Pay your way or go to the wall


I’ve not touched the Anthony Stokes story on purpose. It’s one of those stories you could be writing for a week, if you started. Anthony enjoyed a successful period for Celtic but the writing has been on the wall since the latter part of Neil Lennon’s era.

He’s still only 27, with around half his career ahead of him, but it won’t be at Celtic. I hope he gets a club who can make the most of his talent.

Despite the riches brought by a new TV deal solidarity contract, many English Football League clubs are still under severe financial pressure, including Neil’s current charges, Bolton Wanderers. Bolton owe the vast majority of their circa £200m debt to owner Eddie Davies, so there’s a good chance that will be written off, but administration remains likely.

Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside, who I hear is now seriously ill, saw this coming years ago, when he proposed an EPL 2-type league reorganisation, while lobbying for the inclusion of Celtic and Rangers. The plan was kyboshed by his then fellow Premier League acquaintances. It would have been transformational for Celtic, and literally a life saver for Rangers.

That Bolton debt figure is pretty eye-watering but the returns from non-league club Forest Green Rovers caught the eye. Net debts reached £5.4m after season 2013-14, thanks to a £2.9m loss. In non-league football. There’s only one Scottish club with that kind of debt. Although I suppose they are also playing off-piste in the Championship.  Pay your way or go to the wall.  Long term that rule applies.

The football industry in England and Wales will survive for a while yet, despite the broken financial model. It won’t be until the TV rights value drops due to reliable and easy to access pirate feeds that the bubble will burst. And it will burst.  The underlying fragility in the football business is that your expenditure is either fixed or often contracted on a multi-year basis, while income is vulnerable to sharp shocks.  It’s not a healthy business to be running at a deficit in.

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  1. Just a wee reminder, that the same Anthony Stokes, decked in Celtic scarf, made the half-time draw at Celtic Park when the Hoops entertained Dumbarton in the Scottish Cup in 2007. He told the crowd he was signing after the game, only to jump in a car with his Dad and sign for Roy Keane at Sunderland.



    *I believe that his da made the decision and AS left the ground greetin.

  2. corkcelt



    There’s a couple in here who know what I posted in here happened, but like me they don’t grass, it wasent anything bad let me ad, but it could have been avoided let’s just leave it at that, nobody died.

  3. timaloy29 on 3rd December 2015 2:41 pm







    The one player who came to mind was Stuart McCall. Genuinely nice bloke who just happened to end up playing at Ibrox. I’ve came across him a couple of times through coaching and he’s always been a decent chap.



    *”decent chaps” don’t stand in the zombie end while they are chanting “up tae yer knees” and other hymns of hate.



    The only one I have a smidgin of time for is ray wilkins who is said to have left as after playing in 2 allegedly Catholic countries couldnae understand the level of hate directed toward the one true, holy and apostolic church. And that was just the dressing room.

  4. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    Re Stokes ( I’m dropping Elvis puns)



    I think he has had too many yellow cards – attending Real IRA funerals, turning up steaming for training, late for training, unsettling team mates, tweeting, etc…



    However even if he was a goody-two-shoes – he’d be out the door imo. He and Commons are the antithesis of a Delia player – they are not whippets. Delia would pick an engine like Johansen over Commons and stokes every time – regardless of inate footballing talent. Its a major flaw imo as a team needs a blend of abilities and there should always be a space for genuine footballing talent. Letrs face it Stokes v Ciftci? Stokes is a million miles better so no wonder he feels aggreived. However when you take his ‘previous’ bad bhoy behaviours in to account – the question I’m left with is why didn’t he just get punted in the summer when Bolton wanted him?



    One thing is for sure now – Stokes will work to contract – there will be no cheap way to part company. I reckon he will be released in January with a fully paid up contract. He will then go somewhere else and probably continue to score a goal every other game as he has done all his life.

  5. Stokes has a fierce love and dedication to his parents. They adopted him when he was 3 and did everything possible for him. When he went cross channel to start his soccer career, they actually moved with him. Stokes himself has admitted that only for that he would have got the next plane home to Dublin.


    It’s little wonder that he is so influenced by his Dad, never judge anyone till you’ve walked in their shoes.

  6. I stuck up for AS at the weekend because I thought the management had acted badly towards him.Still do.I can imagine how the boy feels.He sees the pool depleted,has been working his ass off in training,gets included in the travelling party,then gets to sit in the stand.


    No one deserves the right to play,but if the management have no intention of playing the boy,why take him .


    He has been a good player for the club.If you were taking a back seat for the likes of the dross that we have been signing,after the goals and assists he has had,how would you feel.


    If his off field antics are his downfall,why even include him.Why not just tell him to start looking for a new club in January.Not happy with this.Our SMSM loving it.

  7. Tony O’Donnell………………If you read the story that was covered extensively by Paul Hyland in the Dublin Evening at that time Stokesy’s dad took exception to the bully boy tactics of Gordon Strachan at that time in an effort to get his son to sign. Interesting to read to-day that Stokesy’s former employers in the SPL spoke in glowing terms of the lad.

  8. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    Ciftci or Stokes?



    Yep – thats £1.5m wasted…



    Griffiths was/ is a bigger off field heid the baw than Stokes – but given the investment we make in these players – surely they can be intensively baby-sat/ educated in to meeting Celtic expectations.



    Personally I see both as the kind of players I want to watch. Winners.



    Poor management imo.

  9. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    Geordie Munro



    He is but clearly only under fan pressure..it took Delia long enough to recognise Commons.

  10. Posted On 3 Dec, 2015 – By lostbhoys – With 1 Comment


    celtic-fc-football-dugoutIs there a difference between dropping a player and resting a player?



    There have been players in our past history that you just would never leave out if you were the manager. Jinky, Tully, Larsson, to name just a few. So what if they were in a bad run of form, would you really take the chance of leaving a potential match winner out of the next game, despite what his form had been like in the previous games?



    Despite the domestic or European performances, chances are that the players that you’d steer clear of resting would be forward thinking type players. A striker may be going through a bad run but if he has a previous goalscoring record, you’d be tempted to keep him in, right? What about that attacking midfielder that can usually be counted upon to chip in with goals on a regular basis? Even if the man in question isn’t scoring goals, he’s likely creating things and chances for the men further forward than himself.



    Does that mean that it’s easier to drop a midfielder, defender or a goalkeeper? Are they more susceptible to being left out of a starting XI? Plenty people will offer the opinion that keeping a settled goalkeeper and back four is the way to go. I wouldn’t necessarily argue but what if those five players weren’t on form, how long do you let it go before you change things? One game, two games, how much of a run of games do players deserve or need to turn their respective form around?



    The domestic form is half decent, it would be churlish to think otherwise. Seven points clear of Aberdeen after sixteen games. Twenty two goals better off. Common sense would dictate that the club will win the league once more. We’re in the semi final of the League Cup. The Scottish Cup draw has just been made, granted, but the bookmakers have made us favourites. What if Ronny wins a treble, is it time for him to go? Is it maybe just time for him to change the starting XI or even the formation?



    Given the outcry from the performances of the team in Europe, would resting or dropping players help?



    Start at the back. I don’t know Logan Bailly, I’ve never met him. If I was him though, given some of the recent performances of Craig Gordon, I’d be pretty tempted to have a knock on the door of the manager and ask when I was getting my chance on a domestic basis? Gordon is still only 32 and after less than fifty appearances for the top team, is still one of the most influential players at the club. The back four of constant change in front of him perhaps hasn’t helped his form this season to date but is a change as good as a rest? He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, not many people would argue otherwise. In December of 2010, he made a stunning reflex save to deny Zat Knight in a 1–0 win against Bolton.


    Two years later, Gordon’s stop was voted as the best save in the 20 year history of the Premier League. Grand praise but time for a change for his current team?



    What about the defence?



    Mikael Lustig made ninety-five appearances in four seasons for Rosenborg BK, scoring fourteen goals. Decent effort for a defender, and not many people would argue the fact that he’s been a good man to have in the back four since he’s been at the club. Has his recent form made him undroppable though? He’s made fifty-four appearances in the same years at Celtic and can’t be counted on being a regular member of the first team due to his fitness. Is it time for him to take a seat on the bench so that we can see what Janko is all about?



    Izaguirre’s poor form and the emergence of Tierney has ended the question of what to do with the Honduran international. He was the poster boy of undroppable players but the young Scot has emerged to show the fans what he is all about.



    Midfield? Is the captain undroppable also? His injury has made the question irrelevant so who makes up the two now in the formation that the gaffer loves so much? Bitton and Johansen? Do Armstrong or Allan merit a place in there? Should Mulgrew be anywhere near this team again, far less a place in the engine room of the midfield? Walking off the pitch against Ajax has done him no favours on social media, despite what may be true on an injury front. We are an unforgiving support if we feel that a player isn’t giving 100%.



    What next for the Hoops? Hamilton visit G40 on Saturday and nothing less than a win will be expected. Is it time for Ronny to change it and go for a 4-3-3 formation? How about 4-4-2? How about giving Stokes a chance, it would certainly keep @MBBawdeep happy but has the Twitter rant from the Irishman harmed his chances?



    I like the gaffer, don’t get me wrong. In the words of the good gentlemen at the @90MinuteCynic, I’m definitely on the Deila bus. It’s time for a change though, even to energise the support surely? Formation, players, up to you gaffer.



    In Ronny we trust?






    This Post Has 1 Comment



    Dr. J


    December 3, 2015 at 3:22 pm


    Sam, I like 99% of what you say here except for Gordon. The reality on Gordon is he’s been caught out by the B&B Bhoys ay CH. Blackett & Boyata should have Gordon high up on their Christmas list. Maybe a bullet proof jacket would be fitting.



    As for my personal favorite Stokes, he’s done himself not one favor with his statement. I feel for him, but Ronny is obviously not impressed with his sense of “Dedication to Celtic”. But, can you blame him? He says he’s fit. Ronny wants fitness. But, he sits in the stands when Cole (admittedly unfit) get the jersey at ICT.



    A treble and he’s going nowhere. Cmon, who are we kidding… He’s not going anywhere even if he doesn’t win the treble. Nor is he changing his style of play regardless of the energy level of the support.



    So, I guess it’s “On the Ronny Bus” because that’s going to be the only bus in town.

  11. garygillespieshamstring on

    As I understand it, as was found guilty of assault. The judge referred the case to a higher court because he felt the seriousness of the assault merits jail time. The only decision to be made is whether anton gets a fine or a striker position in the mount joy jail fitba team.



    I just wonder if his special defence is provocation because the elvis impersonator stepped on his blue suede shoes.



    Jaiket on

  12. “He is but clearly only under fan pressure..it took Delia long enough to recognise Commons.”







    I’d say the facts prove otherwise.



    Commons is included nearly every week since Ronny joined when fit.

  13. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    Geordie Munro –


    lets disagree – Commons is not a Delia player by choice imo. as well as being too fat he’s too mouthy and clearly holds both Johnny and Ronnie in low regard..



    GG hamstring



    Jailhouse Rock for Anton by the sounds of things..

  14. Just spent a pleasant 30 minutes, watching highlights of Lisbon67. Must have been one of the greatest footballing performance of all time.


    Maybe it’s just as well there was no outfield substitutes in those days, the only Sub being T.O.H.G. and Dad of our esteemed CQN colleague.


    I watched it live in ’67 in a small black & white TV in a digs in Killorglin Co. Kerry. I still remember the moment that Gemmell crashed that ball into the net. That was the real moment, I knew, Celtic knew and Inter Milan knew from that moment that the big Cup was heading for Glasgow.


    Almost 50 years later, watching that goal still brings tears to my eyes.

  15. shooie on 3rd December 2015 1:23 pm



    One thing I detest is double standards.



    Anthony Stokes has been banned for two weeks for a tweet he made.




    100% agreement, Anto publically venting his frustration, and rightly so imo, over not being selected in front of the likes of Ciftci . KC has a rant at the management team in front of TV cameras and result – hee haw, utter lack of balls from the management team as the fans were generally OK with KC’s petulant outburst. Stokes is as easy target as he is basically surplus to requirements in RD’s view, so lets make a wee example of him.


    Anto is undoubtedly one of the best footballers currently on Celtics books. However he does not fit in to RD’s vision of a footballer- a run all day athlete. The problem Ronnie has is that he has forgot the fundamental ‘magic ingredient’ a football playing athlete requires that is the ability to play football. Far too many of the current squad emabarasingly fail to do the simple things week in week out yet RD continues to select them. I guess in the forlorn hope that they somehow learn.


    Take KC and Anto out of the squad and we have no real footballers. Would Lubo get a game in Ronnies’ brave new Celtic? I doubt it as he doesn’t fit the profile.


    Hope Stokes get a decent move in January, he deserves it, again imo.

  16. I think Stokes has been silly and ill disciplined and not for the first time.



    However the timing of the fine and public flogging leaves a lot to be desired and smacks of poor Management at either Operational or Director level,from wherever the instruction came.



    We need players who, when wearing the strip,put in a bit of effort, and want to win for the Club,I believe Stokes falls into that category as I would have been more encouraged seeing him come on at Inverness than the totally unfit publicity stunt that is Carlton Cole.



    A ridiculous state of affairs when players like both Stokes and Cifti had travelled and were either not selected or left on the bench.



    We are stumbling between selections yet AS has not been included but heavily criticised for being daft,YET the vitriolic outburst, bordering on severe resentment, by Kris Commons went unchallenged,this for a player who since has ensured he has distanced himself from the action, ” Sickness and thigh strain ” my bahookie.



    Sometimes the bad boys are worth the effort,even my all time favourite Bertie was shipped out to Birmingham for ” cooling” only to return and the rest is History.



    Problem is these types need Managed and therein lies the problem.

  17. Sky and BT Sports are here to stay,fleecing a working class sport.cant stand these people like Murdoch,who yrs ago wouldnt have been near a football match, but they seen easy pickings,and put two fingers up to the ordinary fan ,telling them if you want to see live football,then you will have to pay,there will come a day and it wont be far away that all sports will pay per view,its happening now,and not one mp has voiced there concern about this,so they are all in it to gether.F I F A is not the only orginisation thats corrupt E P L ,SPL and the biggest shafters of them all the B B C.THERE IS NEVER ANY INQUIRY WHEN SKY TAKE CERTAIN SPORTS PROGRAMMES FROM THE PUBLIC BROADCASTER ,AND TO ME THATS CHEATING,



    ‘Gullible’ is the most commonly used word in the English language that doesn’t appear in any dictionary.




    Wow!! I never knew that!

  19. The suspension of Anthony Stokes for two weeks will affect neither the player nor Celtic. It has been overlooked that Martin O’Neill called him up for the Euro play-off double header against Bosnia-Herzegovnia last month despite not appearing for his club since 22 August. I have enjoyed watching him score many times in Celtic Park. I’m told he will be moving to Cardiff in January and I’m now hoping to see him score again in a green shirt in the Euro finals in France next summer.

  20. Anto to be jailed for punching someone in a club in Dublin?? FFS if that were the case a sizeable number of Dubs male population would be ‘banged up’ by now.

  21. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Geordie Munro


    You must have enjoyed that `conversation` with Culsbhoy!!!



  22. May have been posted previously and if so….no harm done



    The breadman speaketh…quoted in the BBC article on his commitment to the cause.



    “It’s very important that any media outlet has journalistic integrity, does their homework, investigates and substantiates.



    Is he really so obtuse?

  23. I would drop Craig Gordon.. he is holding nothing and the worst is losing goals at the near post. This should NEVER happen as it shows the keeper is not concentrating on his position. A spell on bench will help his concentration

  24. tonydonnelly67



    Are you saying that a pundit isn’t entitled to say that a team who concede too many goals do just that?



    He’s a pundit stating the obvious! I wouldn’t expect him to keep his trap shut to protect anybodies feelings. Ronny has said the same thing himself.

  25. Anyone notice the changed logo at the top of the page?



    One of the things mentioned on here over the past wee while is a Comments App for CQN.



    The idea is the create an App which only has Paul’s most recent blog plus all the comments that follow.



    CQN’ers could post from either the site as normal or from the new App.



    When Paul puts up a new post the App refreshes itself and the previous blog and comments are removed.



    That’s what we can do, is there interest and are you happy to pay for it? It’s going to have to be self financing.



    Paul reckons that there will not be an appetite for this but if it is to proceed then it’s something CQNers can ask for and we’ll sort. Any surplus can go to Mary’s Meals. Thinking of having a £5 and £10 payment option to buy the same app. Thoughts?



    Caesar & The Assassin sold very well last year, on CQN, in Celtic stores and Waterstones etc and the success of this allowed us develop the site. This has not been without its challenges as we appreciate, and we’re committed to getting CQN to be super-fast very soon…



    Our new book The Winds of Change continues where Caesar & The Assassin left off. You can order these books and plenty of others, plus Celtic DVDs and Annuals at http://www.cqnbookstore.com – might be worthy dropping a few hints at home that the new site is up!



    Everyone who has ordered since the new Bookstore site has gone up plus everyone who orders up to 21st December will be placed in a prize draw. We will have three great prizes that will be posted at random to 3 winners. Prizes include some beautiful green and white cashmere football scarfs from Savile Rogue which are the most expensive Celtic scarfs you will ever see! Plenty of other goodies going in there too.

  26. CultsBhoy can not relate to Celtic Board ambitions on or off the park on

    mungolian bhoy



    Deila will always be Delia to me…






  27. Re Stokes


    He hasn’t offered much in a long time..looked to be a good signing but went off the boil fairly quickly and haven’t really seen him perform in a big game.



    Over in Belfast at the moment and looking for somewhere to watch the game on Saturday. Any Belfast bhoys got any suggestions?




  28. One thing I don’t understand is how people think Commons “got away with it”



    Losing your temper on the touchline isn’t the same as publicly having a go on social media.



    I understand both players frustration and rate them both but we all know Stokes has previous. Neil Lennon had to fine Stokes on more than one occasion.

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