The biggest trade this window was the chief scout


We had a very real problem this transfer window – our chief scout walked out the door 20 days before it opened.  Think what you like about Lee Congerton, but when Brendan Rodgers took him to Leicester, the apex of our recruitment structure left a significant hole in a club that knew it needed to significantly replenish its squad.

The top priority was to appoint a manager, which happened within minutes after the Scottish Cup Final.  It would be Neil’s job to identify where we needed to strengthen and the type of player he wanted, but we also had to find a chief scout of the calibre required.  There is not a fluid market for such people.

Nicky Hammond had worked at Reading and West Brom and got the gig on a ‘show us what you can do’ basis.  He, Neil and Peter Lawwell needed to quickly get on the same wavelength and work with some targets. He was appointed on 20 June, four weeks before Champions League qualification began, with precious little opportunity to scout players.  Even when he did scouting, most were preseason, playing friendlies, when it is impossible to measure true capabilities.

When Brendan left six months ago I was not unduly worried.  He had clearly been working his ticket since August, allowing no one with clarity on the future, but taking Congerton in May was a low blow.  He must have known the carnage this would cause.

11 weeks on from Nicky Hammond’s appointment and we have signed Moritz Bauer (loan with option to buy) and Hatem Elhamid for the right back role, Greg Taylor and Boli Bolingoli at left back and Christopher Jullien in central defence.

Southampton’s current top earner, but third choice keeper, Fraser Forster made a surprise loan return after Scott Bain was injured, while left-winger Mohamed Elyounoussi also arrived on a season loan from Southampton.

A significant volume of our work this window was done on the youth market.  Luca Connell (18), a defensive mid, arrived from Bolton, striker Jonathan Afolabi (18), means the headcount from Southampton reached three.  Then last night, we saw right back Jeremie Frimpong (18) come from Manchester City and central defender, Lee O’Connor (18) appear from Manchester United, both on four-year deals.

Out went Kieran Tierney (sigh), Mikael Lustig (again, sigh), Dedryck Boyatak, Marvin Compper, Cristian Gamboa, Scott Allan, Emilio Izaguirre, Doris de Vries and Youssouf Mulumbu, while loaners Toljan, Burke, Weah and Benkovic returned to their parent clubs.

The time to judge a transfer window is at the end of the season, but right now, considering the unprecedented challenges we faced this summer, it appears to have gone better than I expected.  We brought in a completely new defence and goalkeeper, lost only two players who would still get into the team (KT and Dedryck), strengthened an already strong forward line with Elyounoussi and bought four teenagers.

Ahead of the visit to Ibrox, it was clear so some of us that despite the Clujbacle, we had navigated a path through some choppy waters.  Sunday’s win, and our subsequent transfer dealings, seem to have convinced the more sceptical that this will be our second nine-in-a-row season.  A few panicked over-reactions out there?  Sudocrem is available from all good supermarkets.

We will know soon if Nicky Hammond will be retained, but in his short tenure, he has worked well with the manager and chief executive.  I am sure those inside the club are still too stressed to agree, but maybe we will look back and consider it a good thing that both Brendan and Lee Congerton left when they did.  After eight-in-a-row and a treble-treble, you might expect some staleness at the lack of genuine challengers, but there is a fresh feel about Celtic this morning.  We are in a good place.


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  1. Back in the O’Neill days and the talk of moving to the EPL was hot, I was all for stadium expansion…..70,000? 80,000? The sky would be the limit if we were playing in that environment.



    However, there’s nothing that kills an atmosphere more than empty seats and at this moment in time, I don’t see any benefit to expansion.

  2. What is it with the rainjurz?


    If that horrible klub weren’t sufficiently upto their knees in bigoted behaviour already – and now the vile attack on our captain’s family?? The Huns deserve every bit of their reputation.



    There’s been a wee rush recently to get out a “message” that “they are doing everything they can etc etc etc” to deal with their own support.



    Not buying that for a second.



    Usual Guff and PR platitudes with an unhealthy bit of media kollusion thrown in for good measure.



    The story isn’t the (very) few who quite rightly condemn this huns actions – its the vast majority who are content to shore-up this failing institution.



    Scotland’s Shame.



    Everyhun, anyhun.




  3. The best thing about this recent transfer window, is that surely we will have a much settled defence for the CL qualifiers next year. Rather, our attention might be needed at the other end of the park. I think Edouard is the most skilful forward we’ve had since Larsson. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he’s still with us this time next year. If his pal, Ntcham, can perform consistently at the level he’s capable of, then he’ll get the move he wants also. Ntcham looked amazing for the short time he played on Sunday, linking brilliantly with Edouard.



    Regarding the young boys we signed, this must be a first to sign so many at the one time. Hopefully, most if not all, realise their potential.




    I’m realistic about our chances of keeping Eddy long-term. He really is developing into the full package and I suggested recently that he’s a better player than Dembele.



    However, I’d like to see him play for us in the Champions League. We need to learn from Cluj and make sure our club gives our top players the opportunity to play on that platform.

  5. Talking of stadium upgrades, after we played Bayern last time, I asked a local what the Allianz Arena cost. 350 million Euros, he said, and it won’t be paid off for another decade.

  6. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    MACJAY etc:Our’s is a Parliamentary democracy ie Voters vote,MPs go to House of Commons,they vote as and when THEY like.Next election vote said MP in or out.


    A local MP raised Rangers ‘plight ‘ in 2012…he didn’t ask his local Party members even….Parliamentary democracy at work.


    He lost last election but is now a Sir!!!

  7. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on

    Would be really torn on the capacity issue – I don’t think we need extra capacity right now and it wont do the atmosphere any good for most matches – but would it be a missed opportunity to increase the capacity…



    Weighing it up I’d slightly reluctantly vote NOT to increase capacity unless there was concrete evidence that we were moving to EPL or were part of a new European league.



    Also, heard talk of expanding the standing area or adding another in the Jock Stein stand – this would be a definite for me. This is actually another way to increase capacity without tearing anything down structurally – you can get 1.8 standing spots to 1 seat. Though think we have been restricted to 1:1 to date.




  8. …and another thing…………



    What’s the difference between “causing disruption” and confronting with a view to attacking and then attacking an authorised march?



    The Huns in during their mock triumphal marching season make a mockery of Scotland every blessed year and the cops ensure no-one gets to physically or notionally mess with them.

  9. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    This was not an election.


    It was a referendum.

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    The Remainers won.


    Clinton is the president.

  11. The Battered Bunnet on

    The costs of building a sports stadium accelerate with the scale of it. At the bottom end, a simple 500 seat single tier covered stand costs around £500 per seat.



    As the scale of the structure increases, so the strength of the structural materials increases, and therefore the costs. Structural design also plays a part, particularly as regards the roof – the greater the span of the roof, the stronger its support structure requires to be.



    Fergus built the north stand in 1996 for around £1000 per seat, but there are some shortcomings in terms of restricted views at the back (roof supports) and the roof itself does not provide shelter for those in the lower rows of seats in the bottom tier. This was a design-cost compromise.



    Similarly, the internal spaces of the stand impact on costs; it’s greatly cheaper to provide only basic concourse catering etc than it is to install higher end facilities, meeting spaces, function rooms, exec boxes and so on.



    Likewise the design itself – curves are expensive, facades too, and of course, the great unknown; ground works and remediation.



    Twenty years on from Fergus (it is, actually, 20 years since he skyed it back to Canada) it’s unlikely that the north stand could be now constructed for less than £3000 per seat, and that’s bargain basement.



    Arsenal’s stadium cost over £6,000 per seat and that was over 10 years ago. Wembley, considered hugely expensive, cost £9000 per seat in 2007, now great value when you consider that Tottenham’s new gaff, completed this year, cost £16,000 per seat (although this includes a wider project on an extended stadium footprint including land acquisition).



    For the folk looking at replacing the (now 50 years old) south stand at Celtic Park, there are myriad constraints and compromises. Who knows what lies beneath – old mine workings, contaminated soil, goodness knows – while the design itself needs to both fit with the remaining structure, and provide for enhanced facilities such as changing rooms, medical, media, executive, corporate and – apparently – team buses.



    15,000 seats plus all of those facilities is unlikely – even on a tight budget – to cost less than £6000 per seat, say £90 Million. Let’s allow the sharp suited man to sharpen his pencil and find cost savings. It’s doubtful it could be done for less than £4000 per seat, £60 Million.



    Let’s take that £60 Million and run some projections.



    First up, the enhanced (by 7000 seats) capacity would allow more tickets to be sold; 7000 tickets at say £28 a pop times 30 home matches per year = £6 million approx per annum.



    But… would the stadium be sold out for all 30 home matches? On how many occasions would the new capacity be sold? Big Euro matches, important league fixtures, maybe 10 times? That’s just £2M additional revenue, plus pies and bovril.



    Then we look at enhanced corporate and hospitality provisions. What’s the local market for corporate hospitality in Scottish Football? It’s pretty weak, as far as I can see. For example, while the top hospitality tickets for the recent Celtic-Hearts cup final were sold out, the lesser tickets were still on sale at £90 a head on match day. If Glasgow can’t sell out the top tickets for a cup final, what hope the premium tickets for a SPFL match versus Livingston?



    On balance, I’d expect better facilities to attract higher prices, but only to a point. Let’s allow an additional £2M per year just for argument’s sake.



    Then we have the matter of additional revenue from the facility, major sports events, concerts and the likes. How many Pro14 finals and Commonwealth Games might we expect each year?…



    Tottenham added a synthetic pitch below the grass park at their new stadium to allow for NFL matches and other events while protecting the pitch, but floating pitches come at a cost! Back to the top.



    And why Celtic Park for the next Pink concert and not Hampden, which provides virtually the same capacity for lower cost? (Mind, the capacity includes the pitch area, not just the seats).



    I’d suggest the market for major events is relatively small, and the provision in Glasgow (and Edinburgh) is pretty big, but let’s allow 20% of the gate money on 2 such events per year, giving around £1M revenue.



    Let’s allow £2M in additional tickets, £2M in additional corporate, and £1M in events. That’s an increase in revenue of £5M per year, set against the £60-90M cost of construction plus loss of ticket sales during the build phase (8000 tickets at £28 x 30 matches) of over £6M.



    On an optimistic outlook, the new ‘budget’ stand would pay for itself after around 15 years. A grander (but not class-leading) stand would pay back over 20 years (plus the time-value of cash).



    On the one hand, the old stand will need to be replaced sooner or later. It’ll be expensive, and will (of course) require to be funded. On the other hand, it doesn’t need to be replaced right now.



    You’re a director of the club, assuming no change in the football landscape in the next 15 years (there hasn’t been in the last 100 years) what’s your advice to the board?










    This was not an election.





    It was a referendum.






    It was a referendum called by Cameron to resolve internal problems within the Tory party.



    Worked out well, hasn’t it?

  13. Siempre Celtic (formerly Traditionalist88) on




    You’re a director of the club, assuming no change in the football landscape in the next 15 years (there hasn’t been in the last 100 years) what’s your advice to the board?





    The obvious answer is that it is not financially viable, which is presumably why it hasn’t been done in the last 15-20 years, despite rumours abounding that plans are in a drawer somewhere!



    However, not so sure about your point that there have been no changes to the football landscape in 100 years. We play a lot more European games (recent stats show that since 2012 we have played more competitive UEFA ties than any other club!) than at any point in our history, and most of these attract 50k+, qualifiers included.



    Structural changes are abound again and whilst the rumours persist that these will result in the CL becoming a closed shop, clubs like Celtic and Ajax have been at the forefront of fighting the corner for bigger clubs in smaller countries. It appears a 3rd competition is on the way, which on the face of it may not have huge commercial appeal, but will give clubs like Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs scope to aim for European group stage football. As far as we are concerned we will probably be guaranteed group stage participation of some sort every year going forward.



    So yes it will always come down to how financially viable it is and right now there are probably a few too many unknowns but that won’t always be the case. Also as many have pointed out its getting to the stage the main stand is so old some modernisation will be a necessity.



    I’d still be on the side of keeping the capacity as it is unless we are invited to EPL or Euro Super league with 20+ games.



    ps. I thought Aberdeens decision to keep a similiar capacity at their new stadium was a bit disappointing. Surely they have scope to expand slightly. They brought 40k+ to a league cup final at CP a couple of years ago, one off event maybe but I’d have expected a new stadium to hold 25k at least.




  14. TBB excellent post.



    My initial idea about the upgrade of the stand was that Celtic would increase hospitality (I have no idea how popular Celtic hospitality is)


    After reading your post I would suggest that Celtic could possibly go down the route of York racecourse. It has fewer days that it operates as a racecourse compared to Celtic home games so it has styled itself as a conference/exhibition/event location. Those of you know that York RC is not blessed with good public transport links or plentiful parking. It’s a 20 minute or more walk from the city centre and yet it will have events on nearly every weekend. From book fairs to wedding shows to classic car meets it has managed to be one of the best spaces in the York area.



    I assume Celtic would have more competition in those areas in Glasgow but it would be an avenue that they could look at.

  15. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on




    Just your opinion , old son.



    Worked out wonderfully.


    The wets needed to be ousted.


    Happened in U.S.


    Happened in Oz.



    Will happen in Europe.


    UK is merely leading the band.


    Thank God the unelectable Corbyn and O`Donnell are the opposition.



    The great imponderable…………….. Nigel and the Brexit Party.

  16. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    Adolf Hitler was democratically elected by the German people – he was pretty good at ‘purging’ the wets, the jews, the blacks, the unelectable socialists etc.



    I would like to think I would have stood against Hitler – I suspect that our Antipodean hyprocite would have welcomed him with open arms.



    The important thing about democracy is that it doesn’t stop – although the authoritarian right really love to ‘purge’ the opposition in whatever way possible.

  17. BADA BING, Refurbishment off the main stand,is what the board want to do, Removing the Steel Girders at both ends of the stand doing away with restricted views,the capacity will increase by a few thousand






    ‘Thank God the unelectable Corbyn and O`Donnell are the opposition.’







    Good grasp of the detail there.

  19. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    Courtesy of Ernie :



    https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Godwin’s_law


    Godwin’s law (or Godwin’s rule of Hitler analogies) is an Internet adage asserting that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”; that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will …

  20. Nigel? Imponderable?



    I can help you with that….



    Charlatan, freeloader, wide boy, liar.



    There you are. Simples.




  21. !!BADA BING!! on 4TH SEPTEMBER 2019 9:25 AM


    I would go for a major refurbishment of the main stand, rather than extend it.






    Was going to say this. I’ve been a few stadium tours (Celtic Park included) and we ‘feel’ light years behind and a bit tired when you compare. Not sure this would add seats but an upgrade needed.

  22. Big W- not sure it would create more seats either mate,but cost of extending looks prohibitive, compared to the return, and the demand, a Fan Park with good catering facilities badly needed IMO HH

  23. Bitton out for 4 weeks. Ajer 2, Jozo unknown as seeing specialist! Lee O’Connell might get an early debut ! PS what about Americans? couldn’t quite understand buying players who are not allowed to play here. When season ends in November will we try for work permits again? if not can we ‘rip up contracts’ a la Hun?

  24. TBB



    Great contribution and splendid question to consider, thanks.



    CQN at its best.



    Given your excellent perspective on the state of the not-so-beautiful game in Scotland.



    I would advise the board to deliver 10-in-a-row…or hit the road……..I’d also advise we do a minimum maintenance / revamp job on the main stand. A better than short term fix that allows for a bigger Celtic ark experience beyond matchdays. The mid -term vista for European football might change and include exponential benefits for a well regarded, well supported ( well-run?) Club like ours.



    The Revamp project


    ( henceforth to be known as “Smell The Concrete”) to include a project aimed at upping midweek and off -season usage of Paradise to bolster revenue, join forces with other sympathetic business / hospitality / sporting/ alliances and open new sources of revenue for the Tims.



    Dead easy, eh!





    I’d also take a punt at getting ” The Glaziers” involved and add a Conservatory onto the Gazebo.






  25. “Celtic ark” experience…..!!!?



    I miighta stumbled on something here by accident. Quick get the Disney Corp on the line……



    As us Tims saunter into Paradise two by two………




  26. DD could foot the bill for a rebuild of the main stand out of pocket change but would he ,or he could be paid back via some profit on turnover from it, naming rights might also be attractive or a combo with hotel facilities, we have no shortage of billionaires on the board and business people.


    However first team football squad first every time.



    Happy to help Ernie – mind I explicitly stated that younger folk skewed towards Remain, but that the pattern was not reflected in older folk.







    1) https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=164026089095086066070102065064123106071071022042063039098043113124024075061097084119125008001040066001028082111010101107105017103067115005011022006015119068087001127010088122119004&EXT=pdf







    2) https://academic.oup.com/economicpolicy/article/32/92/601/4459491















    Thank you for the links.



    My impression of those two articles, as with everything else I’ve read on the subject, is that the ratio between the amount of hard reliable data and the degree of supposition, inference, deduction and extrapolation applied to it is such that it’s questionable how reliable the conclusions are or what benefit these studies are, other than to provide employment for pollsters, statisticians and data analysts.



    Having said that, the second article doesn’t, from my understandably cursory (I have a life) look at it, challenge but rather support my view.



    And the first is contradicted by this study which uses the same data but arrives at a different result. (‘We find that voting Leave is associated with older age, white ethnicity, low educational attainment, infrequent use of smartphones and the internet, receiving benefits, adverse health and low life satisfaction.’)




  28. The Battered Bunnet on




    Thanks for the additional reading, cheers. I think your most recent research simply profiled my mother in law :¬)



    Yip, it’s all somewhat heuristic despite the clever maths, and that’s a frustration. There’s a clear skewing towards Remain in voters 18-14 years old, but after that, it all becomes a bit of a demographic soup. I doubt many folk will bet the outcome of a rerun on any of the specific conclusions of any one paper, but it is striking how so many appear to have voted Leave because they were simply and chronically pissed off.



    I’d suggest if folk want to reverse the result, they need to give these folk a better future to believe in. Waiting for Alf and Else to kick the bucket isn’t likely to deliver success.

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