Need for an innovative assistant


One of the details pertinent to the formal appointment of Neil Lennon as manager will be the appointment of his assistant and other coaches.  John Kennedy is certain to remain part of the staff, it remains to be seen if Neil’s former assistant at Celtic and Hibs, Garry Parker, will join him again.  Damien Duff will also be waiting on a steer on where his future lies.

A more innovative appointment may be called for this time.  Five years ago, the initial plan was to appoint Ronny Deila as assistant.  I would like to see Celtic come up with an innovative appointment this time.

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  1. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    St Tam’s on 29th May 2019 10:02 AM



    If the players reconstitute their social committee, I’m officially oot the windae!

  2. The Battered Bunnet on

    The way we were… Wrote this eight years ago, July 2011, over a couple of evenings and a couple of beers in a holiday house in the countryside near Pignataro Interamna. I remember it ‘cos I was late for the first edition of CQN magazine, and had no broadband.






    Legacy of Mowbray’s Hapless Appointment Stalks the Talented Mr Lennon




    Tony Mowbray’s peculiar appointment was unusual for Celtic in recent years only insofar as it precipitated a rapid deterioration in the club’s position in all key respects: Football results; financial results; and the expectation of the support. All of these took a hammering during a hapless slapstick in the classic style, unfortunately appropriate for the Keystone role at any football club. It does though provide us with an important perspective as we look ahead to the coming seasons, presenting as it does a clear example of the interdependence between football results and financial performance.





    Tony Mowbray was recruited against Celtic’s by then well established successful ‘Manager Profile’: A British Manager, late 40’s, English Premiership experience. O’Neill had set the mould, and Strachan fitted it in these respects and others, but Tony Mowbray, while presenting many of the requisite face value credentials and experience, lacked one singular quality: Talent.



    There is a terrific book published some 10 years ago, but which remains relevant today. First, Break All The Rules was based on a unique survey by GALLUP over 20 years of more than 80,000 business leaders and one million employees, and sought to define the leadership factors that were common amongst the most successful companies and managers.



    Amongst other startling results, the analysis demonstrated the folly of recruiting staff based upon qualifications and previous experience. While these are useful, and indeed prerequisite in some jobs, the fundamental difference between the top 10% performing businesses and those hitting run of the mill numbers was a focus on recruiting talent, not profile.



    Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan may have had similar professional credentials, but the thing they had, which Mowbray lacked, was the intrinsic ability to manage Celtic. Poor old Tony had to muck along as best he could with what the Good Lord had given him, filling in the gaps with sheer hard work and determination. His experience had taught him that when things go wrong, he needed to “take it on the chin”. There was little else for it.



    The leadership of the club seemed to recognise this, and tried to compensate by increasing the available budget. Whereas Gordon Strachan took on the remit of matching O’Neill’s achievements with a 20% budget cut, and a flat £4.5M to play with each summer, Mowbray was permitted to spend £12M on his arrival, with assorted sales in January of Strachan’s old guard balancing the books, while wages were found to pay for the likes of Keane, Kamara and Braafheid one mental day in February.



    Financial Calamity


    Putting a mediocre manager into one of the toughest jobs in European football, and bankrolling him with £12M of free funds, brought us in jig time to crisis, and precipitated a profound change of approach at Celtic. The long established ‘Celtic Manager Profile’ was binned, and instead we embraced precocity. Neil Lennon was offered the job at Celtic with only the thinnest evidence of his credentials: A year coaching the reserves under Mowbray following a year as a first team coach under Strachan. Moreover, Lenny had to live with the consequences of the Board’s Hope Strategy with Mowbray, trying to compensate lack of talent with cash, with the inevitable and entirely predictable outcome: A Championship lost to a Bankrupt Rangers; Humiliation at the hands of assorted lesser clubs; Open hostility towards the club’s Leadership from the support; and a financial legacy that demanded immediate remediation and which continues to constrain Neil Lennon’s efforts two seasons after.



    Lenny got the job as the top earners at the club were moved out, when the top players were sold on, when the first team required to be built from scratch on a shoestring, and the biggest single outlay was the settlement of the terms of the dismissed Mowbray team.



    That is worth repeating: In Lenny’s first year more was paid to buy out the terms of the previous management than was spent on buying a single player. Mark Venus was more expensive than Biram Kayal. How expensive is mediocrity!



    This calamity was reflected in the financial situation, where turnover dropped £10M in the season, the club reported a loss, and debt increased to cover the shortfall.



    Gone were the top earners. Boruc, Fortuné and McManus followed the likes of McDonald, Robson and Caldwell out the door 6 months earlier. In came a Gala Day procession of colourfully painted kids from around the world, and within 4 weeks The Neil Lennon Show was pushed onto the stage.



    Predictably, they fluffed their opening lines, losing to Braga in the Champions League qualifiers. A dismal loss to Utrecht in the Europa League qualifiers followed. Celtic, with no Euro income to speak of mid August, needed to fill the financial gap. The gap was filled in large part by Aiden McGeady, whose £9M transfer fee was a one off contribution to the financial devastation that was Mowbray’s folly, with a further £4.2M gained on the sale of other players. I don’t doubt that Aiden was bound to leave us sooner or later, but it is hugely frustrating that his sale contributed nothing more to the club than paying the wages for 3 or 4 months.



    The Here and Now


    In a short number of weeks, Celtic will publish the Annual Report for 2011. While the departing Chairman will doubtless look forward with great expectations, the report will show the worst set of results for over a decade. Turnover will come in below the £57 Million low tide of 2002. The trading losses will be covered only by the sale of McGeady, and debt will inevitably come in around £3M more than last year. You’ve got to hand it to John Reid and his team. From the £75M turnover business he took charge of in 2007, he and his colleagues have managed to drive that down by 25% in only 4 years, the greatest deterioration being in the last 24 months, coinciding with their appointment of Mowbray.



    Year £m Turnover £m Profit (loss) Gain on Player Sales £m Debt SPL Position Season Tics


    2007 75,237 15,040 9,397 4,990 1 53,040


    2008 72,593 4,435 5,695 3,520 1 53,517


    2009 72,237 2,003 1,546 1,510 2 54,252


    2010 61,715 (2,131) 5,712 5,850 2 50,826


    2011 52,560 0.100 13,228 0.530 2 44,734



    2002 56,892 (3,039) 1,474 16,470 1 53,457


    Table: Celtic’s trading figures since 2007 (with 2011 now actual figures)



    As the figures above indicate, excluding the sale of McGeady and the others, Celtic will be posting a trading loss of some £10 Million, up there with the O’Neill years in terms of losses, but without the deliberate growth strategy that O’Neill’s tenure represented. Looking ahead to the coming season, it is unlikely, even with Europa League football, that the club can much exceed £62M turnover, ensuring the legacy of the Mowbray’s short lived appointment in 2009 extends at least to 2012. Failure to qualify in August will condemn the club to relive the 2011 results, without McGeady to flog.



    While every business suffers a periodic bad year, the figures above indicate a sustained and alarming contraction in the business, headlined by exclusion from the Champions League in three successive years, but also indicating an inherent aversion to generating new sources of income. In my view, the failure to capitalise on the demise of Setanta by buying out the club’s overseas rights from the SPL collective deal is but one example of an approach that simply refused to consider innovation outside of the tried and trusted.



    Cue Change


    The appointment of Neil Lennon last summer was not simply an instinctive punt by a desperate Board, it signalled a profound change of direction by the club. Neil Lennon represents talent, precocious, untempered, and raw. The club’s player recruitment strategy has similarly focussed on young, gifted players. Hooper, Izaguirre, Ki, Kayal, Ledley Stokes and this week Wanyama represent the not only the new first team, but the new strategy. 10 years after Gallup flagged up the secret of the best managers in business, Celtic have at last got with the programme that Wenger introduced when finances demanded at Arsenal, and that Fergusson pioneered at Manchester United.



    Celtic of course live in a different environment to these English behemoths, and 10 years after Dermot Desmond made his play to join the EPL, it remains as far out of reach as ever. For the new model Celtic therefore, we need to look a little further abroad, to Italy. Udinese, who despite turning over less than 20% of the big clubs in the North, consistently compete with and profit from a strategy that is built on developing talent and selling it when appropriate. Udinese’s current first team squad of 26 players is drawn from 14 different countries. They have a further 34 players out on loan at other clubs. In the past 5 years they have generated over €60 Million in profits from player sales, and qualified this season for the Champions League ahead of Juventus, Lazio and Roma. All of this in a turnover of £40M.



    The new model Celtic is built on the same principles, driving progress on the pitch and stability off it through identifying, developing, utilising, and ultimately selling talent. While it was always unlikely that Lenny and his youngsters would be able to win the league at the first time of asking in the unique season just ended, they came far closer than many expected, and there are positive indications that the right man is at the club in this most challenging period.



    Shackled by the financial legacy of Mowbray’s appointment, Celtic turned to Neil Lennon, and Lenny is relying upon his talent, and the talent of his developing team, to create something at Celtic that we haven’t seen before. I am backing him to win the SPL title this coming season, at a stroke validating his approach and his young team’s talent, and gaining direct entry to the Champions League the following year. Indeed, it is remarkable to consider that, for the new model Celtic, winning the league this coming season will be more significant for the test of talent that is the Champions League, than the £18M income that it generates.




    Yes, of course we tend to be in second guess mode when it comes to Celtic PLC’s motives, they tend to work in a secretive way.



    So putting forward the reasons for where we are just now doesn’t mean agreement with the approach.



    For me, your approach would be the better one and could provide us with a great chance to enter Europe’s elite.



    We have seen that by putting together a first rate Football management/coaching operation, securing better footballers, developing and training our current and Academy players to a higher standard. Brings it’s own Footballing and financial rewards.



    If this time last year, we’d kept the squad together and brought in three or four quality players (not projects) we would have had a great team, had UCL qualification and be in much better shape to build on success this preseason.



    However, there was risk involved, we would have been spending €40M + on players. Even taking into account we could have sold €20M. We would have had a net outlay of €20M, without getting the €20M for Dembele in.



    Now, for me our squad now would have been worth well over €50M than we have currently. Not to mention the fact we could be looking at our Turnover, Profits and Enterprise Value shoot up once again.



    Yet for all that, we’d be €40M down in what we have banked… that I believe would be near the knuckle for our risk averse Board.



    Maintaining and improving Season on Season, putting the money back into the Football Club, I believe is the way forward but it does have risks, these risks and benefits are in tens of millions of Euros bracket.



    If we get to the Euro-elite (2nd teir) and that’s where I believe the Executive want us to be, then the benefits are in the hundreds of millions of Euros category.



    My thoughts is football should be a meritocracy and by excelling and being the best we can be, Celtic should get an invite by just desserts.



    Yet these ambitions were too rich for the Board. They will not do anything to risk the big pay day.



    SFtBs @ 8:38 AM,



    Well that’s an interesting thought and one that until recently I would have outrightly dismissed but the secretive nature of the workings of the Board, a few iffy (to say the least) PR campaigns and as you say money not adding up has to make one vigilant.



    Let me give you an example, the recent talk of spiralling wage bill. BR it was said was letting wages get out of control and that was risking the business.



    Now of course, great PR for the Board…



    It does down BR



    It frightens people that the business is at risk, yet they have the overseers to protect the Club



    It gives credence to the downsizing argument.



    Now I’ve seen figures that suggest we spend 60 to 70 million on wages and this is unsustainable…



    Yet who has done the numbers. Of course we know that All wages are bumped in together so were not sure what we are looking at.



    Now some say we have a wage ceiling, some say we don’t. Some say it is £30K per week, some say it’s £35K per week.



    But as we are talking ballpark figures on the back of an envelope let’s examine the headline figures…



    Let’s say £60M between a squad of 30 first team players (thats our wiki number;) would mean we are paying players over £38K per week on average. An absolute nonsense.



    You could argue with develop squad players last year we had 40 players… so let’s go with that.



    Also from research from Switzerland our average pay for players was circa £16K. Much more believable.



    Our wage bill for all our top players comes in at under £35M.



    About a third of our Turnover. Hardly the eye watering, business trouncing headline numbers we’ve been subjected too.



    And I’d argue a totally manageable total for a Football Club of our size and standing.



    GREENPINATA @ 9:02 AM, BANKIEBHOY1 @ 10:00 AM,



    Thanks for the positive comments. Lenny will of course get my full backing but I think it’s important to debate.



    Hail Hail

  4. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Izzy leaves club after knocking back new deal. Things are beginning to take a rather depressing shape if this the level of those deemed suitable for back up in the squad. Loved Izzy but his time has passed, simply not good enough anymore, exposed by journeymen last season and should never have been offered new contract.

  5. I’ve not been on for a couple of days, but to comment on Paul’s original article with regards to the need for an innovative assistant.



    I believe Lennon will seek out Gary Parker. That’s what will happen.



    But I would like to promote one name : Ian Cathro



    Now the very suggestion of Ian Cathro will most likely get rubbished by many. Mainly because his failed stint as manager at Hearts.


    But lets be clear, the guy was never a frontline manager. Possibly lacking in authority and man management skills.


    He is I believe highly regarded as a coach. And also as a forward thinking strategist and sports science advocate. He now has experience and knowledge of the Scottish game, our competition. But importantly he understands the game on a European level, having worked closely with Benitez and others over in Spain.



    He would be the ideal assistant, in my book.

  6. garygillespieshamstring on

    Read the Harry hood tribute from Sunderland. Good piece.



    Interesting to read that he felt Ian McColl don’t like him or John O’Hare.



    I wonder why that could be!



    Paranoia csc

  7. traditionalist88 on

    Suggested we look at this guy 2 weeks ago….didnt think we’d have competition from Barca though…



    And at any rate, not a chance we’d pay that fee for a 32 year old. Girona shouldnt be hard to deal with given they’re relegated but not sure what their financial situation is like.






    Celtic have been linked with a move for striker Cristhian Stuani.



    The Uruguyan international was part of the Girona side which was relegated from La Liga despite netting an impressive 19 goals in 32 appearances.



    Valued at around €10million Euros, Stuani is available for €7million, according to Futbol Radio Formula in Mexico where there is interest from Monterrey, one of the country’s biggest sides.



    The same source speculate that Celtic and Nottingham Forest are keen on the 32-year-old, as are Barcelona who see him as a back-up for Luis Suarez.



    In Spain, AS note that a Scottish club want to sign the player.



    Stuani has previously played in the UK having joined Middlesbrough in 2015 from Espanyol. But after 16 goals in 67 appearances on Teeside he returned to Spain where he has hit 40 goals in the last two La Liga campaigns.



    Only Suarez and Lionel Messi have scored more.



    Stuani has a respectable scoring record throughout his career and on the international level has score eight goals in 48 caps for Uruguay.




  8. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 35 results (Apr 20th)






    16 roads (Isotope) @7/1


    Fastbhoy (Mahlermade) @11/2


    green T (Copper West) @5/1






    21-5-79 (Tim Rocco)


    BMCUWP (No Selection)


    Bull67 (Amomentofmadness)


    Cathal (No Selection)


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (No Selection)


    fleagle1888 (Lucky Deal)


    GFTB (Royal Brave)


    Graffitionthewall (No Selection)


    Gweedore Celt (Line of Reason)


    leftclicktic (Perceived)


    Nye Bevans RS (Mokaatil)


    Onemalloy (Line of Reason)


    Rockon (Bumblekite)


    Som mes que un club (No Selection)


    twists n turns (Graystown)


    voguepunter (Riviera Nights)


    Zihuatanejo (No Selection)



    Hyperlinks to Week 35 selections:






    Cheers, fleagle1888

  9. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : Week 35 standings (Apr 20th)



    Naps Table – Week 35 :



    +30.88 > twists n turns (8)


    +4.50 > Som mes que un club (5)


    +0.06 > Fastbhoy (10)



    -1.50 > Rockon (6)


    -2.00 > Gweedore Celt (6)


    -2.88 > green T (7)


    -4.30 > fleagle1888 (5)


    -5.63 > Bull67 (5)


    -10.00 > leftclicktic (5)


    -12.67 > voguepunter (4)


    -14.00 > 21-5-79 (2)


    -14.00 > Cathal (2)


    -15.00 > Zihuatanejo (2)


    -20.00 > Nye Bevans RS (2)


    -22.00 > 16 roads (2)


    -24.00 > Graffitionthewall (1)


    -29.59 > BMCUWP (2)


    -30.00 > Onemalloy (1)


    -35.00 > Cosy Corner Bhoy (0)


    -35.00 > GFTB (0)



    Cheers, fleagle1888

  10. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 36 results (Apr 27th)






    NONE !!!






    16 roads (Sinseir)


    21-5-79 (Joe Farrell)


    BMCUWP (No Selection)


    Bull67 (Give Me a Copper)


    Cathal (No Selection)


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (Three Kings)


    fleagle1888 (Arecibo)


    GFTB (Beware the Bear)


    Graffitionthewall (No Selection)


    green T (John Clare)


    Gweedore Celt (Diego du Charmil)


    leftclicktic (Major Blue)


    Nye Bevans RS (Nuits St George)


    Onemalloy (The Young Master)


    Rockon (No Selection)


    Som mes que un club (Dance Teacher)


    twists n turns (Humble Hero)


    voguepunter (Beware the Bear)


    Zihuatanejo (No Selection)



    Hyperlinks to Week 36 selections:










    Cheers, fleagle1888

  11. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 37 results (May 4th)






    NONE !!!






    16 roads (Kings Slipper)


    21-5-79 (Great Scot)


    BMCUWP (No Selection)


    Bull67 (Mildenberger)


    Cathal (No Selection)


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (Spider Web)


    fleagle1888 (Miss Sheridan)


    GFTB (No Selection)


    Graffitionthewall (No Selection)


    green T (Fakir D’Oudairies)


    Gweedore Celt (Ever So Much)


    leftclicktic (Billy Dylan)


    Nye Bevans RS (The Daley Express)


    Onemalloy (Rocket Lad)


    Rockon (No Selection)


    Som mes que un club (Gold Stone)


    twists n turns (Glorious Boru)


    voguepunter (El Astronaute)


    Zihuatanejo (No Selection)



    Hyperlinks to Week 37 selections:








    Cheers, fleagle1888

  12. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 38 results (May 11th)






    Zihuatanejo (She Believes) @8/1






    16 roads (Remarkable)


    21-5-79 (No Selection)


    BMCUWP (No Selection)


    Bull67 (Qaysar)


    Cathal (No Selection)


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (No Selection)


    fleagle1888 (Snappish)


    GFTB (No Selection)


    Graffitionthewall (No Selection)


    green T (Singing the Blues)


    Gweedore Celt (Qaysar)


    leftclicktic (Cliff)


    Nye Bevans RS (Green Power)


    Onemalloy (George of Hearts)


    Rockon (No Selection)


    Som mes que un club (Rock on Rocco)


    twists n turns (Thistimenextyear)


    voguepunter (Severance)



    Hyperlinks to Week 38 selections:








    Cheers, fleagle1888

  13. CQN Saturday Naps Competition : WEEK 39 results (May 18th)






    NONE !!!






    16 roads (Petrus)


    21-5-79 (Kinks)


    BMCUWP (No Selection)


    Bull67 (Romanised)


    Cathal (No Selection)


    Cosy Corner Bhoy (No Selection)


    Fastbhoy (No Selection)


    fleagle1888 (Mythical Magic)


    GFTB (Masham Star)


    Graffitionthewall (No Selection)


    green T (Holdenhurst)


    Gweedore Celt (Sky Defender)


    leftclicktic (No Selection)


    Nye Bevans RS (Good Birthday)


    Onemalloy (No Selection)


    Rockon (Boston T Party)


    Som mes que un club (Raffle Prize)


    twists n turns (May Remain)


    voguepunter (Luxor)


    Zihuatanejo (Brian the Snail)



    Hyperlinks to Week 39 selections:






    Cheers, fleagle1888

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