Silk from financial sow’s ear


World Soccer Magazine published a fascinating table at the bottom of an article on the respective financial might of Chelsea and Manchester City yesterday, detailing player spend and sales for current English Premier League clubs over the last 10 seasons.

Liverpool have an average net spend of £18.1m as they chase former glories while Manchester United, who stole Liverpool’s place at the top of the English pile, had only a marginally higher net spend of £18.6m.

Fifth on the list is Aston Villa, largely on the back of an attempt to take over the world during Martin O’Neill’s reign, spending a net average of £11.1m.

Most fascinating of all is that 11 of the 20 have a net average spend of less than £4m per season.  They spend big, but apart from the odd team spending some foreign country’s mineral wealth, they also sell big.

Bottom of the table of net biggest spenders in Everton, who sold £7.8m of talent more than they bought during the period.  Newcastle United are also in a surplus, thanks in part to their recently departed director of football, Joe Kinnear, who completed his service without spending a penny.

Crystal Palace clearly have an eye for a bargain.  They successfully negotiated a return to the Premier League, and then bought Joe Ledley as his Celtic contract ran down, with an average net spend of £722k.

The Silk from a Sow’s Ear prize has to go to Arsenal.  The last decade has not been generous to Arsenal, however, their average net spend is only £1.5m per season having sold £277m worth of talent.  Their business model is not right, i.e. they have not been able to compete with those who don’t seem to care if they break even, but they, more than any other club in Europe*, are primed for the Financial Fair Play era.

*apart from Celtic, of course.
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  1. JimmyQuinnsBits on

    Ryecatcher, cheers






    and long may the cultural differences exist



    Night all

  2. I can’t get my head around an argument that a ‘nation’ wants to be accepted into a beauracratic super state such as the European Union,yet wants autonomy from the tiny little island which is part of this same union.



    No counter argument from ‘blood of our blood,bone of our bone’ politicians will ever convince me that there is anything other than a flawed agenda here.



    These people are opportunists and liars.It is what self serving politicians do best.



    As humanity endeavours to find a way for citizens of the world to co-exist,these people want to regress back to the 17th century.



    Best wee country in the world only if you control the resources.Aint gonna happen in 21st century.Globalisation of assets has taken care of this and is irreversible.When the politicians lie to you about this again don’t be surprised because it’s what they do.



    If Scotland starts taxing companies to the hilt then they will relocate ……simples.



    If Scottish politicians tell you they will have freedom from The Bank of England,to set interest rates and create a low business tax economy,they are lying……simples.



    Politicians are liars by nature…….they make football Plc boards look like paragons of truth and virtue…..well maybe except one in Govan who are friar tucked by Valentines Day.



    Hail Hail…..We’re all Jock Tamson’s Bairns?

  3. And now for a special treat for the overnight moon howlers.


    Goals from the U20s 4-0 victory over our derby rivals Partick Thistle.


    Points to note:


    The size of the Fridge. He’s humungous.


    The goals of JOHN HERRON :-) and an assist.


    It’s only a couple of minutes but there are some good prospects in this crop.





  4. Margaret McGill on




    02:16 on 5 February, 2014


    Thats true, however, one must have an ideal for living.

  5. GG – fantastic. Thanks for that. Ready for the next storm. Just filled up ma gas cans for generator. Not gonny be without power again after Sandy.


    Take care.

  6. Lassie


    How’s the baby?


    I was in Kearny today stocking up on pies, sausage rolls, Irish bacon, square slice and Irn Bru.


    Generator primed, logs in garage, Scottish vegetable soup on stove and kids excited about missing another day at school.

  7. He is great. I am exhausted. LOL. No idea how my mother had 4 !!


    Get my groceries delivered now (best thing ever invented) so all stocked up for this storm and Sunday’s. Crazy days eh?

  8. The first winter I was here, 1994, we had 13 or 14 major storms.


    We are on track to beat that this year.


    Still the grand kids are loving it.

  9. antipodean red on




    Enjoyed that little outbreak of fitba earlier, was that Kearny NJ you were talking about?




  10. Celtic star Virgil van Dijk says ‘amazing’ Fraser Forster reminds him of Dutch goalkeeping legend Edwin van der Sar



    5 Feb 2014 03:00


    VAN DIJK paid homage to his Dutch compatriot and insists Forster can have a career as long and successful as the former Manchester United No.1 as he closes in on van der Sar’s 14-game British clean sheet record.




    Van Dijk believes Forster can have a successful career like legendary Dutch keeper Edwin van der SarAction Images


    VIRGIL VAN DIJK admired Edwin van der Sar from a distance as the Dutch keeper embarked on a British record clean sheet run that still stands.



    These days the Celtic defender is looking at a goalkeeping phenomenon at much closer quarters. In fact, all van Dijk has to do is look over his shoulder to see Fraser Forster in action.



    The man known as The Wall hasn’t lost a goal in 11 league matches – and you can throw a Scottish Cup clean sheet in on top of that. He’s breaking records and strikers’ hearts and now has his sights on van der Sar’s run of 14 straight clean sheets in the league that was set in season 2008-2009 when the Manchester United No.1 went 1311 minutes without conceding.



    Before that the Scottish top-flight record set by Aberdeen’s Bobby Clark in 1971 of 1155 minutes will go if Forster keeps out St Johnstone in Celtic’s next league game and Hearts don’t score in the first 31 minutes of the match that follows it.



    This run is keeping the eyes of the Celtic players firmly on the ball at a time when their concentration could be slipping, such is the ease with which they are romping the championship.



    And Dutchman van Dijk is a major part of that success story, forming with Efe Ambrose a central-defensive protective barrier that means Forster is only being called into action a couple of times in each game.



    That though is when the Englishman earns his corn and van Dijk believes Forster’s ability to keep focused during long periods of inactivity is the reason he is having such a successful season.



    SNS GroupVan Dijk will be happy to have Forster right behind him against the Dons


    Van Dijk said: “First of all some of the people will say the Scottish league is too easy for us but we still have to win games and we still have to not concede goals and that’s not as easy as people think.



    “I don’t look at specific qualities of a keeper – I just look at how they save shots.



    “I see Fraser do things that are unbelievable. He is an amazing keeper.



    “It’s probably different being a keeper at Celtic than other teams. You need to stay sharp because there may only be one or two saves to make.



    “You must stay focused. It must be hard but that’s what Fraser does.”



    Van Dijk is reluctant to draw comparisons between Forster and van der Sar but is convinced the Celtic keeper can go on to have a career as long and successful as the former Ajax, Juventus and Man United No.1.



    He added: “It’s difficult to say how Fraser compares with van der Sar. Van der Sar was an unbelievable. Fraser is so good and getting better. They are both amazing keepers.



    “Van der Sar is a big figure in Dutch football. He had a lot of respect and was captain of Holland at the 2006 World Cup. He played at the highest level for a long time and Fraser can do the same.”



    Forster and van Dijk will put league records to one side this weekend when Celtic take on Aberdeen – the last Scottish team to score against them back in November – in the Scottish Cup.



    Van Dijk has no doubt the Dons – on a high after reaching the League Cup Final – will provide a stern examination at Parkhead.



    He said: “It’s going to be tough. They are winning and played well in their last game, the 4-0 win over St Johnstone. They will come here in good spirit but we are also in a good mood.



    “Aberdeen are one of the best – they and Dundee United are two of the better teams in Scotland.



    “Everybody wants to be the first to score a goal or win a game against us but I hope that’s not going to happen.”



    Van Dijk is hoping for a cracking game against the Dons to return the focus to football after days of headlines over the treatment manager Neil Lennon received from some Aberdeen fans at Saturday’s League Cup semi-final.



    He added: “It was terrible to see


    what happened to the manager but I believe there were only a couple of people doing it.



    “It was terrible. Sometimes stuff like that happens in Holland too. It happens everywhere in the world.



    “A couple of people behave like that and ruin it for the other people in the stadium who will now be seen as the bad people.


    “It shouldn’t happen. It would be terrible if these people pushed the manager to leave. But the manager is a great person and I’m very positive nothing will happen.”

  11. Owen Coyle has described the treatment meted out to Neil Lennon at Tynecastle last weekend as “disgraceful”, but he believes the prospect of further Champions League success could convince the Celtic manager to remain in Scotland.



    Lennon felt compelled to leave his seat in the directors’ box early after coins and drink were thrown at him as he watched the League Cup semi-final between Aberdeen and St Johnstone.



    Having also been forced to endure a gauntlet of hate on occasion, Coyle is talking from experience. However, he rates Lennon’s experience as worse than what he experienced when crossing the East Lancashire divide between Burnley and Bolton Wanderers.



    “The thing that alarmed me was that this was nothing to do with Celtic or Rangers, this wasn’t a game that concerned you, it was watching the opposition,” he said. “Whoever did it is a total idiot and, while it was one incident, it was one far too many.”



    “It’s got progressively worse,” the former St Johnstone manager added. “There was a spell after I left [Scotland] when it wasn’t particularly nice between Celtic and Rangers and you’re hoping that it would’ve moved on.”



    Coyle is currently out of work after parting ways with Wigan Athletic earlier this season. However, back in 2010 he was very firmly in the spotlight as enemy No 1 when he swapped the managerial post at Burnley for the one at Bolton. On his first return to Turf Moor with Bolton, Coyle was forced to endure what one newspaper described as “ferocious condemnation” from the scorned home supporters. Coyle was accompanied by as many as eight security personnel around the dug-out, who remained in close proximity throughout the Carling Cup tie, which Burnley won 1-0.



    Later Coyle said the abuse had not concerned him, and that football is about “heroes and villains”. However, even Coyle believes that whoever abused Lennon at Tynecastle last Saturday went far too far. Although he has only returned twice to Burnley’s ground, on both occasions while on duty with Bolton, he could not imagine being abused at a game that did not involve one of his clubs.



    “I’ve got to say what happened there is nothing short of disgraceful,” he said, with reference to Lennon’s Tynecastle experience. “That’s the bottom line. If someone is out doing their job – whatever their job is – then they should be allowed to do it in the relative comfort and enjoyment of going and watching a football match.



    “It sends out a horrible message because people will look and say ‘How can that possibly happen in this day and age?’ The sooner the culprits are sorted the better. By all means have your rivalry, enjoy your own club and support your team but don’t be taking it to the level of the other day, which is nothing short of scandalous.”



    “I had abuse all through my career as player, coach and manager. But as much as we laugh about it, and footballers have thick skins, it doesn’t make it right. People think they can stand on terraces and abuse.



    “I was back at Burnley a few times,” he added. “It sounds daft but, although you hear things before the game starts, when it kicks off you’re focused on the game. You’re not really aware of what’s going on. People tell you afterwards but I’m big enough and ugly enough to deal with whatever comes my way.



    Coyle pointed out that he never needed to return to Turf Moor to run the rule over Burnley because he managed to keep Bolton up, while his old club were relegated from the Premier League. “Maybe that’s why I got the stick,” he mused.



    “But I was out at games all the time and I’ve never experienced anything like what happened at Tynecastle.”



    Nevertheless, Coyle, who turned down the Celtic managerial post following Gordon Strachan’s departure in 2009, senses Lennon might feel as though he still has work to do at the Parkhead club. While Coyle’s own ambitions remains firmly in England – “I love everything I am doing down the road, I’ve had a couple of approaches but they were not right for me,” he said – he believes the draw of European nights at Celtic could convince Lennon there is no better place to be, even given the abuse.



    “What will keep Neil Lennon in Scotland is that he wants to improve in the Champions League,” said Coyle. “Maybe he’ll want to win the treble. With the strength Celtic have, he will have an opportunity to do that. But the only person who can answer that is Lenny.



    “Just as he was as an outstanding player, Neil will want to manage at the highest level. But he’s been a terrific Glasgow Celtic player, captain and manager and maybe he feels it doesn’t get any better than Glasgow Celtic.



    “When they are in full flow on a Champions League nights I don’t think it does get any better than Glasgow Celtic. The difficulty is that the Champions League nights aren’t every week…”

  12. Celtic escape ‘H block’ banner punishment


    Wednesday, February 05, 2014 – 9:41 AM


    Source: AFP





    Scottish champions Celtic will not be punished over an “offensive” banner displayed at Parkhead, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) says.



    The SPFL launched an investigation after fans held aloft a large ‘H’ symbol – representing the Maze Prison block in Belfast where 10 Irish Republicans died on hunger strike in 1981 – alongside lyrics derived from Flower of Scotland, “they fought and died for their wee bit hill and glen”.



    The display came during Celtic’s Scottish Premiership fixture against Aberdeen on November 23.



    A spokesman for the league said: “The SPFL has concluded its investigation into the appearance of a large ‘H’ banner on 23 November 2013 during Celtic’s home match against Aberdeen.



    “SPFL regulations forbid ‘words or conduct or displaying any writing or other thing which indicates support for, or affiliation to, or celebration of, or opposition to an organisation or group proscribed in terms of the Terrorism Act 2000′.



    “The SPFL found that the banner was offensive and breached the SPFL’s rules. However, Celtic FC were able to demonstrate that they had taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the banner being displayed at Celtic Park.



    “As a result, it was determined that there was no evidence of any breach of the SPFL’s rules by Celtic FC.



    “The SPFL wishes to reiterate, for the avoidance of doubt, that any banners indicating support for, or affiliation to, or celebration of, or opposition to an organisation or group proscribed in terms of the Terrorism Act 2000 or are otherwise offensive, are not welcome at SPFL grounds.”



    Celtic were fined about 42,000 euros ($A63,985) by UEFA over a similar display during their Champions League clash with AC Milan four days later, after the European governing body decided the “illicit banner”, including images of hunger striker Bobby Sands and Scottish nationalist icon William Wallace, broke their rules.



    Celtic demanded fans leave their political views at home after UEFA announced the disciplinary action.



    The supporters’ group responsible for the banners, the Green Brigade, later defended the displays and insisted they were football-related as they were designed to protest against the Scottish Government’s Offensive Behaviour at Football Act and Police Scotland’s implementation of the legislation, which it claims has criminalised expressions of Irish politics.

  13. JOE Miller was at Celtic yesterday to launch an association for former players of the Glasgow club in which he has been the driving force.



    And the 46-year-old couldn’t escape the feeling a new version of the club’s oldest rivalry could be played out come May to drive the game out of what he sees as a current “lull”.



    Miller recognises that the most “poignant” memory of him in Celtic colours for the club’s followers is scoring the winning goal in the Old Firm Scottish Cup final of 1989. The fact that the 25th anniversary of that 1-0 defeat over a treble-chasing Ibrox side arrives this year has him believing it might be written in the stars that the first derby between the Rangers created post-liquidation and his old team could come in the final of Scotland’s oldest ­trophy this season.



    The former winger knows that there are three rounds for both clubs to negotiate before that becomes a reality, not least Saturday’s fifth-round encounter that sees Celtic host Aberdeen; his major clubs owing to two stints with the Pittodrie club book-ending his six-year spell in the east end of Glasgow. But despite claiming Scottish Cup winners’ medals with both clubs and being part of the last Aberdeen team to lift a trophy on the occasion of the 1995 League Cup win, he wouldn’t discount the prospects of even the lower-league Rangers that now exists.



    “I think there is a lull in Scottish football at the moment where everybody’s talking about Rangers and things like that.



    “This is a competition that Rangers have every chance of getting to a cup final. It is a one-off, there are three steps to the cup final and every team has a chance,” Miller said.



    “Sometimes fate serves up funny things, [and with the 25 years] you wouldn’t rule it out. It could be the spur for Rangers to get there and it also could give Scottish football a boost. It could be the perfect thing, with Celtic keen for the double.



    “Rangers openly admitted it will take them a few years to recover but they have every opportunity to reach the final. They are running away with the league themselves so there is a bit of quality there so their players will be motivated to get there.”



    In 1989, Rangers were heavy odds-on to complete a clean sweep against a Celtic side that had struggled to secure third place in the top flight.



    “We were big underdogs. But though Rangers that day were going for the treble, we were still under pressure to win it. That was a huge thing. That is why I say there can be underlying motivations for teams to do well. It is difficult with the way things are, Celtic’s financial set up and their support they have, for anyone to take them on. I’ve been at the other end of things at Clyde [as assistant manager against Celtic in the Scottish Cup in 2006] when you take on a giant and beat them. But these are one-offs.”



    Miller takes a quiet pride in the fact that the 1989 Scottish Cup final means he has “a piece of Celtic history”.



    The establishment of the Celtic Former Players Association, which Miller has devoted many hours to getting off the ground, is not all about banding together only those who have done likewise in the club’s colours.



    “You can talk about the different generations and the poignant times in the club’s history: the Lisbon Lions, nine-in-row, the centenary team and the boys from Seville, they were all great. Then there are players who grew up desperate to play for Celtic and there is the guy who only pulled on the jersey once. But we have opened up the membership for that guy and that’s what makes it unique.



    “He has fulfilled a dream by pulling that jersey, even if it was only once. There are players who may have played for the reserves for a few years. We will be there for them all. We have over 100 members signed up, but it will grow, and will be run professionally,” said Miller.



    “It’s been a bit of a slog to get it off the ground but it’s going to have its rewards. The show of support we have had from the club has been encouraging and that’s what the players have been looking for.



    “We have spoken about doing something like this for years, men such as Bertie Auld and Tommy Callaghan will tell you they spoke about it when their playing days were over. We were always meeting at functions or at charity football events and continually spoke about it. Then eight months ago we were over in Dundalk and the subject came up again.



    “There is a growing trend among the top clubs in Europe of bringing former players back into the fold. Both in the running of their clubs or performing ambassadorial duties.



    “I made a decision to have a go at launching this by getting in contact with as many players as I could and it has snowballed from there. We have over 100 members without having yet reached those former players who would struggle to switch on the kettle, never mind a computer.”

  14. antipodean red on




    I was at the Kearny club back in 1982, was over with my Mum’s cousin from Brooklyn for our St Patrick’s Day dinner, first time I had tasted real corned beef, had a great night. My old Nana and Granda had great friends who lived out there for many years, the Higgins family from Port Glasgow.



    Hope you’re enjoying it, even with the cold, it’s a warm 30 here in the West of Aus at the moment.




  15. Antipodean


    The club is till going bit the numbers are small now.


    The only Higgins I know from the CSC is Ownie and he’s from Croy.


    I have family out in Kalgoorlie / Boulder but the kids, my cousins are now scattered across the world.



    An extra special treat for old and young Tims alike.


    As part of the build up to the cup tie on Saturday I offer for your delectation and delight:


    Highlights of the 1954 Scottish Cup Final.


    Featuring Johnny Bonnar, Jock Stein, Willie Fernie, Charlie Tully and starring and scoring at Centre Forward the versatile Sean Fallon.








    I’ll repost it for the day shift when I finish shoveling snow

  17. macjay1 for neil lennon



    04:33 on 5 February, 2014


    Lassie and `GG


    While you`re waiting out the storm,a bit of Scottish fitba` history to warm the cockles,if you`ll pardon the expression.







    Thanks for that macjay. It will help while away the hours tomorrow.


    I had a wee quick look at the first part and was hooked, but want to watch it in one go on my PC tomorrow.

  18. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on





    5 February, 2014



    I may have been at that game as a wee lad.




    Aitkenhead Rd.,the coach drove past with the Cup on display up front.That I do remember.

  19. Good morning from a damp, breezy, grey and half cloud covered East KIlbride. Bit chilly too.

  20. Morning Jobo



    Quite a corrosive nature to the dampness in dunblane this morning my friend.



    Would’ve been an ideal candidate for a duvet day!



    HH jamesgang

  21. Top of the morning to you all from a dark and dreary Fife.



    What does today hold for Sevco and the rest of us schadenfreuders?



    Continental style breakfast this morning of toasted brown bread with a few bits of cheese, a mature Chedar cheese, a Wensleydale & cranberry and a Blue.



    Now what is today’s topic? Politics? Nah this is a Celtic site lets talk about something appropriate; freemasonry?



    I’m just leaving I’ll get my coat………

  22. Good morning from a chaotic central London. Buses are all packed and streets are full of traffic.



    Don’t come here today if you don’t have to.

  23. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Wee marco back in yorkhill for another seven hour op on his legs today.


    Strong as an ox that kid.

  24. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Cheers fav uncle.


    Will update later. Working then funeral this afternoon.

  25. Cowiebhoy supporting the Celtic to 3 in a row on

    Best of luck to young Marco,



    CQN will be behind you wee mhan



    Hail hail

  26. hrvatski jim



    Yes, it is sad to hear that but although Wanyama did us a big turn, right from


    the beginning he made it clear that the Tic was only ever a temporary stopover to bigger wages