Scepticism for Karamoko Dembele narrative


Imagine for a moment that instead of turning out for Celtic’s under-20s at Cappielow last night, the same 13-year-old Messi-anic talent, Karamoko Dembele, made his debut for Morton’s under-20 side.  With all the scouts in Scotland and beyond watching his ever move, what chance Morton fans would be in a position to watch the lad grace their first team for anything more than a fleeting moment?

Celtic, among many others, would be all over the situation.  His advisers would ensure that when he approaches his 16th birthday his career options were as open as possible – that’s if he’s still part of Morton’s development setup by that stage.

It’s easy to see Morton’s place in the food-chain.  They would be totally incapable of offering a young player anything remotely like the compensation the likes of Celtic would.  Self-awareness regarding the food-chain position is less common.

A few years back I watched a preseason game at a lower league club with a scout who worked for Manchester City, as well as a few lesser lights.  When the subject got around to Celtic’s then equally Messi-anic prodigy, Islam Feruz, there was little the scout didn’t know about the player.

He could quote every stat and report ever written on Islam, but he didn’t make comfortable listening.  “The boy will never play for Celtic”, was his verdict.  “All the big English clubs want him and one of them will offer so much money, he’ll not refuse.  Celtic can’t come close to offering the same.”  I had plenty of hope that he would be wrong but as Islam’s 16th birthday approached, Chelsea outbid all others to transform his bank balance beyond all recognition.  His subsequent demise is a footnote in the tale of player development.

Clubs cannot offer a professional contract until a young player turns 16.  It does the developing club no good whatsoever to have a prodigy, evident to the world, before this age.  Once he’s 16, he can be offered a professional contract, and the club can secure a subsequent transfer fee.  If he leaves before this, the most the club will earn is a modest training compensation fee.  Even if the parent club manages to secure the player on a contract, it’s likely to be something like Martin Odegaard’s at Strømsgodset – due to expire while the boy is still a boy, limiting game time and transfer fees accordingly.

Will Karamoko Dembele make it?  If he does, will he be the exception to the rule that takes Teenage Kickers into the financial stratosphere before they are ready?  Let’s hope it’s yes on both counts, but consider me skeptical for the next three years until we find out.  On both counts.  Until then we we can enjoy watching a great talent come through the ranks, but nothing more significant.


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    You still made it,mate. No double medals awarded,not even to the good guys!

  2. When Feruz played in TB’s testimonial, he still looked like a youth, but looked big for someone we were told was 13 (??) years of age


    He doesn’t seem to have grown much since, nor has his career progressed ……..

  3. Paul67



    I am beyond exasperated trying to access CQN.


    I have tried for over 15 mins to get on via my iPad.



    I keep getting overpowered by washing powder advert.



    I have now accessed the site via my iPhone and still the pop ups constantly annoy the feck out of me.



    I realise that there has to be a commercial return , but the site is a fecking nightmare to access at times.




  4. Afternoon champions…..


    In three years …doon sooth will be a foreign country…..and Wangland don’t,t want peeps from other countries…


    So the young Dembele might play for the mighty hoops….




  5. You are bang on with this Paul. My son is in this position at the moment and I have agents crawling all over him trying to entice him to sign for them when he turns 16. There are numerous English teams watching every game he plays and there are already deals on the table from them, again to entice him south next year.



    Playing him last night was a gimic and it is being done either to ward off potential suitors from down South already or to keep his family onside with the club so he doesnt feel the need to leave.



    Hearts last season were playing 14yr olds in their 20’s side every week, even put one on in the cup final but ti didnt attract this kind of publicity. The boy is lucky he didnt get hurt, he is 13 and the game is quicker, more physical and even being on the pitch for 10 mins could be enough for one challenge to hurt him, think a bit more care needed, even for another year as you can see he isn’t a big lad either.



    Thye should be playing him at 15’s or maybe even 16’s regularly so he gets exposure to a faster more physical game and then when he gets to Jack Aitchisons age then you can fast track him through.

  6. Just tried the iPad again,.


    The page still gets completely overtaken by a Persil testers advert .



    Sick to my back teeth with it.




  7. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    This situation begs the question of why should teams try to develop young talent?


    I think clubs should be given more by way of incentive.


    Would a 1% surcharge on all future transfer fees, by way of training funding, be workable? Or even desirable?

  8. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    Good result last night after going behind and missing a penalty Its been years since ive been Cappielow and it aint changed much.



    Another thing id like to know What was Celtics reason for playing Dembele he looked so out of place??


    Stay and be a legend,young fella.



    No fans love their legends like we do.



    More medals than you can shake a stick at,all the adulation you’ll ever need,and the financial rewards to suit.



    Winner for me,that.

  10. Tiny Tim



    Ad blocker works here on iPad but with ibone it’s still a nightmare as I can’t update iOS to anything past v6 on iPhone 4 and ad blocker needs iOS 8. My phone works fine and has everything on it I need it to do. I’m not upgrading just for CQN. The ads are a decking nightmare so don’t come on as often ( good thing all round I hear you all shout – especially the right wing csc Donald Trumpet )








    A lot of our youngsters were on international duty. Seemed like as good a game as any to give a couple of younger players a wee step up.

  12. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on







    Aye, but I only made it cos Philvis ain’t around (thumbsup)






    To absent friends.



    A class act was he.

  13. TinyTim on 4th October 2016 12:36 pm



    AdBlock Plus and NeverAds from the app store. I use both on my iPad and iPhone. No ads ever seen again!




    FAC the Act




  14. Paul 67,


    These things can go both ways


    Right now we have Moussa, who left France at 15 to turn pro, and look where he is now.



    I also think there are rich pickings amongst players who are lured to EPL glamour teams by big money, but don’t cut it.


    Some are happy to take the money, but others like Scott Sinclair,come to us to either re-launch their career or use us as a stepping stone





    Totally agree on your comments re 13 year olds playing against 18/19 year olds

  15. ALLYMAC35 on 4TH OCTOBER 2016 12:39 PM




    ‘The boy is lucky he didnt get hurt’






    And the more hype around him, the greater the risk.



    These kids are one bad injury away from their professional career disappearing before its got started.

  16. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    I agree with Allymac35,



    There was nothing to be gained in playing the boy last night, except, perhaps, to massage someone’s ego.



    The kid should be allowed to develop in his own time, in his own environment, among his peers, or , at a pinch, a year or two above.



    Maybe Celtic are trying a different approach with him , than the one they used with Feruz, whatever that was.



    Anyway, If he develops as is hoped, I don’t see him pulling on a first team jersey.



    He will be a professional, whose first duty will be towards himself.



    I hope I’m wrong.

  17. Paul67



    Just read the article .



    I had the exact same conversation with the Man City scout.



    He lives in Glenrothes and taught at the same school as Mr Potter , who I believe posts on CQN.



    The scout is a client of mine and has an exhaustive compilation of files of youth players going back decades .



    In fact to the time when he scouted the team I played for in my youth.



    Over the years I have represented him we eventually get round to the latest hot prospect.



    I can recall discussing Craig Levein,Maurice Malpas,Brian O’Neill, Charlie Adams, and Islam Feruz.



    He tells me the best youth he ever saw was Ross Wallace.


    He took him down to Man City and played him as a trialist against Man U in a youth Derby.



    Ross ran riot , with City thumping United.



    Ross as you well know enjoys a professional career , but not in the higher echelons of the game.



    I wrote on CQN 2 or 3 weeks ago , that we should not get carried away with thinking that Dembele will be a first team player at Celtic.



    I don’t agree with him being promoted so quickly.


    It doesn’t make any sense to me.




  18. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    TINYTIM on 4TH OCTOBER 2016 12:39 PM


    Just tried the iPad again,.



    The page still gets completely overtaken by a Persil testers advert .




    Sick to my back teeth with it.








    Anyone needing any washing done, then Tiny Tim’s your man!

  19. The Battered Bunnet on

    I get a little apprehensive when kids are highlighted in the way the kid Dembele has been recently. Doubtless, he’s a talented boy, but he’s 13 years old.



    Human development, the sum of physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional growth is not a curve at all. It’s a puzzle that no one has yet figured out. Sure, there’s a bundle of data, but we’re in the realms of statistical inference, and some of the data from which inferences can be drawn is applicable at the population level, not the individual.



    Even the physical, which is the easiest to plot and map, is fraught, and the competitive adult athlete cannot be defined until the growth phase has been completed at around 21 years of age.



    At the moment, best thing for the kid is to be loved by his parents, encouraged by his teachers and supported by his coaches. Out of sight. Like every other kid.



    Half the kids at Celtic at aged 13 will be gone by age 15. Half again by age 17. Of the remaining cohort, just 5% will get a 2nd professional contract at age 21. That is, just one young player in the Under 20 squad a given year will become a first team player at Celtic.



    The kid is just 13 years old. Good as he is in his cohort just now, he’s got a half chance of a half chance of a 20:1 shot to make the grade at Celtic. Good luck to him, like all the other boys who dream, but his chance is no better than the rest of them.



    Leave him alone. Let him grow, let him find himself safely and naturally. Just like every other child.

  20. TT & TBB



    My bro has been raving about this lad since he played his first game with Park Villa. His lad played there to in same team. Said then it was like watching videos of a young Messi every week as the lad was 5 years ahead of every other lad on the field. Seems that is still the case. Hopefully he is allowed to mature as a boy and a Bhoy and that his early introduction does not ruin his head. Small steps. I doubt thought he would have been introduced and subsequently highlighted by the club if coaches did not think he was capable.




  21. cigalasporfavor on




    I was in Glasgow at the weekend and had 3/4 G for the first time ever on my iPad.It was impossible to get onto CQN,kept going straight to adverts.


    I,m back at sea now and although it’s dead slow wifi it logs straight on.I just wondered if there’s any link?

  22. Far be it for me to gainsay the use of Ad-blockers, but it is no free pass to the ‘Ad free world”.



    They run little innoffensive cookies that just happen to pick up on your key strokes, location and ach you get the drift….then a few months later your mates will be calling you saying…I am getting a lot of sheugh emails from you. Your account has been hacked.



    How does that happen you wonder.



    So the answer to world domination my Ad-Man? Use Mozilla browser and via the menu options in the top right corner, (three bars on desk/tab/lap and three dots on phone ) open CQN in a private window or private tab…then open CQN or any other website you care. Only your ISP can track your browsing.



    The rest of the world can’t see you or identify you…mind you they probably think you are looking at porn.



    Works on phone, tablet, laptop, desktop.



    As recommended by my mate ….Edward Snowdon. :)



    Hail Hail







  23. I agree with a lot of the posters, that it seems strange that Celtic would allow a 13 year old to play in a game against 17/18/19 year olds.



    Clearly talent-wise, the coaches think he is able to compete at that age-gap, however it is the physical side that I would be much more concerned about. Again, I assume the Celtic coaches believed he was able to do that also, but it seems to me anyway, that there was a big risk in doing so. A simple challenge – hard but fair – could easily see him left with a broken leg and a massive set-back in his career and development.


    I know that could be said for every game of football that is ever played, but why take the risk, as that particular age gap, physically, is massive. It is literally a Bhoy against men.



    I’d prefer to see him playing against kids no older than 15/16 as that is a big enough step in its own right, regardless of how talented he may be. Nurture him and his talent, allow him to grow physically and mentally before throwing him in to the deep end.



    Good Luck to the young bhoy, i would love to see him eventually get that first team place and become a legend in the Hoops (unlikely as that may be). But regardless i wish him along successful career wherever he may end up.


    Them’s excepted of course…..






  24. TT and MWD


    The best solution that I have found is to install a seperate browser solely for CQN.


    In my case I use Opera Mini which can be set to stop any pictures videos or ads loading up automatically. As none of the data hungry components are loading onto a page everything moves at a greater speed.


    Pictures can always be seen by opening a new tab whilst videos can be accessed with a simple C&P of the link to your normal browser.


    I am using Android but the same principle should work with IOS.


    Dont forget that the main problem is usually the high ammount of data that is trying to load onto one page. Reducing this data is the key

  25. Posted earlier today:



    So wee Karamoko Dembele is on all the back pages this morning after his 9 minute cameo for the Under 20 team last night! Probably rightly so, but probably mainly because it’s a slow news day because of the international break.




    The bhoy is a prodigious talent and I sincerely hope he makes it and breaks Jack Aitchinsons record as the youngest ever player and goalscorer for Celtic. But let’s not get carried away just yet. Plenty of emerging talents have fallen by the wayside before – Isalm Feruz being the most recent.




    I’m old enough to remember the Quality St Gang. OK, we got McGrain, Macari, Wilson, Dalgleish and Hay. And George Connelly for a while; and Vic Davidson also stayed around for a bit. But we lost Tony McBride, Pat McMahon, John Gorman, Davie Cattanach and Jimmy Quinn. Brian McLaughlin had his career ruined by injury; a similar fate befell John Kennedy. Bothe immensely talented individuals but never reached the heights.




    Later on Danny Crainie never fulfilled potential; Liam Miller took the Yankee Dollar (ok, the Manc Pound) and never re-surfaced. Amongst many others, Jaimie McQuilken, Davie Elliot, Michael McGlinchey and Ross Wallace were all young lads destined to make the grade; very few of them made an impact on the first team and some have made “journey-men” careers for themselves.




    So wee Dembele is at the embryonic stage of a promising career but let’s put it in perspective and say he’s a “mibbe” just now and watch his progress without any great expectation at the moment!




    Hopefully he will be one of the exceptions!




    FAC the Act





  26. Keep your eyes on the current Vanguard Bear spokesman for pitch invaders outed as pitch invader. Going by Twitter this one is growing arms and legs and straying into state aid territory. I so hope it’s him. The Timmy hunter now being hunted. Ironic justice.




  27. “Hearts last season were playing 14yr olds in their 20’s side every week, even put one on in the cup final but ti didnt attract this kind of publicity. The boy is lucky he didnt get hurt, he is 13 and the game is quicker, more physical and even being on the pitch for 10 mins could be enough for one challenge to hurt him”






    Maybe Celtic thought that seeing no hearts players careers were ended last year, and they done it all season most weeks it was worth it to risk him for 9 minutes.




  28. BSR



    I was referring to ‘little innoffensive cookies” as opposed to “Innoffensive little cookies” :)



    Small but profound difference with great consequences for modern threats to civilisation, a bit like……now that would be telling! But trust me, it is a threat so clear and present, hiding in plain sight, and baaing like a charlatan wolf, that something needs to be done.



    Being as it is the international break, I have begun some serious analysis and appraisal of this imminent self-inflicted danger, and will publish the gory details once I have manged to compose myself.



    Think a sort of Necrotizing Fasciitis of the mind….think sisters, the land under the table and christmas and on-line shopping…..most of all you have to realise that threats to wipe out the human race tend to follow the alphabet….we seem to have seen off all those obvious ones beginning with an ‘A’….now it’s the turn of the ‘B’s and this is a Big Buckin Bronco of a B!



    Details later in the day/week after I have checked my own home for any sign of it lurkin in the shadows, under the beds or sink.



    Don’t worry anyone…..worry is such an inadequate word…..’catatonic terror’ is more appropriate.



    Hail Hail