“I pick the team” manager tales, EFL bubble ready to pop


There is an apocryphal tale that when Jim McLean was manager of Dundee United, a 12-year-old wrote to him to dispute team selection.  McLean, so the legend goes, drove straight to the senders address and on being introduced to the boy on the doorstep, stated, “I pick the team”, before turning on his heels and leaving.

When Neil Lennon and his former mentor Gordon Strachan coordinated a Man of the Match nomination for Scott Brown yesterday, it struck me that this was the modern equivalent of a McLean door-stepping.  Neil Lennon picks the team and his MotM quote was him letting you know where authority lies.  It’s not a McLean-level anecdote but is no less a classic of the genre.

Today, 10 MPs, two former chairmen of the FA and others, wrote to the Government asking for a taxpayer handout for the English Football League (EFL).    They note:

“Without any plans being made to rescue football clubs, many in the EFL and others in the National League as well, are now actively preparing to make all but essential staff redundant, cease playing, close down their youth academies and community foundations, and put their business into administration.

“This could lead not only to the failure of many historic community clubs, but the collapse of the national league structure that we have known for over one hundred years.  These are decisions that will be made in the coming weeks, with many clubs unable to meet their payroll obligations for next month.”

The EFL still hope for a rescue package from the Premier League.  They are also pushing the Professional Players Association, the players’ union, to make massive concessions on wages that were never affordable in normal times.  But right now, football in England outside the top flight is unviable this season.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have noted the precarious position of the EFL.  Chances of the existing structure surviving have never been slimmer and probably never will.  This bubble is ready to pop!

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  1. From Twitter.


    Hopefully more stations will show it too.





    ⚽️ @FK_Sarajevo 🆚 @CelticFC 🍀


    🏆 @EuropaLeague Qualifier


    🏟 Olimpijski Stadion Asim Ferhatović Hase




    ⌚️ 19:00 CPT (GMT)


    📺 @arenasport_tv



    Broadcast in the following countries: 🇧🇦 🇭🇷 🇲🇪 🇷🇸



    More Channels will be announced as I get them.



    #SARCEL https://t.co/5lph1I1vxA

  2. Had to laugh at the usual suspect criticising wee James even though he didn’t play yesterday, telling us what James wouldn’t have done if he had played. Such unhappiness must surely be unbearable…

  3. Few points for the glum ones


    1. Scott Brown doesn’t look finished. He’s been quietly influencing games more and more. Riga was a strong performance and he improved upon it against Hibs.


    2. I know he’s 35 and I know he can’t play every game this season but a few people need to think about why this season has been a bit different. Brown has had the longest layoff/rest period of his career during lockdown. Add to that the break he had over the internationals and the fact he’s been subbed off 4 times already this season. His fitness is being managed.


    3. The team looked far more exciting going forward. I don’t buy this nonsense that the reason we looked so ponderous was that Scott Brown is acting like a handbreak. The team played well collectively and that allowed Brown to make more forward passes. He had teammates running into space rather than dead ends.


    4. Turnbull looks an excellent addition to the team. He’s a technically gifted footballer for sure. He will be helpful breaking down packed defences.


    5. Greg Taylor put a couple of decent balls in but I was more impressed with the shift he put in defensively. Boyle got little joy out of him. He also made an excellent tackle when he was covering for Ajer (who has obviously been watching Jinky VHS’)


    6. Bittonbauer is becoming a very consistent performer and should keep his place when Jullien returns.


    Neil Lennon’s domestic record in 2020 is 19 wins and 2 draws. This is remarkable consistency under incredible pressure.

  4. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    Last week, Brentford presented their season ticket holders (where payment has already been made) with 3 options…



    1. Let the club keep 100% of the money and take up a VST option. However, the season ticket money already paid will be credited towards next years season ticket for games that fans cannot attend in stadium.



    2. Get a 75% refund – club retains 25% in return for guaranteeing your seat option for next season.



    3. Get a 100% refund.



    Not sure if other Championship clubs have made the same offer – but I would expect so.



    Obviously, Brentford would want fans to choose Option 1 – but even so, it only really kicks the can down the road and delays a significant shortfall in revenue for another 12 months. The EFL collapse may be coming – but it might happen next season rather than this.

  5. Neil Lennons record is 5 of our 9 in a row, going on for 6 out of 10.


    Some people seem to forget this simple fact. But there again that was all in the past and when did we Celts ever care about our history

  6. SB is playing his game of ten years ago with legs that are 10 years older.


    He was better yesterday and provided both defensive cover and some positive moves forward.



    However he looked very leggy in the transition when Hibs countered.


    He could be seen too many times shuffling back unable to keep up.



    Consequently while he played better yesterday he should be kept for high days and holidays.



    DT playing for 45 minutes had more influence on proceedings that SB for 85.



    Also IS looked better and more engaged when he came on.


    His previous cameos gave the impression that he grew up in the hungry 30s — all a bit disjointed.



    If NL has to play games to show his authority over the support then he is not in a good place — very juvenile / very weak / very self centred.

  7. Football clubs should cut their costs not look for handout. Cant be paying guys anything between 1k and 30k a week and be looking for money from tax payers.



    Half the spfl is part time and could be put in cold storage for the season perhaps players could be offered contracts for expenses only or loans from premier league teams to lower leagues to add players without adding wages. Perhaps the colt teams could be introduced now.



    I bet the spfl will simply make no decisions and will be reactive rather than proactive.



    The EFL s now our problem and never will be.




  8. And David Turbull is 1.85m…for us old imperialists that’s 6ft 1inch…gives us a bit of extra height in midfield…

  9. Its not just in England that clubs will be failing. Its all across Europe. We are more likely to be some form of European Leagues. We could even be in an Independent Scotland.



    Its the TV companies who are financing elite football and I suggest that they will make the call

  10. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    CQN has an article on the Scottish Cup semi-final. At the top, 1 December. The footnote, 1 November.

  11. First half — JF defending too far up the park and allowing Hibs space on the left.



    I thought he was not getting enough defensive support from RC which meant he was getting drawn further up the pitch when Hibs had the ball.



    NB tried to keep in shape with the other 2 CBs leading to a gap which Hibs worked quite well.



    Also first half was pretty even — however we had the quality and got two goals from it.


    Hibs had as many chances but were either unlucky — shot just past the our LH post into the side netting or were missing a bit of quality to finish — SD barge where the Hibs player tried to float it in at the back post but nearly put it out for a shy.



    Second half we started to dominate and be positive through the middle rather that just shovel it out to the wings — in fact things improved to the point that we had the confidence to work it forward out of tight spaces.



    DT seemed to want to work at that level of risk and our play improved as a result.

  12. Well the plandemic is being used to wipe out small + medium and many big businesses –


    So why wouldn’t they take out the majority of professional UK football teams too?


    Leave the English premier league and hopefully Celtic -to keep the masses distracted.


    I’ll have go back to the Economic World Forum and see if football is mentioned in The Great Reset.

  13. SB67 @ 2.41



    You sound like you are the spawn of Maggie and you currently read the Forger’s Gazette.


    The whole economy needs to put into hibernation so that we can fight CoViD19 without looking over our shoulder to see how the economy is doing.



    Health comes first — the economy comes second.


    CoViD19 is not the Black Death but if you worship money and have been running health into the ground for the past 10 years then it is a pretty good substitute.



    Plus if politics is now all about separation and finding scapegoats then it will be even harder to sort out even the most humdrum of issues.



    BoJo is a complete erse.


    Not Jacinda is all talk and no delivery.


    We voted for them — as a society / electorate I might add — so you reap what you sow.

  14. lets all do the huddle on

    Health comes first — the economy comes second.





    does it?



    i give you









    and thats just for starters

  15. LADTH @ 3.04



    Health should come first — my view — but reality can be quite different.


    Regarding the issues you highlight — they are managed / regulated or they could be.


    Plus health doesn’t win every battle outright — societal norms come into play.

  16. LADTH @ 3.04 / II



    Dealing with CoViD19 — the health perspective should / should have come first.


    However too many have had their eye on the economy for our response to have been successful



    Bright light onto modern day society and we have failed the test.



    Oh to have a grown up like GB involved in the response …

  17. Bigbhoy @ 2:44



    ” TV companies will make the call”



    Exactly what Dermot Desmond said a number of years ago.



    Will Celtic go to play in England? “SKY will decide if Celtic go into England”



    Don’t expect this government to sanction any handouts to football, small clubs in Scotland must be struggling with no likelyhood money thru the gates this side of Christmas. Bit rich Ewan Murray asking why Celtic can’t help out. Nothing said about the Milan charity?? Game money. What charity did that go to?

  18. F19 @ 3.18



    The club has been financing Scottish football for quite a few years now or at least some of it.



    Paying over the odds for local talent would be a good place to start.



    Killie — GT @ £2mill !?!


    Dundee — JH @ £1.4mill ?!?

  19. Since joining City, Guardiola has spent close to 800 million euros.


    Todays BBC analysis of the game against Leicester SOUNDS scarily familiar of our games this season.


    Just shows you that as well as not being able to buy you love, money cannae buy you guaranteed success either 😃



    Man City 2-5 Leicester: Pep Guardiola’s side have bigger problems than defence – Darren Fletcher analysis

  20. Sorry, link didn’t work. Here is the meat of it:



    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has got a lot to sort out. His side had an awful afternoon against Leicester City on Sunday and that was as poor as I’ve seen them play in a long time.



    It was more than just the fact they conceded some bad goals – what was really worrying was how lost they looked, from front to back.



    When things have gone wrong for City under Pep in the past, it has been easy to criticise their defence for being unable to deal with counter-attacks or for making individual mistakes.



    We saw both of those things happen again against Leicester, but I think the whole team has to take responsibility for this defeat – not just their defenders.



    The players in front of them did not put enough pressure on the ball and got played around too easily. They weren’t staying with runners or getting up to the ball.



    That, as well as the fact they seemed unable to create any chances when they came forward, was the worst thing about the performance, and most unlike what we are used to seeing from them.



    Being without a recognised striker on Sunday was obviously going to be a problem, but it was the knock-on effect of dealing with that which had a bigger impact on their performance.



    Pep usually goes with a single pivot as part of a 4-3-3 but, with the players he had available, he went with two holding midfielders in Fernandinho and Rodri and moved Kevin de Bruyne to more of a number 10 position, behind Raheem Sterling who was playing as a central striker.



    Sterling is far more dangerous when he cuts in from the left and De Bruyne is usually at his best when he can go down the right – a central right rather than wide right – and put in his trademark crosses.



    We did see the Belgian do that a little bit in the second half, but before the break it was all central and he couldn’t really influence the game like he usually does.



    Also, Phil Foden stayed out wide on the left rather than in the middle, where he sees more of the ball and is more effective.



    So, arguably, City had three, four or even five players out of position – or at least not playing in their best position – and, on top of that, their full-backs never offered anything attacking-wise down the flanks.



    No wonder they were so short of ideas.



    City’s struggles in attack were made worse by their mistakes at the back. The three penalties they conceded were all very similar too.



    Each time, they let the Leicester player get on the wrong side of them inside the area, then made a clumsy challenge.



    It is just basic defending, but the gaps between each member of the back four were too big and there was a lack of communication.



    It looked like a back four that had never played together before – which it was – but it also looked like a back four that was lacking experience – which it definitely wasn’t.



    That was only half the problem, though, because protection wasn’t there in front of them either. For all the great football we are used to seeing City play under Pep, they have always been one of the best pressing teams.



    Usually, they don’t give you a second on the ball, even when you are deep in your own half. On Sunday, though, they let Leicester get through them far too easily.



    That was especially noticeable when Fernandinho went off early in the second half. I can understand why Pep decided to bring on a recognised striker in teenager Liam Delap, but it left his team far too open.



    City had dominated possession in the first half but there were times in the second period when they were all over the place, even when they weren’t outnumbered on Leicester counter-attacks.

  21. Dermot Desmond has been banging on about Celtic in the EPL for decades now.



    I remember one interview he was almost salivating about what the share price rise would be if it came about.



    I’m not holding my breath.

  22. PETEC on 28TH SEPTEMBER 2020 1:48 PM


    Lmfao TOSB.




    When Samaras made that Pass.




    No movement. Hun slayed.





    Hope you didn’t mind my attempt at humour. The oldies are the best. 😄

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