State of the Club report, December 2017

937

One year ago, we dared hope for an invincible treble but it seemed impossible, even the greats never achieved it. The Lions lost home and away to Dundee United in season 1966-67, while we achieved the treble on only two other occasions. When Tom Rogic dinked a 90th minute winner in the Scottish Cup final you and I knew the level of achievement.

At that point, 2017 went down in our history as a year bettered only by 1967. 2003 came close, but season 2002-03 is remembered fondly for its endearing frailties. Celtic were simply peerless as they secured the club’s fourth treble.

With half of season 2017-18 complete, the first leg of what would be an unprecedented second successive treble is complete, but signs are clear that this team peaked some months ago, despite qualification for the Europa League knockout rounds.

Aware of the exceptional (from a Scottish perspective) demands on his players of completing in every round of cup competitions, a dozen European games and international football, Brendan Rodgers has rotated his squad this season more than any previous Celtic manager. While this was doubtlessly the correct action, performances inevitably took a hit when our two exceptional and experience strikers were watching from the side-lines. In football, you often need to take a backwards step to make long-term gains.

This didn’t really bothered me. I liked watching Odsonne Edouard, Anthony Ralston and Calvin Miller. Being able to win the league while developing talent in this manner is one of the few benefits of being stuck in a small league.

Ultimately, even our top performers struggled to raise their game. Defeat eventually arrived, a timely signpost for the club as they plan ahead.

You and I have studied the structure of the club for many years. We have never known it to be as stable. Income last season topped £90m, the first time it reached this level, and with a fair wind, it could reach nine figures this season.

These riches come with fresh risks. Wage levels have rocketed in line with performances. We can afford our current operating levels – and can even afford an occasional reversal in the Champions League qualifiers, but there is a misalignment at the heart of what we are doing.

In his opening transfer window, Brendan added Moussa Dembele (who was already on the Ronny Deila target list) and Scott Sinclair. Both made a phenomenal contribution to the success which followed. This season, with Scott struggling to recapture his earlier form and Moussa hampered by injury, the big contributions have come from players who were at the club under the Ronny regime. Indeed, of the Celtic team which ended the year, only Olivier Ntcham was a Brendan Rodgers signing.

What we have added since the summer of 2016 is management expertise. Brendan took Ronny’s squad to levels none of us thought possible, but only two of his signings are automatic first-choice.

This is not necessarily against plan. When you sign French youth internationals like Ntcham and Edouard you do not expect them to immediately displace more experienced players. Players do not mature at the same rate – Kieran Tierney got their earlier than Kenny Dalglish, so if the plan is to recruit the best French and Scottish youth talent, patience will be required.

Notwithstanding this, Brendan will want to have more of his own signings grabbing starting slots in the big games. The players who were there under Ronny have made Herculean progress, but that invincible treble was their high point.

On that front, Lee Congerton joined in March as chief scout, a few months after the phenomenally successful John Park era ended. Scouting is as much about relationships as judgement and the environment is not conducive to friendship-making. Park’s job became increasingly difficult, despite his encyclopaedic knowledge of players sound judgement. Over his tenure, the Celtic proposition became comparatively less attractive.

The mere fact that Brendan Rodgers is manager changed this. Moussa didn’t sign for Ronny in January 2016 but put pen to paper for Brendan six months later. It is the job of Lee Congerton to make the most of the Celtic proposition, Brendan Rodgers and Champions League football to deliver players that can push us further in the Champions League.

Nothing of significance has changed in our chances of escaping our playing environment. We will remain in Scotland until at least the bubble inflating football incomes elsewhere bursts, most significantly of all in England. Within months the next England and Wales Premier League TV rights auction will conclude.

Premier League audiences have dwindled since the last rights were issued but Sky TV’s entire existence is predicated on winning a significant portion of these rights. The Premier League is trying to attract bids from Amazon and Facebook, so it is possible rights values could increase despite falling audience figures. But we can hope.

Until then, our role in the world is to dominate the life out of our domestic rivals, qualify for the Champions League and continue to add to the unique story of Celtic.

I loved every minute of being a Celtic supporter in 2017.  It was thrilling, captivating and inspiring.  Whatever it brings, your club will be an exciting place over the next 12 months. Enjoy it.

Take care and thank you for all your support.  I hope you each have a Happy New Year and healthy 2018.

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Paul John Dykes and Kevin Graham are joined by Celtic authors, Stephen Sullivan and Stevie Murray for a special festive episode – Christmas Jumpers for Goal-Posts.

Stephen Sullivan is a former Celtic View reporter who wrote the much-lauded Sean Fallon biography, ‘Iron Man’. He is now the editor of FIFA.com.

Stevie Murray has now written two books on Celtic – ‘Ten Men Won The League’ and ‘Kenny of the Celtic’ – and he is a respected and authoritative voice on the club.

Treat yourself to a signed copy of Jim Craig – Right Back to 67 and you will receive a copy of That Season on Paradise signed by Bertie Auld, just order the Jim Craig book at CQNbookstore.co.uk and we’ll do the rest…

CQNWonderfulOffer5

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  1. Sid, What I said was there was no way that Celtic could have killed off R*ngers permanently.

     

     

    Some guys are repeating the mantra that Celtic conspired to save the Hun in order to preserve the Bigot buck,

     

     

    I am saying that whatever Celtic said or did, there would still be an entity plying their trade from Ibrox that would call itself R*ngers it would be supported by the same fans and the same ideology and because of it’s fan base I believe and have always believed that it will inevitably rise to become our main challenger for supremacy in Scotland.

     

     

    With the present squad in charge at the Bigotdome, I’m reasonably confident that we are well positioned to dominate Scotland for another few years and to secure the 10 in a row.

     

     

    However I have little doubt that just like our unbeaten run eventually ended so will our run of winning Titles.

     

     

     

     

    If & when it happens Life will go on, we will all still laugh & cry at what life throws at us & eventually every bloody one of us who post here will die ourselves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    So why all the angst. These are good times, as Celtic Supporters we should enjoy them.

  2. Gerryfaethebrig on

    P67

     

     

    Hope you and the family (& the Mods) have a great 2018

     

     

    Cheers for the forum to post about the Hoops

  3. @CelticFCAcademy

     

     

    In the 25 domestic games to date there have been 81 first team appearances by Academy graduates. An average of 3.24 Academy appearances for the best team in the country per match.

  4. Paul67

     

     

    dominate the life out of our domestic rivals, qualify for the Champions League and continue to add to the unique story of Celtic.

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

    Happy new year CSC

  5. Happy New Year Paul and something on TV rights from Sports Intelligence if you have not read it.

     

     

    http://www.sportcal.com/Insight/Features/113521

     

     

    Our best hope is that subscribers stop paying to watch clubs they do not support or want to watch and are given the choice to start paying only in support of their own clubs. That would return us to the days when the size of a club was reflected by the size of their support, not what league the are lucky enough to play in.

  6. Aagh ! One of my pet hates to which I thought Englandshire had exclusive rights.What is said pet hate?

     

    People wishing others a Happy New year BEFORE the New year has arrived.

     

     

    So, unless you are in the Antipodes, STOP IT RIGHT NOW! :-))

     

     

    JJ

  7. Bada

     

     

    If you saw Leicester’s goal against Liverpool yesterday it was an example of how a high press forces even multi-million pound players into making mistakes under pressure.

  8. My post was a copy & paste from last blog, so hadn’t read the editorial.

     

    May I add my gratitude to Paul67 for providing us with this Forum & also wish both Paul & all fellow Posters a Very Happy New Year.

  9. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Hot Smoked 3.17pm

     

     

    Surely you can wish somebody a “happy new year” before the year begins ?

     

     

    I hope all Cqners and families have a great 2018 (even though 2017 hasn’t yet ended :-)

  10. Hi Bhoys/Paul 67

     

     

    “Until then, our role in the world is to dominate the life out of our domestic rivals, qualify for the Champions League and continue to add to the unique story of Celtic.”

     

     

    That’s pretty much all I’ve asked for. By dominate I mean win the league.

     

     

    KEEP THE FAITH

  11. Please, referees, they have to protect players. We were lucky against Tottenham and against Newcastle. Today we were not lucky.

     

     

    “Referees have to protect. We know how strong physically it is England but teams miss big players, not just Manchester City. The replay speaks for itself. We have to protect players.”

     

    From Pep.

     

    It’s the same here in Scotland. It’s so hard to become a professional footballer. Refs should try their best to protect.

     

    Hail Hail

  12. Auldheid

     

    TV revenues – is that not the case in Spain where Barcelona and Real get the lions share of revenue

  13. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    Following on from yesterday’s game, I think it would be difficult to refute that there has been a large drop off in quality in the first 6 months of this season compared to our exploits from last year.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I think this can be attributed to a few points:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our 3 exceptional attacking players last year: Dembele, Roberts and Sinclair have been either injured, unfit or off form and have not been able to contribute meaningfully this term (notwithstanding Sinclair’s sporadically good performances) and, in lieu of the abovementioned trio’s input, the rest of the squad (at least from an attacking perspective) have been unable to raise their performance to fill that vacuum; and

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    There has been a plateauing in the progression of various players under Rodgers, with improvements made from man management only being able to take them so far. However, it is remarkable to consider how far some players have come under Rodgers when one compares their performances and the results achieved under Deila.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    On the eve of Rodgers 4th transfer window at the club, it now seems imperative for him to be able to go out and build a team consisting of his own signings. For comparison sake, at this stage in Strachan’s tenure 7 of the starting 11 were his own signings (as of game v Oldco on 17 December 2006); under Lennon 6 of the starting 11 (as of game v Oldco on 28 December 2011), yesterday it was 2 from 11 and by the end of the game, only Ntcham.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It’s time to flex our financial muscles and support the best manager we have had since MON.

  14. 2017 has been a great Celtic year and very fitting that it was the 50th anniversary of us winning the European Cup.

     

    My personal highlight was being in the Estadio Nacional on the 25th May to commemorate that great achievement.

     

    Hope 2018 is good for you all.

  15. Gerryfaethebrig on

    Hot Smoked 3.35pm

     

     

    Cheers I will cherish that till the 18th July :-) much appreciated

     

     

    Doc 3.35pm

     

     

    I love our Leigh, as you say quote of 2017…. lurking Huns hope you also have a nice 2018 … but

     

     

    “Yir teams deid, beat it”

  16. Didnae expect a new post on a Sunday although it is hogmanay, incidentally 31 below here, so glad I went tae the vigil last night.

     

     

    HRVATSKI JIM on 31ST DECEMBER 2017 11:21 AM

     

     

    Corkcelt Excellent post

     

     

    *Fully concur with everything the mhan fae Tom Barry county says.

     

     

    Noticed City’s winning run came tae an end, Pep was out coached by a wily oul fox similar tae the dikeplugger that was instrumental in putting them in the grubber with his throwing OPM about like a man with no erms was against the oul Doctor. The same oul fox that some on Celtic boards derided when we were allegedly looking at as manager.

     

     

    If Andros Twonsend hudnae missed a tex ritter and edison’s penalty save (wisnae a penalty IMHO, no a dive either just two players bumping intae each other), similar tae Jim Cruickshank against big Tam in stopping it with his feet, only difference in Tam’s is he hit at that hard that the rebound almost landed at the halfway line then bluemoon quick news would have been in meltdown.

     

     

    Also noticed Pep complaining about agricultural tackles, especially against the best midfielder in the country, so its no just us that get it rough.

     

     

    It has been mentioned that Broonie is playing further back tae protect our young Viking, wait until Starvin Marvin is in place tae look after our best centre half prospect since Billy and we’ll see Scott moving forward tae help the midfield. IMHO Jozo and the other Viking are for the Joe the Toff, the former is a sick note.

     

     

    QSG also lost tae a minor team this season, it does happen so we just have tae get over it. Roll on the Maryhill Magyars 3 weeks on Tuesday as we pull further ahead.

  17. Pingback: State of the Club report, December 2017 | Celtic News Extra

  18. I like the post & sentiment expressed by the Bhoy with the funny moniker @ 3.38.

     

    The Moniker itself however is a nightmare, it’s like one of these riddles that you are asked to repeat.

     

    How are we expected to remember it, when replying, if we have a few pints on board.

     

    Apart from that points made are astute & valid.

  19. Watched the Man City game and the tackle that put De Bruyne on a stretcher was premeditated and in danger of causing serious injury.

     

    Because Puncheon received a yellow card for the offense no further action can be taken.

     

    This part of the game needs looked at in my opinion of course.

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