constantly been predicted.



    I find it amazing that anyone thinks that a prediction of doom, citing Board reasons, given 10 years ago, was in any way prescient given how the last 10 years have gone. I thought you were holding it up as an example of how badly the doomsayers got it wrong.



    However, if you are now switching the grounds to European performance, there is more traction for the argument. In the noughties we had one UEFA losing finalist spot and 2 last 16 CL achievements. In the following decade, we managed only one last 16 CL (the year after Barcabhoy’s prediction) and 4 rounds in the last 32 of the Europa, all lost. Nobody would argue that we have not slipped back in Europe; we would only dispute the reasons why this is so.



    You might blame PL, DD and bean counting. I blame TV money, Big league domination and the marginalisation of big teams from peripheral leagues.



    For sure, we could have done better in Europe but we will not be troubling the scorers anytime soon and neither will other teams from peripheral leagues.



    But we both know that Barcabhoy’s predictions had the square root of sod all to do with success in Europe. He was referring to our league failures. At that time, he had a salient point to argue. At that time none of us were aware of the extent of the scandal that was to be exposed re Ibrox finances.



    So, only if you buy into the hun narrative that they did not die, would you believe that any league we won was not worth winning because they wurnae in it. I take comfort in the fact that all the “speculate to accumulate” adherents at Ibrox accumulated was a dead club and liquidation.



    Wonder whether Barcabhoy thinks he was prescient and accurate now?

  21. SFTB, I would agree that all league titles count, but you know as well as me that the manager is the most important person at the club and the calibre of manager.



    Not the CEO, not the players, the manager.



    4 out of 9 is 44% and no were near good enough for a club our size. BR doubled our income in two years from £52 million to £100 million with a little investment and this should have been the catalyst to keep the huns well out of our reach.



    BR had trouble with boyata in the CL qualification and the board have kept the same policy of waiting till the last moment to move in areas we need to cover. This has been the reason for out failure, not TV money.



    We can still buy players from every lower league that we compete with and with CL exposure the players value will rise and the cycle should continue if we even spent 50% of what we received.



    Big eddis is the perfect example, 50% of dembele money.


    KT nope.


    SA nope.



    Poor management at board level in the transfer market.



    Letting players go for nothing with no replacement in place.



    Buying too many same type of players.


    We had 4/5 number 10s on the park in the last game.



    We dont have a RB.


    We only have one LB and a loan player


    We have 20 odd midfielders.



    I dont even think that you can disagree that our recruitment has been all over the place in the last 2/3 years.



    And now we reap what we sow.

  22. Ah !! So now we may get fanz 😂 allowed into flag waving opportunities!! The wee forgetfull one may make allowances ! STAY @HOME STAY SAFE, Timmy. 7 sorry ps still haven’t seen all them Union flags on display in wishaw!

  23. Oh and by the way, for a club that still dont have an overdraft facility and win the league after only 4 years.



    I would accept the refs have played there part, but why didn’t we clear out the SFA with res 12.



    This has all been orchestrated or completely incompetence take your pick.

  24. Morning Bada, was thinking same



    Missing the Melbourne Mick fhella to keep us entertained

  25. lets all do the huddle on

    the blog must be broke



    only posts questioning whether the blog is broke are appearing



    all other attempred posts must be getting blocked

  26. Good morning all from a bright beautiful Garden of God



    Bring on The Arabs.



    I hope JK try’s something different manana.






    D :)

  27. lets all do the huddle on

    there are a lot of folk taking the tabloid journalist road when trying to argue the cause of celtics current predicament



    in that they try to bring it down to 1 particular thing, maybe because they dont have the capacity to be able to have multiple thoughts about the subject at the same time



    in truth there is a bit of all those aspects that have been discussed that have contributed to it



    manager, ceo, players, no fans, covid, government, DD etc etc



    if some of these issues hadnt happened then our current predicament wouldnt be as bad



    but how bad it would or wouldnt be is hard to say. to decide what percentage each of these issues contributed to our league, points, squad etc situation is pure Eoin Jess-work



    but they have all played a part to a greater oe lesser extent



    p s is the blog broke?

  28. How many league titles have Celtic won,still bloody angry at how our club have acted this season,and thankfully 2 off the culprits one is away and the other in June

  29. Thinking about the whole NFL situation.



    Did he string the fans along as get it up you by saying he was staying for a rebuild in the summer?



    I HAD a lot of respect for Neil but the whole situation sticks I’m my throat as I think he was hanging about like a bad smell on purpose to spite the fans. Not a good thought but how else can we see it. If he was getting strung along come out and say or does his pay off take presidence over being truthfull and honest. Either way I am totally glad he us gone as his management style had gotten way to erratic that anyone could see it was never going to end well.



    Oh apart from our glorious custodians, another bunch of lying bar stewards.



    I hope we get a top class “make a statement ” manager but deep down I know our board gave NO plan and we will probably end up with Kennedy.



    D :)

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