The 1980s were his


The 1980s were his.  He arrived in Spain for the 1982 World Cup with his reputation as the game’s hottest talent already established.  Argentina’s tournament ended after three defeats and two wins, a disappointing return for reigning champions, Diego Maradona was a let down for many, but on the ball, he was different to every other player at the tournament.  Diego was a talent.

This before the era of mass television coverage of leagues around the world.  Whereas now, we evaluate the game’s greats based on their domestic and Champions League performances, then, assessments were made at World Cups.

Diego spent two years with Barcelona after that tournament, where he endured brutality never seen since, consequentially, he could do nothing to put Barca at the top of the league.  His longest stay at any club, seven years, was at Napoli, where he led them to their only two Serie A titles, only double and only European trophy.

He will forever be the King of Naples; a hero who lifted a poor city above their prosperous rivals, but it was there he interacted with organised crime and drugs, the latter had a profound impact on the rest of his life.

As kids say, “Messi is the GOAT”, his stats are difficult to doubt, but what Maradona did at the 1986 World Cup has never been matched.  He inspired a team and a nation to the trophy, scoring what is regarded as the greatest goal of all time in the quarter final, a goal almost as good in the semi and an assist for the winner in the final.  We loved him, almost everyone did.

At the 1990 World Cup in Italy, he called on his Naples public to support him in the semi-final against their mostly northern-Italian counterparts.  The Neapolitans supported Italy, much to his annoyance, but the hosts were eliminated on penalties.  Diego, carrying an injury, with several years of living the lowlife/highlife, was in another World Cup Final.

There the fairy-tale ends.  The final was a turgid affair, settled by a late West German penalty.  Worse was to come at USA ‘94, when he was sent home after two games for failing a doping test.  Excuses flowed, for the first time I was disappointed in our hero.  It was an accident caused by his trainer, then it wasn’t an accident, Fifa granted him an exception to take the drug, which they reneged on.  It did not matter to the world that he put his hand up in 1986, but he should done the same in 1994 and accepted responsibility, instead of blaming those less powerful than him.

He did not spread the gospel of the game to new countries, like Pele, nor did his impact on the sport match Cruyff’s, but there was simply no greater entertainer in the world than Diego Maradona.

Best news of the week: “Jullien and Elhamed are in contention to start”, says Neil Lennon.  These are the games we should use to get players fit, let’s hope we see Chris back where he belongs tonight.  I would give Elhamed a run out too, Frimpong is overdue some R&R.

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  1. Not sure I have legs to keep chasing podiums, not the young man I once was!



    Happy game day from Louisville where many will be celebrating a holiday that I do not. 




  2. SAINT STIVS on 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 12:02 PM


    kettled for wearing of the green.














    PictureThis Scotland




















    Dominique Rocheteau of St Etienne meets Glasgow’s finest before the European Cup final v Bayern Munich. (1976)







  3. Celtic Football Club would like to welcome Gary Holt as our new Assistant Manager, all we need to do is find a manager he has never met before, and announce them as the new ‘Dream Team’ to take the Club forward.




    Well done on another podium.


    Be careful over there, Trumpet will execute ye for stealing


    his limelight 8-))


    H.H. Mick

  5. Maradona was the King of tbe golden age of football for me. May he R.I.P.






    That is a very interesting anaysis.



    It takes up back to where we were with Lenny in the 2013-14 season. The Club made a decision to use a 4-2-3-1 and variants there of, throughout the teams… youth to first team, the fitness and dietry regime would change – all in all a more sports science approach.



    Lenny didn’t have the experience for this so a specialist coach in the guise of Ronny Delia was brought in to implement this.



    Of course this along with the sales of his best players were too much for Lenny and he left.



    Now, the point being…



    Someone (maybe J Parks), or maybe several folk realised six or seven years ago we had to get this done, they got buy in from the Board to do it.



    Now, you may have noticed that our Board are not overly generous as far as player philantropy goes.



    It always struck me that as well as the obvious footballing benefits from this approach that their was financial benefits to be had.



    Players coached and proficent working, studying, training and playing in such a set up would fit seamlessly into the top team set ups. They all used this approach.



    Now, the players would be aware of what gives them value, their experience; European, domestic, international… their stats, their fitness, their knowledge, their professionalism all adds to the top footballers worth.



    Celtic players will be aware of this, they will want to play and train in such systems and structures. Eddy for instance was trained at a top academy… the boy will be programmed to what it takes to be top of his profession, ability alone is no where near good enough to make you a top player.



    This could be one of a number of factors that are playing on the minds of the players’. It is such a huge part of the game now.



    The thing is though, if the defiences in Lenny’s laissez faire approach were noted in 2013-14 then why is it a major problem today?



    Looking forward to the game this evening, really don’t care if we win, lose or draw… a Celtic performance will suffice.



    Hail Hail

  6. Melbourne Mick on 26th November 2020 12:27 pm



    I make that a quad so it has a nice ring to it!



    I think he is going to build a wall around my laptop to stop me speaking out.




  7. As far as I can work out , from the end of the last thread, when we win it is due to the players we have being better than the other team’s players, despite not knowing where they should be (it is a wonder that the 11 manage to find their way on to the same pitch).



    Yet , when we lose or draw, it is because we have no shape or tactics.



    It is a perfectly enclosed theory which provides a consistent explanation for every outcome. In fact, the explanation is, in fact, determined by the outcome.



    The formula is :-



    When we lose or draw- utilise explanation B



    When we win use explanation A.




    As an enclosed theory it has no predictive usage at all. You cannot determine, until the result is in, which to use. We could be 2:1 down with 5 minutes to go and explanation A is primed for the presses but we score 2 late goals and we have to reverse our thinking and conclude that we had superior players all along or, we discovered, by accident I assume, some semblance of shape in the last 5 minutes. We cannot let the facts get in the way of a useful theory.



    If it is to have predictive use as a theory, we should be able to determine tonight’s score.



    When we played a weakened Sparta at home , we lost 4:1.



    We cannot expect that our team and coach has suddenly discovered the secrets of team shape in the intervening period between the matches and we certainly won’t have better players available whereas they might. We are also away from home this time. So, surely, using deductive logic, this theory must be indicating that we are due to lose by a much bigger score than 4:1 in this away fixture.



    Or does it not work like that?

  8. Ps.



    Peter Lawwell always tips me off when his latest article is going up!



    When I told him about the Diego loss yesterday he said it was “OK” and “not to worry” as we would have Boli-Bolingoli back in January. I think he was a touch confused.




  9. ernie lynch on 25th November 2020 10:55 pm



    SCULLYBHOY on 25TH NOVEMBER 2020 10:44 PM






    Good luck with your complaint.



    Do us a favour though. Please don’t identify yourself as a Celtic fan when you do it.




    I admit people can interpret things differently although I notice that the Sun rag has run a similarly worded headline.



    Sorry Ernie – I run all future posts past you first.



    HH (Is it OK if I use HH Ernie?)

  10. SCULLYBHOY on 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 12:37 PM




    Apology accepted.



    I think Lineker, by and large, is one of the good guys. I don’t think for a moment there was anything snide or malicious about his choice of words.

  11. Diego Maradona almost certainly could have played in the 1978 World Cup finals, but with the Generals on board Argentina probably didn’t need him to beat the likes of Peru. Then again Cruyff didn’t go, for fear of his life, a place where some of the people felt the same way all of the time. That could have been said about Chile around the same time but the SFA team managed to send a team to play in the National Stadium in Santiago, home of the torturers and murderers of the Pinochet regime, 1977 to be precise. Eternal shame will never cover it. 1982 was a disappointment for him, but not as much for one of the best teams ever to play in a World Cup, the Brazil of Socrates. Mexico 1986 lives on in the mind for all bona fide football fans, not just for Maradona’s footballing brilliance but for his use of religious imagery and language in describing his first goal against England. That too will never be forgotten. Not even in the Indian State of Kerala, where two days of mourning has been announced. A footballing Saint if ever there was one.

  12. Most of us are children of Celtic in Europe in some way or another, it meant an early finish from school, after dreaming the whole day about how you were getting to Paradise. Workers just downed tools, it meant lines of car headlights on London Rd from Springfield Rd to Causeyside St. A Wednesday night with Celtic was a lucrative business in those Celtic days and from every street in Glasgow they’d proudly make their way, even it was just to watch your motor Mister?



    Celtic in Europe is literally different, sometimes more European than we are Scottish, it could feel like we were playing football with our brothers and the cousins, you only saw once a year. Those floodlights in the dark as pitch, the ole stadium always looked better when you could only see it’s outlined silhouette. You could stand at the front of the Celtic end for a worms eye view with your head sticking through the rails on the running track, that was if the club conveyor had gotten the family tickets, no boys gate and getting a lift over the turnstiles for a Euro night, wasn’t as easy.



    There was a unique mystique waiting on the teams to emerge especially if you were in the Jungle the deafening Celtic…Celtic Celtic……was enough for some visitors. By the mid seventies we’d seen off the best, and we ‘d gone out to those luminaries Sachsenring Zwickau? though we had Dalglish, Lennox, McGrain, and Hood. We’d started to see Europeans come to play for Celtic, having discovered (and conquered) Europe in the sixties, not only did we win the big cup where we made the first journey to Prague, to hold Dukla against the odds, in a game defined by Tommy Gemmell holding Jinky aloft as a precursor for Billy holding up the big cup.



    Even 50 years after the event, getting to Europe brings the best out in the Celtic supporter though these trips presently impossible, just like being booked up for the Amsterdam final, only for Dixie Deans to put the ball over the bar, a tough pill to swallow.



    The joys of the European Celtic Glasgow CSC

  13. ernie lynch on 26th November 2020 12:57 pm



    SCULLYBHOY on 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 12:37 PM



    Apology accepted.



    I think Lineker, by and large, is one of the good guys. I don’t think for a moment there was anything snide or malicious about his choice of words.





    No problem lad.

  14. Pingback: The 1980s were his Paul67 - Celtic FC News Aggregation

  15. BSR,



    That’s a cracking post and a reminder even in recent years of the excitement of following Celtic to an away trip in Europe has never been anything other than a fantastic experience. Whilst the focus is rightly about non-attendence at Celtic Park, this game tonight would have been highly attractive to lots of fans given the city. Bloody cold mind and I still haven’t thawed out from the trip to Copenhagen earlier this year.




  16. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Nice tribute Paul.



    1986 World Cup was his acme.



    Someone posted the Argentina team yesterday.



    Can’t recall who but thank you – it’s instructive.



    Jorge Valdano was a great player.



    Jorge Burruchaga was decent.



    Every other member of that squad was fit and well drilled but distinctly average.



    Diego did indeed carry a nation.

  17. would like to see.





    Ayer Julien Duffy Elhamed


    Christie Soro McGregor Laxalt


    Ajeti Eddy

  18. !!Bada Bing!! on 26th November 2020 1:38 pm



    Woke up super early and on episode 3 now after Skullybhoy posts made me think of it. Was a wean when I saw it first time of course.



    I plan on a Monocled Mutineer binge this afternoon.

  19. Back to Basics



    That’s one of the reasons he gets my GOAT over many a worthy competitor. Same could be said about the Napoli team he carried to the Italian title.



    Did Messi or Pele carry an entire team in the same way?




  20. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Chairbhoy @ 12:31pm



    I think some players are frustrated as professionals no doubt, but the data suggests that the players are doing what NL is asking them to do. This is why I find NL talk of cultural change, laziness etc so alarming. He is deflecting is own shortcomings onto the players. Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to be too much evidence in the data that the players have given up on him…yet. The xG of chances for and against us alarming in terms of chance quality. Again I think it comes down to shape. Remember Elhamed in CL qualifiers in last ditch tackle to prevent a goal to put us out. He got it thick on here, just like Ntcham against Aberdeen or Cal Mac & Duffy running into each other against AC Milan. These aren’t traits of player laziness….they are symptoms of lack of shape & organisation or ‘tactical culture’ to play on NL’s words. That’s ultimately on NL for me.



    Celtic by numbers of this parish & others in Celtic cyber world cover this very well. We are very lucky to have them in the Celtic cyberworld. I work in data myself although non football related. Their data and conclusions look sound to me. Celtic employ their own data analysts, I would assume. There is little evidence however that data is being used to form decisions on shape, tactics and player selection. All IMO of course.



    SFTB @ 12:33pm



    I think the good results this season have come from player quality ultimately covering over the cracks for lack of positional structure. Lille aside, where the first 45 mins was tactically astute. For most part, we win due to player quality. Positional structure or lack of, is starting to catch-up on us elsewhere against the tactically astute teams.



    The rest of excuses provided – laziness, stupid mistakes, covid, injury etc are just that, excuses. And again papering over the cracks.



    I do believe there is a way out of this for NL though if he changes course. Zombies had a similar crisis of identify back in Jan/Feb and look at them now. Slippy G must have listened to his inner team.

  21. My team:






    El Hamed Ajer Julien Laxalt



    Ntcham Christie McGregor Moi



    Ajeti Eddie

  22. !!BADA BING!! on 26TH NOVEMBER 2020 1:53 PM


    I think Broonie is a cert to start






    Brings to mind the old blackadder quote:



    “If nothing else works, a total pig-headedness to look facts in the face will see us through…..”

  23. I think when managers are under pressure, they stick with tried and tested experienced players…

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