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State of the Club Report, year-end 2012

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My friends in Celtic, pause for a few moments and peruse your domain.  On the field of play your favourites matured into accomplished football players.  2011 ended with an acclaimed Joe Ledley header confirming what we already knew, Celtic were the best team in the land.

Despite ‘losing’ the previous three league titles Celtic held firm in the January transfer window; a difficult decision.  We needed to win the league – at any credible cost – but without jeopardising the financial stability of the club.  More than sporting form was under debate on these pages at the turn of the year, continents were shifting.

Since 2004 readers of Celtic Quick News have read the gospel of financial responsibility.  Bills need to be paid, debt cannot be allowed to rise year after year without enormous consequences.  Back then we asserted that Rangers would crash and burn.  By 2008 we predicted they were on course to go out of business.  This message was not always welcome among our own.  It was mocked by some, who demanded ever-higher spending to match the Murray Millions, but on 1 January 2012 there was scarcely a Celtic fan alive who didn’t think Rangers were going out of business.  It was only a question of when.

When the crash was confirmed, on St Valentine’s Day, Scottish football embarked on a remarkable period of soul-searching.  Rangers last owner, Craig Whyte, had a plan, which we explained in some detail in 2011.  Whyte subsequently revealed he met with SPL directors, Neil Doncaster and Ralph Topping in October 2011, told them the likelihood that Rangers would go into liquidation, and asked them to back a plan to catapult a Newco-Rangers into the SPL.

The plan was nonsense.  Whyte should have been sent away with told to pay his bills but Doncaster was oceans out of his depth.  A fait-accompli would be presented to the SPL clubs, vote to change the rules and elect a Newco into the top flight, or deal with “Armageddon”.

Football eventually did the right thing, as many, perhaps most, Rangers fans wanted all along, but hundreds of scribes attached themselves to Whyte’s Cunning Plan, which was presented as a bastion of responsibility, not the work of deception it was.  The fight-back started on these pages.  Soon it encompassed fans of every club in Scotland and the SPL clubs have no choice but to stick with the established rules.

Rangers creditors voted against a CVA and liquidators were appointed.  Pop, and they were gone!  Football fans of every colour, who has endured defeat to Rangers but still asserted that expenditure must be limited to income, enjoyed three seconds of glory as they turned to the bling-addicts beside them and said, “Told you”.

A man from Yorkshire with a group of partially-known investors nipped in ahead of various groups of Rangers fans to secure the assets of the club.  Evidence suggests he believed the club would achieve a CVA (the assertion that “the history, the tradition, everything that’s great about this club is swept aside” if they were to be liquidated confirms this), but he bid more than any group of Rangers fans for the liquidated assets so ended up with an opportunity to issue himself with 5 million shares worth 70p each a few months later.  Beautiful.

We’re on our own.

Celtic began as the solitary voice at SPL meetings speaking against Whyte’s plan.  They were not responsible for the demise of Rangers, but let the record show, when the moment of reckoning arrived, the Celtic board liquidated the Old Firm.

On the field of play we were a well-oiled machine.  Our first league title in four seasons arrived with consummate ease.  Kilmarnock showed what a well-drilled team could do in the League Cup final, with a little help from a last minute blind-spot when Anthony Stokes had his legs whipped from him in the box, but let’s be generous, you know it, I know it, we would have missed the penalty anyway.

Last minute Hampden penalty decisions would crop up again in the Scottish Cup, when the whole Deliberate Handball rule was cast asunder, but refereeing is always been an emerging art in these parts.

The new season, our first ever as the only superpower in the Scottish game, held one major challenge – qualify for the Champions League.  Four wins in four qualifying games was better than expected, so the team who were slapped by Sion, attacked by Atletico and usurped by Udinese a year earlier, were in the Champions League.

Be generous to those who dismissed our chances.  One poor guy writing the ITVFootball tweets wrote “Bye bye Celtic” on the day we were drawn against Spartak Moscow, Benfica and Barcelona.  Based on the evidence available, it was a fair call.

It is nothing short of fantastic, in the literal sense, that we qualified out of that group.  Even now, halfway through the season, Barcelona have lost only one competitive game, when Victor Wanyama, Tony Watt and their pals ripped up the form book.  It took Barca until the 93rd minute to secure a win over Celtic in the Camp Nou, or they would have three competitive draws on their record for this season, one to Real Madrid in the league, and a meaningless draw against Benfica being the only two.

I honestly thing we have overachieved in Europe this season.  Neil Lennon and his players got everything right.  The corner and free kicks from Charlie were immense.  No one in Europe does better (some supporting evidence here).  Forget the more fancied thoroughbreds, Charlie Mulgrew is our Moneyball player, a team full of them and we’ll win the Big Cup.

Victor’s leap and Tony’s finish will be replayed in our minds for years.  Despite leaving ample hints, the DVD didn’t materialise at Christmas.  Georgios has scored in all of our five European away games, a record.

Expectations will rise as a result of these achievements but we got so many things absolutely right in this Champions League campaign the odds against doing so again next season are high.  Celtic will need to start preparing for next season’s Champions League now if they are to have any chance of remaining in the tournament next Hogmanay.  If we were operating at 90% capacity we would have finished bottom with one or two points.  As for Juventus, bring them on.

These end-of-year reports are often a lot less encouraging.  2010 was far from easy reading, the distance we have travelled since 2010’s is incredible.  Celtic end 2012 as one of the most admired clubs in the European game.  We develop great players, compete against the best better than anyone else, and have a sense of purpose which will never be extinguished.

Take care and may 2013 bring you all that you hope for.

Have you ordered your CQN Annual yet? Get it here!

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  1. What is the Stars on

    Paul

     

    Thanks for the blog/forum whatever

     

    Your efforts are much appreciated

     

     

    Oh and of Course

     

    Sack The Board

  2. Toscanabhoy, you have a great one too.

     

     

    What is the Stars, you’re very welcome.

     

     

    Gordon_J, a huge year. One we will be enjoying for decades.

     

     

    Vmhan, take care.

  3. Paul67

     

     

    2013 on course to be better than 2012 if that’s possible given the death of the club that poisoned scottish football for over a century and our glorious CL campaign.

     

     

    However, what chances of glory at Wembelee for our club and administration for Newco in 2013?

     

     

    How good would that be?

  4. Gene's a Bhoys name on

    Paul67

     

    However Ragan, Doncaster and Ogilvie are still in position. The MIBs get no better in fact if anything more blatant and old Chuck and his MSM mates are still peddling the unbroken history myth.

     

    Here’s hoping to end the above in 2013.

  5. hi Paul67,

     

     

    loving that soccerbythenumbers link, just another gift you’ve given to us through your glorious site. Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year.

     

     

    tarrant

  6. Thanks for this fantastic blog Paul, the only place to go for the daily Celtic fix.

     

     

    Have a Happy Peaceful and Prosperous New Year

  7. Terrific summary Paul.

     

     

    Continued success and every good wish for 2013 to you and your family.

  8. So what’s the chances of league reconstruction before next summer? Logically it can’t happen as there needs to be notice and rules set for which clubs will go to what division – and you shouldn’t be able to change the rules mid season.

     

     

    But this is Scotland and anything is possible.

  9. Great Job Paul and keep up the good work.

     

     

    Neil has the team progressing well – we still have a way to go – a creative midfielder and a striker who can header the ball are musts, as well as some more pace. I like the way the keeping the back door shut has moved up the priority list.

     

     

    I also want to say that CQN brings together a unique set of supporters for some great causes. Kano and Wee Oscar being 2. Stephen Knox has done a brilliant job in raising awareness and Wee Oscar has done brilliantly too with the tumbs ups.

     

     

    In a perverse sort of a way having the Big Tax case reversal still to look forward to is enjoyable. Only the very brave ( stupid ) are talking about a Rangers victory on that front.

     

     

    We will all be accused of obsession and be told to “let it go” when we mention the word “Sevco” but we must never play along with the charade.

     

     

    Still in every competition we entered and a decent crop of youngsters coming through as well as a developing young team. I’ll take that from this time last year.

     

     

    Proud to be part of the family.

     

     

    Seville67.

  10. Happy New Year Paul, and to all CQN’ers especially my Facebook Friends Blantyre Tim and Kikinthenakas, Paul, thanks for the blog it is a great platform for Tims the world over to converse, to rejoice together in the good times, and console each other on the sad occasions.

     

     

    P.S. Read Jacksons piece online, imo disgraceful journalism, a total hatchet job. In a year in which a Scottish Team reached last 16 of Champions League beating Spartak Home & Away, beating Barcelona at home and coming oh so close to getting a draw away, this clown majors on a few guys who got drunk on St. Stephens Day at a night game.

  11. Great piece once again Paul.

     

     

    I hope you and your family have a happy and peaceful New Year, and thanks for all your input over the last (and previous ) years.

     

     

    A happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year to all CQNer’s, and all the Celtic family.

     

     

    HH

  12. Jeg er Neil Lennon-Greeninbingley on

    Paul,

     

     

    A fine article at the end of a fine year. A Happy New Year to you and yours and thank you for the blog.

     

     

    As a footnote – I bought annuals for 2 brothers in law, my Godson and 2 cousins.

     

     

    Never got the chance to read it myself so did not realise an article wot I wrote was included in it till cousin #2 held it up and shouted across the room “Izzat you?”.

     

     

    My family now all think I am nothing but a big posing showoff.

     

     

    The very best New Year to all Celts. Pip pip!

  13. All the best to you Paul and all CQNers in the coming year.

     

     

    Still lots to do to clean up the mess the SFA allowed to happen over a period of years.

     

     

    Still some bringing to account required as far as fans are concerned. Do the clubs feel the same?

  14. Paul67

     

     

    Succinct summary of 2012 – more power to your elbow in the coming year.

     

     

    CQN can’t be complacent – there is much malpractice within our game that still needs exposure.

     

     

    All the best to you and yours for the New Year!

  15. Some lads on here were having a go at the “Official” Celtic more or less accusing them of collusion in the Sevco/ new Club debate. I think the release on the Celtic Facebook site which I have copied & pasted might say otherwise. The word is UNBROKEN, well done Official Celtic

     

     

    .

     

     

    As we approach the dawning of the New Year and the halfway point in the season in which Celtic celebrate 125 years of unbroken history, we take a look back at the previous 12 months of action.

     

     

    There have been many highs and we look forward to celebrating a few more over the coming 12 months.

  16. Someone on here, about a week ago, mentioned that Ricardo Quaresma of Besiktas was out of contract soon and said poster made a Youtube link available. I was impressed.

     

    This morning, I was in the gym and saw a guy wearing a Quaresma top. Turns out he is a Besiktas fan and, according to him, Galtasaray and Celtic are interested. Not surprisingly, this guy rated Quresma very highly.

     

    Of course, the rumour may well have its origins in that post on CQN mentioning Ricardo`s availability!

     

     

    JJ

  17. Paul67 – an excellent, uplifting, accurate snapshot of where we are on 31.12.12. Onward and upwards.

     

     

    The official site has a similar review of the year published today. From the month of April does anyone else agree that there a significant choice of wording in the final sentence…

     

     

    “Any hope of a double was ended the following week, with a 2-1 defeat in the Scottish Cup semi-final to Hearts, but Celtic followed that up with consecutive 3-0 victories – against Motherwell at Fir Park and in the last ever derby against Rangers at Paradise.”

     

     

    “Last ever derby against Rangers” – now, I like that!

  18. Awe Naw

     

     

    I’m hoping Lord Nimmo Smith doesn’t deliver another stitch up.

     

     

    Titles stripped and our prize money repaid.

     

     

    Yet I have major doubts that justice will be properly served.

     

     

    A67

  19. Precise and happy reading, Paul.

     

     

    I’d only amplify the Lennon angle – a man not so long ago deemed as needing a mentor.

     

     

    In Neil we have a progressive, young manager who is maturing as a football coach and tactician (we’ll call Hibs a blip) and as an advocate of our club. Leadership is a team game and he appears open to feedback from others and is always keen to credit the Board and his backroom team. In him, and a few of the players we have some real assets on the books….makes things all the more healthy and augurs well.

     

     

    Happy New Year to all.

  20. When I lived in England, a small irritation was that people could not wait for the New Year to arrive before wishing one a Happy New Year. I see the trait has moved North of the border. More evidence for Zimmerman`s Morphic Resonance point.

     

     

    JJ

  21. 2013 I believe will bring us our first treble for a long time and great financial reports. Suspect one or two of the Bhoys will depart but we have means to cope with our emerging conveyor belt of home grown and scouted talent.

  22. the long wait is over on

    Paul,

     

     

    It sometimes takes a summary like yours above to remind us that we have , even yet , to rub our eyes and look again at what a startling, momentous , historic year 2012 has been for us all and then reflect on those no longer with us who would would struggle to believe what came to pass.

     

     

    All the best to all CQN’ers and Celtic fans everywhere for 2013.

  23. Jungle Jim, we send Christmas Cards well in advance wishing each other a Happy Christmas, don’t see anything wrong with wishing someone a Happy New Year on New Year’s Eve or even sooner particularly if you are not likely to meet them again before the New Year actually begins.

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