Systems more important than the manager


Getting rid of the last guy is always the easy part.  It is the day later, when your mind turns to appointing a successor, that your worries really start.  The great problem with managers is that their careers do not proceed with success or failure evident in a linear manner.

The guy sitting joint second in England with a provincial Midlands club was sacked five years ago by Liverpool, who are adrift in sixth, despite having a genuine top tier manager.  Davie Moyes reputation was fixed as one of the English game’s tired old options before he got a chance to return to West Ham and has them in a Champions League spot.

Mourinho is the classic example.  Champions League winner with two clubs but he presides over the descent of Tottenham.  Guardiola needs all the money in the world to keep Man City ahead of Leicester and still awaits a Champions League since parting with his Argentinian Midas.  I enjoy watching City but Pep’s eight years there and at Bayern failed to deliver the trophy both clubs wanted.

All you really know about a manager with an impeccable record of improving players and teams is that his form will soon decline; they all do.

Systems bring sustained success in football.  Deeply embedded, appropriately resourced and continually reviewed systems: recruitment, development and coaching systems in particular.  Get this right and even Klopp would be able to push Liverpool above sixth.

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    To my mind it’ll be all about who’s doing the asking, otherwise a crack at the CL is what he’ll do.por cierto.

  2. Slippy will be going nowhere.Would you.He will be hoping our shambles continues,and a crack at attempting to qualify for CL.Hopefully,he gets none.One thing,he would struggle to get the same love in as he gets with the Hun,especially from Sky.Plenty of airtime and praise.


    Keeping up the penalty count.4 over the 2 legs,FFS,the state of that Morelos penalty,even the second one was soft.

  3. drew1967 on 25th February 2021 10:32 pm






    Agree.was thinking the same today when i posted about wanting Martinez and Maloney.




    I am an unforgiving type. I still don’t forgive Roy Keane for Saipan – you don’t walk out on your country.

  4. If there is no cup this season,the only thing left for us,is to give them their first league defeat at Celtic Park.



    Can’t stand the thought of them going through the League unbeaten.

  5. Earlier I said our recruitment over the past while had been poor and I doubted we had made much from our buy low sell high policy. I had a look at Transfermrkt which isn’t always reliable but near enough. I took Lennon’s first season as permanent manager as a starting point for when we began the strategy and here’s what I found:





    Spent £11m


    Brought in £18.5m



    McGeady; McManus; Sheridan; Ferry; Caddis sales brought in £13.13m





    Spent £3.6m


    Brought in £1.6m





    Spent £2.7m


    Brought in £6.6m





    Spent £12.7m


    Brought in £24.5m





    Spent £2.4m


    Brought in £12.6m





    Spent £13.6m


    Brought in £17.2m





    Spent £8.5m


    Brought in £3.2m





    Spent £10.9m


    Brought in £1.4m



    Liam Henderson brought in £140k





    Spent £13.1m


    Brought in £28m





    Spent £18.2m


    Brought in £24.3m



    All Tierney





    Spent £14.2m


    Brought in £12.1m





    Spend £110.9m


    Income £150m


    Profit £39.1m



    Sales of our Yourh products (primarily Tierney and McGeady) brought in £37.5m, accounting for most of the profit.



    Player trading profit (ie the strategy) brought in a profit of around £1.6m. This goes up to £8.6m if you include the reported £7m Van Dyke sell on money.



    To put that in context – we got more from Leicester City to release Rodgers.



    And much of that profit will have been eaten up by the wages of guys who played a handful of games – Comperr was said to have earned about £3m from his time with us and Borreighter got around £1.5m. The Baldes, Banguras, Carlton Coles, Arzanis and all would have eaten up the rest of the profit and more!



    Obviously sales of Eddy, Ajer, etc as well as sell on clauses (Dembele) will see that go up, (though the rebuild will eat up a lot of that) but it’s still a really poor record and makes a mockery of the “strategy”.

  6. Turkeybhoy on 25th February 2021 11:16 pm



    If there is no cup this season,the only thing left for us,is to give them their first league defeat at Celtic Park.



    Can’t stand the thought of them going through the League unbeaten.





    Spot on mate.




  7. Last summer when it looked like slippy was heading for Bristol seemingly beale told him to hold on as Lenny was a scheidty manager and coach and he had a better chance of trophies up here.



    Peals of laughter at the thought though I didnae. slippy is just a face while his fellow tea boy at Anfield is like molly weir before him a token Hun, beale is the brains there.



    He by his own admittance was a failed player with Charlton. He went intae coaching and spent time at Stamford Bridge learning from the best before heading up tae Melwood where his success rate there with the youths was higher than slippy, he worked with fraudgers as well.



    He then surprisingly upped stakes and took off for Brazil where I have no doubt he learned among the obvious skills the samba boys have the art of cheatin and greetin, even their best are great at that.



    He has admitted to wanting to be a manager before he was 40, he turned that at the start of this season. So IMHO he will be first out the door well before slippy and his Hun mate.

  8. FRED C. DOBBS on 25TH FEBRUARY 2021 9:38 PM






    Must admit I have a thing about Sutton.




    No fan of Celtic IMO.




    Sutton is a Sutton fan.




    Hail Hail.




    Missing your posts from the ole Iron Horse on your way to Paradise. Let’s hope it’s not too long.

  9. With regard to next season, I hope whoever our next manager is concentrates on putting a highly organised defence on the pitch and makes us a very difficult team to beat.


    I would buy back Liam Henderson, and play him in midfield with Soro, Turnbull, Callum and his younger brother Euan. I hope Rogic will still be here but I think he wants to go.



    The final part of the jigsaw would be sorting out the attack. Anyone with a bad attitude I would want our manager toget rid of and work with and improve those we have who are willing to work hard on the training ground and who want to do well for the club.



    Interesting times lie ahead.

  10. Here’s an idea to get better at defending set pieces. Buy a goalie that comes off his line now and again

  11. TONTINE…


    If we give Beale his first gig as our new manager, that sets up an interesting ‘marketing’ dynamic of master v apprentice: It’d be juicy.


    Sure, he’d need to live in a 24/7, patrolled and secured compound and drive to work in an armoured van…


    Could be a good bet to rebuild us by becoming our coaching Alfie Conn ?

  12. FrankTerry on 25th February 2021 8:50 am


    Read other snippets about AI and job applicants. Depressing indeed.






    Fred C. Dobbs on 25th February 2021 9:38 pm





    Must admit I have a thing about Sutton.



    No fan of Celtic IMO.



    Sutton is a Sutton fan.



    Hail Hail”




    He might just be a Sutton first fan for sure, but he is a bigger fan of himself for being a hunskelper and Celtic player. Some of the puff in that chest comes from going through what it is like playing in the Hoops. Don’t agree with everything he says but would rather more than less of his ilk. 

  13. All this talk of a system leaves me perplexed – is no one following even Celtic’s recent history? Yes a system is important but clubs need a variety of systems if we are talking about on field systems. BR’s system hit a brick wall playing against the big boys in Europe: high pressing, a core part of his system, just didn’t work when the players were so unevenly matched. Then newco did their own high pressing and Celtic could not play the ballout from the back – the players simply did not have the skills. – another main component of his system. When NL replaced BR he identified getting the ball out from the back a lot faster i.e. goalie kicking it up to a winger but that had its own demands – goalie good at finding a target and a winger who knows what to do next. It didn’t workout because of failure in those areas, the fact that we didn’t have real wingers after JF was injured tells it all. So it’s a lot more complicated than saying we need a system if we’re talking about performance on field. Off field Celtic is another firm like any other in a very competitive business to say we need a system is a truism. Why we haven’t had one for ages is a mystery to some, others simply see Celtic as having been taken over by a self serving coterie. I know where I stand.

  14. Good morning cqn from a calm and mild Garngad.



    Rafa Benitez is the only show in town for me.



    Go get him Celtic.



    In the meantime let’s see how the team of overpayed premadonnas play without Neil there.



    Bring on the Dandy Don’s






    D :)

  15. Don’t understand the animosity towards Sutton. He says it how he sees it (might not be how others see it) and slates us when he thinks it’s merited on the field but bigs us up when we do well.



    Most importantly, he always bigs us up as a club regardless of what the team is doing – his comments that we are bigger than Leicester reserves after Rodgers left was brilliant.



    He also defends and even talks up the Scottish game while surrounded by English-based ignoramuses.



    Compare that with some of the bitterness from other ex-Celtic players who seem to bash us at any opportunity.



    We don’t have many friends in the media but Chris Sutton is most definitely an ally and what I’d give to have a player of his ilk at our club again.



    Like or loathe him. this guy nails it.



    Why would any Celtic fan loathe Phil Mac Giolla Bháin

  17. Has Kennedy been in the tactics room since Lenny left?



    Or is he not big on tactics either?



    No more cheap options.

  18. 31003, a goalie who comes off his line now and again is worse than one who always stays on his line. At least the defenders know what the keeper is doing.



    In fairness, I’m going to interpret your view as meaning “when the ball is so obviously in favour of the keeper being able to get it”.



    I don’t think the Ross County goal was one of them. But plenty of others in the season certainly were.


    LOOKING at Saturdays list of fixtures all leagues from DIV1 down are suspended. So all teams must be really struggling. Question is why is no one screaming about HUNS getting away with partying .Some of these clubs will not be there next season yet we have not heard a word of complaint from them.



    Conspiracy csc.

  20. From Sentinel Celts


    Great article



    Costing Failure


    mahe 26 Feb 2021 1





    Today is exactly two years since our best manager since Martin O’Neill,and probably our best since Jock Stein,walked out on our club. If a week is a long time in politics,then two years is an age in football. Brendan Rodgers arrived at the club less than three years earlier,and left having won all seven domestic trophies available and well on the way to an incredible Treble Treble.



    All of us were,of course,furious at his timing. Walking out halfway through the season was and still is unforgiveable,but a great many of us knew the reason why he would agree to do so. In fact,it was the same reason why MAHE and I had decided to set this site up less than six months previously-and that was the interference by Peter Lawwell,which amounted to Lawwell preventing Rodgers from doing his job. His job was to get the players requested by Rodgers-as long as they were within the budget-but he either signed who he liked and foisted them unbidden onto Rodgers,or simply didn’t bother completing requested deals,preferring instead to lowball the selling club and incoming player to the point where refusal by either or both was the inevitable outcome.



    And he had a bad habit too of getting involved in pissing competitions with certain selling chairmen,people who would harbour that grudge in the future. And Lawwell is not the type to be held over a barrel. He’ll show everyone who’s boss,asking prices will not be met,no sirree.



    The reason I bring this up now is the recent suggestion by Neil Lennon of mitigating circumstances behind the scenes which have led-in part at least-to this season’s horror story. His departure from the club,hard on the heels of the announcement that Lawwell would be leaving in the summer,has seen some clarifications offered in the media about the aborted transfer of Ivan Toney from Peterborough,who eventually went to Brentford.



    We were told at the time that the deal fell through because Peterborough wanted £10m,and Celtic did not value him at that price. Which is fair enough-Brentford apparently paid £5m,with add-ons bringing it to a potential £10m. I’d suggest that with 24 goals already this season,and Brentford well placed for promotion,a fair amount of those add-ons will soon be realised. And he is already being spoken of as a £30m target for other clubs. Does PL have history here,history which might explain why a £6m deal for the player-who was actually at the ground to complete a deal with us!-fell through,and is it an example of a pissing competition with a chairman from the past?



    I reckon so. Who can remember Lee Tomlin? Celtic had apparently agreed a £2.5m deal for him six or seven years ago,only to try to chisel down the offer to the club and player at the last minute. The deal didn’t happen,and Peterborough chairman Darragh McAnthony was scathing about the process,and Lawwell in particular. He had the upper hand this time,and made it plain,but Lawwell isn’t the type to accept that. So we signed Ajeti instead,the comments about needing to sell Eddie first being just a pack of lies.



    What about Lawwell’s dealings with Petrie at Hibs? He refused to meet the asking price for Fletcher in 2009,having overpaid,in his opinion,for Scott Brown. So when the deal for John McGinn was set up thirty months ago,everything in place with just the final input required from PL,back came the grudges. Lawwell refused to pay the asking price,and let it be known that we would sign him for free on a pre-contract in January. Aston Villa agreed to meet the asking price and Lawwell ignominiously folded,but quite rightly McGinn had had enough and was off to Brum.



    It isn’t always like this,of course. Lawwell doesn’t have grudges against everyone. After all,a phone call from Dudu Dahan,and a deal is done virtually on the spot! I struggle to think of any real successes from that avenue of communication,right enough,and I wonder how many times we have lost out on players in the past because of Lawwell’s brinkmanship. Those two players alone are a combined current value of £80m. Would they have enhanced too our chances of progress in Europe,bringing further millions into the club,and with them the ability to sign more and better players? We will never know,because The Lawwell Strategy put paid to any of that.



    Just like two years ago-and I’ll put a link to my article then on the subject-when he got rid of a top manager and backroom team,he has to be seen to be calling the shots. And replacing a £5m a year management team with Neil Lennon on about a tenth of that was good business,wasn’t it? It saved us about £9m over two years-didn’t it?



    Well,let me put it this way. Trying to save about a million quid on the two deals mentioned above has cost us about £80m. And saving that £9m on management costs? That’s probably cost us another £80m,and left us with a massive rebuild cost to boot.



    I’ve said before that history will not be kind to Lawwell,even as he was being lauded to the skies elsewhere. But this particular history has already been written,it is only the cost of leaving this man in charge for so long that has yet to be finalised. Celtic will be paying that for a long time to come.

  21. Lambert 14



    Interesting article. But it works both ways. I sometimes refer on here to a game from ten years back, though not to show Neil Lennon in a good light. Celtic versus St Johnstone 21 August 2011, Neilly’s second full season in charge of the Bhoys. I’ve listed the players available to the manager brought in by Peter Lawwell.


    Starting eleven;






    Mulgrew (return)














    Maloney (return)








    Wilson (Mark)






    And er


    Murphy and Cha Du Ri


    plus James Forrest, one of our own


    Point being a lot of good players available to Neil Lennon.

  22. So Dinamo Zagreb, Slavia Prague, Olympiacos, Ajax, Molde, Sevco, Young Boys and Dynamo Kiev are all in last 16 if the Europa League.



    Yet for years we have been told Europe is a pipedream.



    The expectation management by the club (and this blog) and the vigour with which some posters have picked up and ran with this line is sickening.



    As long as TIAR was in the frame, Pedro could get away with the anemic European results, inconsistent/cheap transfer policy and silence on issues of governance/cheating in Scottish football.



    Now the chance of TIAR is gone Pedro is exiting stage left leaving a car crash behind. Great Celtic man and CEO.



    “Systems bring sustained success in football.  Deeply embedded, appropriately resourced and continually reviewed systems: recruitment, development and coaching systems in particular.  Get this right and even Klopp would be able to push Liverpool above sixth.”



    Paul, you make this statement as if in some sort of vacuum. Have we got any of this right in the last 10 years, all under Pedro’s stewardship?



    No, we haven’t but the inverse has occurred. The systems weren’t in place but we managed to get a top manager in Brendan and did very well out of it.



    Once he left and we got a mediocre manager in Neil, the lack of system and poor manager led to the wheels falling off. Dave King’s words proved prophetic.



    It’s all quite sickening.

  23. the sentinel celts article is good but exaggerates the potential money lost – nobody would pay a scottish club 50m for any player ,or even 30m ,even if his name was Rab Messi.

  24. Note that Dave KIng only repeated what Fergus said about the Huns where spending other peoples money.