Teams with stars fail but reasons remain off the record


Fraser Forster watched Joe Hart cost England a goal for the second game in four at the Euros last night and must wonder what he needs to do to become first choice. Playing better than his rival clearly isn’t enough.

Hart is a good goalkeeper, he does well for long periods of every season and makes fantastic saves, but he goes through error-prone periods.  There’s a reason the world’s top clubs are linked with Manchester United’s goalkeeper but no one is linked with City’s.  By contrast, Fraser is also a good keeper, who makes fantastic saves, without the errors.

More goes on in football than you will ever read about. The money involved in commercial deals, for a start. You don’t just get a flat fee when you sign up, there’s significant bonuses if you appear at international tournaments.

One former international manager told me a highly-decorated player failed to declare an injury (apart from to his team-mates) until after he played 45 minutes of a tournament. His team lost their opening game, while his sponsor was contracted to pay an appearance bonus which ran to many tens of thousands.

Players look after each other in this respect. If your pal is in line to earn, what for most of us would be a life changing amount of money if he keeps his place, would you make it clear to the manager you want him in the team? This happens – take my word for it.

Football team dynamics often afford a clique of senior players significant influence. They don’t need to be so brazen as to tell the manager who to pick, but they can be just as explicit in letting it be known who they ‘have faith in’. Each other, usually.

The shampoo man should have been dropped after the Wales game but I am sure his pals would have made it clear how much confidence they have when he’s in goal. The manager is then a hostage to fortune, drop a floundering keeper and give players cause to cite a confidence blow, or try to keep everyone happy and hope the hopeless handler doesn’t have a howler.

I could write screeds on why teams full of stars often fail, but I’d need to redact all the evidence as the best stories in football are all off the record.



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  1. Looking forward to seeing Moussa Dembele in the flesh, if indeed he does sign.



    Heard a lot of good things about him.




  2. Full name Moussa Dembélé


    Date of birth 12 July 1996 (age 19)[1]


    Place of birth Pontoise, France


    Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]


    Playing position Forward


    Club information


    Current team




    Number 25


    Youth career


    2002–2004 US Cergy Clos


    2004–2012 Paris Saint-Germain


    2012–2013 Fulham


    Senior career*


    Years Team Apps† (Gls)†


    2013– Fulham 56 (15)


    National team‡


    2011–2012 France U16 14 (4)


    2013 France U17 3 (0)


    2013–2014 France U18 3 (1)


    2014–2015 France U19 10 (5)


    2015– France U20 3 (0)

  3. It was bad enough thinking big Frazer couldn’t get a game because he had made his name with us but because Hart has a dandruff contract to fulfil . Seriously!





    Loyalty works both ways,but eventually it comes down to self-interest



    A smashing fella having a hard time? Arm around the shoulder,explain why he needs a break,regain confidence etc,keep your job.



    Ignore what’s staring you in the face? Cos yer joooost too nice a guy to tell another nice guy the above?



    Lose yours.



    Aye,management is only simple when you deal with what you see. It becomes very difficult when you are stupid enough to see what you want to see.

  5. OG, Thank you so much for that link.



    Just hope as many CQN’ers as possible appreciate & pray for Sean.



    Spent 10 years in prison from the age of 18 spent 5 of those years on the blanket under horrendous conditions.



    Survived to live a fulfilling and talented life.



    A Celtic Supporter graced these pages with dignity, kindness & humour, suffering from terminal cancer but never said a word, died at the young age of 56.



    God Bless You Sean, I am proud & humbled to have shared these pages with You.

  6. 56 way too young…



    Rest In Peace Sean, your contribution too this Celtic Place will never be forgotten and your contribution to your people is written in history…

  7. Paul 67



    On the opening piece. I always remember Brian Clough saying that it was the clique of top English players, Wright etc. that kept him out of the England team. He heard them telling their mates they were in the team before a match. Mind you, you never quite knew what to believe from Brian!

  8. Delaneys Dunky on

    RIP Sean. Was a pleasure to know you my friend. God bless Paula and the family.

  9. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “Fraser Forster watched Joe Hart cost England a goal for the second game in four at the Euros last night and must wonder what he needs to do to become first choice. Playing better than his rival clearly isn’t enough.”




    No way is an England manager going to play a keeper who came from a diddy league (EMSM view, not mine!).


    Maybe if he moves again to a bigger English club this will be less of an issue.

  10. CATMAN on 23RD JUNE 2016 12:54 PM


    First post of the BR era so here goes.



    Shane Duffy from Blackburn and Moussa Dembele from Fulham are both on the radar








    First one of the season almost in the bag. Hopefully a few more to come




  11. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    So Stefan Scepovic’s has signed a four-year deal with Getafe, with the fee reported as 1.2million € (£1million) and if 19 yo Moussa Dembele signs it would likely cost a £500,000 development fee.



    Sounds like a decent deal to me

  12. I’m led to believe that there was a lot of talk in the England dressing room before the Iceland game and there were a few that were unhappy about the referendum result so a few players chipped in to say that if they want us out of Europe we’ll let Iceland win,then we would be out of Europe on two fronts, mind you I could have dreamed it up.

  13. Catman


    Your already excellent reliability continues . Keep it up. Is Shane Duffy a big, solid kind of central defender? If so, I hope you are on the money with that one ,too . Well, I say `too` but I think I will wait until I see Moussa in a Celtic shirt before celebrating what seems like a very good signing.




  14. Saint Stivs says SACK THE BOARD on

    mac an bheatha



    god bless the brave.



    many a late night education on here for me, usually a friday night , after the quiz, and during the tunes. the sotries you shared and the things you went through.



    10 years in the H block and prisons.



    you will be sadly missed.

  15. Saint Stivs says SACK THE BOARD on




    lets know when Pete is on the move …………








    thats for my fans.

  16. timaloy29 sleeps on the heated driveway on

    Dembele in and Scepovic out. That’s great business.



    A striker needed to be a priority and I’m DELIGHTED we’ve got it out the way. Now it’s time to get rid of another 5 or 6 players prior to some reinforcements.

  17. Hot Smoked



    Shane Duffy is in the brick shithouse mould. 6ft 4in having played 40 games last season in the Championship




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