Transfer ‘saga’, David Murray vices, warlords and dafties


Signing players is easy, just ask anyone who has never done it.  The selling club invariably wants to wait until the last moment, when they are sure no one else will bid up the price.  The player occasionally wants to wait and see if you have Champions League football that season.  This deal might be the only income the agent will get that year, so he needs to make the most of it.

Then you have the really complicated ones.  Players have pitched up at Celtic Park from a far-flung part of Europe, terrified to sign because some shady character thinks he owns a part of him and has not been paid off.

There has been a time recently when everything was agreed, then the selling club told the player he would not receive his final salary.  The player, not unreasonably, said, “This is not right, on a point of principle, they need to pay or we try again in January.”

You want to sign all your top targets, but to do that, you need to pay the top price the club, player and agent can imagine you will pay, even then, it’s not always going to happen.

It is only right to pay the top price you can afford on exceptional occasions.  Your strategy should involve being prepared to fail in a negotiation, because to succeed at the prevailing price does not fit your overall budget.

In Scotland, we are still conditioned to some extent, by the bombast of David Murray.  Old Zsa Zsa rattled his jewellery and boasted that he never allowed price to stop him buying a player he really wanted.  I hear the echoes today, “Just pay the money!”

Murray made it sound like a virtue.  It wasn’t.  It was one of several vices that led to liquidation.

You have to lose some.  Players will not come and some existing players, who are out of contract, will leave.  Both will be painful, fans will accuse you of motives which have no internal consistency, but if you get a reputation for not letting players walk away due to money, you are dead in the water.

You need a bucket full of tactics, not cash, to sign players.  Experience helps too, and not the good type, you will mostly learn from bad experiences.  There will be times you phone the player’s grandfather, who is on your side, but you will still not be able to convince the player Celtic Park is the right move.

Then you will publicly turn your face to stone. “This is our line and not an inch more”, was the subtext of a recent Celtic Tweet.  “Curious”, I thought, “What’s the chances this will work?”

The football business is mad, there is no other word for it.  It is full of dafties, alpha males who are still trying to impress their decades-dead fathers, the occasional warlord and some fine young athletes.  Try to understand it through the prism of normal life and you will misinterpret everything.

Oh, and if at least 50% of your transfers are not justifiably described as a “saga” you’re not working hard enough.  Transfers, like sausages, are not meant to look good when they are being made.

Let’s hope David Turnbull passes his medical…..

I’m off to the CQN Charity Golf Day in Aberdour this afternoon, not to play golf, of course, but to hear Danny McGrain and Willie McStay.

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  1. Bawsman



    Yep agree… totally ridiculous, but that’s Celtic supporters for you



    No doom and gloom from me



    I’m STILL celebrating




  2. Kenny Miller had a whole season with us and scored only 4 league goals in 31 league matches.



    He started season 2007/8, scoring against Falkirk in our 2nd league match and hitting a late double against the Dons in our 3rd match.



    A lot has been read into those 3 goals. They might have been the start of a Miller resurgence or, more likely, they were typical of the streak scoring that bedevilled Miller’s career with every club. He was transferred after the Dons match and went on to score 4 goals in 30 league matches for Derby- not much sign of the resurgence we thought we spotted.

  3. FATHER JACK on 21ST JUNE 2019 3:39 PM



    Joe Ledley is the most recent who was sold when he didn’t want to leave.









    I love how people are now throwing out comparisons for Tierney like this. Joe Ledley? KENNY MILLER!?



    Miller had been poor for Celtic. We got rid of him because he didn’t perform to the required standard.



    Joe Ledley predictably ran down his contract (as he often did) to get a better deal for himself. He could have renewed his contract like Tierney did.



    The truth is, when it comes to key players they are usually given several attempts to extend their deal. Sometimes it works (Tom Rogic) sometimes it doesn’t (Van Dijk, Wanyama, Hooper)



    If a player has 2 years on his deal or less, the club will attempt to sell them to recoup some money.



    None of this applies to Kieran Tierney or Callum McGregor who signed long term deals and Celtic are in no need to sell.



    If Celtic sell them it will be in 2 years.



    Players who are definitely here for 10: Bain, Tierney, Ajer, Christie, McGregor, Rogic, Brown, Forrest

  4. Asupporterwhogotlucky on

    Bawsman totally agree, this bhoy is still smiling, they forget this great feat will still be talked about in years to come and looked back on with great pride, maybe they’ll get it then, who knows.



    As an aside: Our next hun skelping visit of the year to Castle Greyskull, may be put back a day from 31st Aug till 1st September (My daughters wedding day) why do the SPFL not run these changes by me first.







  5. Belfastbhoy0 on

    For any BHOY$$$$$$$ looking to go on the official package, I emailed the ticket shop a few days ago






    is the answer – well sort of – if you consider more or less same day return from glasgow to sarajevo – transfers but no hotels etc – £660 – yip thats £660 , I could think of all sorts of R Lee Ermey quotes to describe that figure but this is a family site………

  6. The Bosman ruling came into effect in 1995. Swalex had long left sScottish football.



    Of course, players can be sold against their will. If they are performing badly, but are on the type of contract they could not get elsewhere, they will not want to move to smaller wages and a more uncertain future.



    The likes of Joe Ledley might have wanted to stay at Celtic, or more accurately, have been willing to extend his Celtic stay, but was he willing to do so at the salary level he was on? When Joe came to us, he did the dirty on his boyhood club, Cardiff, by leaving without compensation. We were able to offer him a big bonus signing on fee in lieu of having to pay a transfer fee.



    Neil Lennon said , at the time of Joe leaving us, “We [Celtic] have spoken to Joe already on the situation, but we’ve heard nothing back”. After signing for Palace, I expect on a much more lucrative contract, Joe Ledley said that if he had not joined Crystal Palace, he would have signed a new contract with Celtic – not exactly the same as being sold against your will.




    Celtic players being sold when they wanted to stay has happened and will continue to happen, Two off the top of my head.



    Bertie Auld sold to Birmingham against his wishes, Frank McAvennie says he sat in Glasgow Airport crying when Celtic sold him back to West Ham



    *Bobby Evans for complaining about a loan he didnae get



    Bobby Collins and Willie Fernie to allegedly pay for the floodlights that guided the luftwaffe tae Clydebank 17 year previously.



    Big Tam for kicking Helmut Haller up the erse



    Wispy and Yogi, just because Jock said so



    Davie Hay for questioning the pay structure



    Kenny for refusing tae go on a far east tour although he wanted away anyway.



    The list goes on, and 5 of those by our greatest ever manager, who says the manager disnae have control

  8. Rock Tree Bhoy on

    Like it or not Kenny Miller was sold against his will, the motivation he drew from that was on display every time he played Celtic thereafter.

  9. Asupporterwhogotlucky on




    There are many who did not want to leave Celtic, but either through not getting game time or being renaged on deals, found they had no other option, although not sold as such, big Sutton springs to mind.




  10. BIGYINMILAN on 21ST JUNE 2019 3:45 PM



    Paddy Crerand sold against his will.



    *another one that was greetin when told after leaving Mass.



    Wee Bobby Craig who had his greengages reduced tae 7 quid a week, I had started my time that August and was making 3 pounds/week, Bobby married with 4 weans had no option but tae leave in a swop deal for Ian Young’s brother Bobby who never kicked a ball for the first team.

  11. Joe Ledley:



    “Nobody wanted me to go. I didn’t really want to go. It was just one of those where I thought, again, 27.The Premier League is where everyone wants to play and I thought this is the only time now, if I don’t do this I’m never going to play there again.”

  12. We’re a million miles away from the original point.



    Celtic players like Kenny Miller have been sold against their will. They weren’t good enough and we wanted rid.



    That scenario doesn’t apply to Kieran Tierney



    Deniabhoy said:



    “He has made it clear he wants to stay with us so I would be gutted if he is pushed out the door. It will be a long time before we luck upon another player of his class via our youth system and there is no way we can buy anyone of his level.”



    KT is a stalwart of this side and somebody we couldn’t easily replace. The discussion was selling a player of that calibre completely against his will.



    My point is, that has not happened and will not happen. Every time we have sold a marquee talent like Viduka or Van Dijk they have made their intention to leave clear.



    Celtic will not sell one of their best players, who is tied down to a long-term contract against his will. Not for the fees talked about.



    £20 million? No. Celtic could get that for him 2 years from now. £50 million? Sure, but nobody offers Scottish clubs the crazy money that they throw at Ajax or Monaco.



    Celtic don’t need the money.



    Talk about selling Bertie Auld or Kenny Miller is completely irrelevant to any discussion about Kieran Tierney.

  13. The biggest injustice was James Edward lured tae Highbury on a pilgrimage tae Lourdes, that’s almost sacrilegious right there, tae help pay for a new stand, and when he turned the move down had his wages reduced.

  14. Its the effect on the team remaining that should be looked at.whether the player is being sold against their will or not.


    Their experience and game experience can be invaluable.but may be bettered by a younger player coming in.


    decisions decisions


    Welcome to Celtic David Turnbull:-)



  15. The Good Ship Celtica on

    Not posted in a while. (It’s been a interesting first half of the year personally). However the Turnbull transfer pushed me back in.



    It was odd from the start with Motherwell announcing the accepted bid. They were either keeping their fans informed or they were flushing out other bids. Regardless it was not ideal from a Celtic point of view.



    Then we had the initial rejection being reported through our social media. Again a case could be made for keeping fans informed but it felt, well, a bit grubby.



    Now we have the player still signing for us a couple of days later after rejecting another club’s deal. Again it feels a little bit too public for Norwich’s sake IMO.



    Sorry for the ramble but I hope going forward all clubs involved in our transfer dealings do not make any announcements until a deal is concluded. That way no one is seen to lose ‘face’.





    Sailing On….

  16. GreeninbingleyinOslo on




    I think that, as soon as Motherwell went public with it, there was little else we could do.



    Motherwell chose the parameters, presumably to try to create an auction, but if we had said nothing we would have appeared weak/malleable, and the damage that impression would cause to our reputation, and future transfer dealings, would have been serious.



    The only bit of our tweet that sticks in my craw was the use of the word ‘magnificent’ in reference to the offer we made. That was a bit amateurish and pompous. But the rest of it I think we played well.



    Couldn’t agree more about keeping a cork in it until pen’s put to paper – which, to be fair, is our usual way.



    Anyway, weird as hell, but I’ll welcome David Turnbull… when we get the white smoke!

  17. What is the Stars on

    Good Ship Celtica


    Good to see you post.Hope you are well ”


    Interesting first half of the year ”


    Hopefully in a good way

  18. file under general interest or scroll past.



    a wee footnote in celtics history , and look at that selection of morton strips, ffs.





    Ex-Morton player who scored a famous goal against Celtic which was controversially chalked off has died



    By Paul John Coulter @paulcoulter89







    0 comment




    Tributes have been paid to ex-Danish international Carl Bertelsen, who has passed away at the age of 81.



    He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years.



    Bertelsen was lured to Morton by Hal Stewart and was part of the famous ‘Danish invasion’ in the 1960s.



    The fast forward, nicknamed the ‘Tornado’, also starred for Kilmarnock, Dundee and Esbjerg, Odense and Haderslev in his native Denmark.




    He won 21 caps for his national side, including an appearance against the USSR in the semi-finals of the 1964 European Championships.



    Bertelsen arrived in Greenock in July of that year and went on to make 41 appearances for the club, scoring 18 goals.



    He is arguably most famous for a last-gasp ‘winner’ against Celtic at Cappielow on January 23, 1965 which was controversially ruled out and almost overshadowed the death of Winston Churchill.



    The Ton bravely fought back from three-nil down, thanks to two superb strikes from Bertelsen and a header from Hugh Strachan. In one last-ditch effort to secure the win, Eric Smith launched the ball into the Hoops’ penalty area and the Danish striker lashed home.



    But the celebrations were short-lived as the referee said time had already been called.



    Ton legend Allan McGraw, who played alongside Bertelsen, paid tribute to him.



    He said: “He scored against Celtic and we believed it was the winner but the referee said he blew for time up when the ball was mid-way in the air.



    “That went down like a lead balloon. “Carl was a good player, very fast and a nice man.



    “He was a very quiet boy but such a speedy player.



    “He was lovely to talk to and a lovely man to be with.



    “It’s sad to hear of his passing.”



    Friends in Denmark told the Telegraph Carl played football until he was 70, running out for his local side.



    A school teacher by profession, Bertelsen was sold by Morton to Dundee for £10,000 in August ’65 and moved to Kilmarnock the following year.




    He made his final appearance for Killie in the semi-final of the European Fair Cities Cup at Rugby Park against Leeds United in May 1967 before returning home.



    The son of a grocer, Bertelsen was born on November 15, 1937, in the coastal town of Haderslev in southeast Denmark.



    He joined his hometown club and later moved to Esbjerg.



    During his classroom career, Bertelsen taught physics, maths and PE.



    Following retirement from football, friends say he lived a quiet life with his wife and family and rarely spoke about his football exploits, which also included playing in a Scandinavia versus the ‘rest of Europe’ match alongside greats such as Eusebio, Denis Law, Jim Baxter, Bobby Charlton and Jimmy Greaves shortly before signing for Morton.



    Bertelsen’s funeral will take place in Denmark today.




  19. Delaneys Dunky on

    The Good Ship Celtica


    Good to see you back posting here.


    Totally agree with you. This has been a strange transfer for us, in that it has been conducted so publicly, which is not our usual way in transfer dealings. Feel that Motherwell going public, forced our hand to reply publicly, however.


    Hope you and your auld man are well.



  20. And we let the cleaner go against her will. Dont know about the suspended security guard ?

  21. Celtic having a look at Liam Burt.


    I’ll save you time, don’t bother, dear oh dear, what is happening at the club i love?



    Sorry we have major issues, i need a break from this place before someone even try s to justify this.



    Totally scunnered!

  22. Meanwhile in a Gulag near North Lanarkshire, three men share the same cell.


    One asks the other why was in there; “I spoke out against Peter Lawwell”


    “What?” “I was imprisoned because I spoke out in his favour”


    They turned to the third man who had remained quiet throughout; “Why did you get jailed?”


    “I am Peter Lawwell”

  23. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Absolutely brilliant leader Pablo.



    Your first sentence alone worth the non-admission money.



    Lots of (too much) money in football now.



    Money attracts all kinds of pimps, whores, hustlers, chisellers, thieves, brigands and AGENTS !



    A murky world. Anyone who can enter that space to secure signings without needing a novena afterwards has my respect



    Hail hail

  24. The Huddle



    ? He’ll probably mess that up too, might have to wait until 1 July for the new guy starting.

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