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. garygillespieshamstring on




    He will be signing tomorrow.



    Sunday’s not the same without a bit of Bully.



    JImBowen CSC

  2. Let the people sing, from last night, yes we were in Sirmione a few days ago, agree it’s stunning!

  3. weebobbycollins on

    CRC…”Over the years, we have found the selling bit a lot easier. Funny that!”


    Aye, but only the ‘big’ players…the ‘wee players’ hang around like a bad smell sooking up our hard earned cash…

  4. prestonpans bhoys on

    All this talk about bids for KT is just bollocks , he’s either just had or about to have an op. So would never pass a medical, media pish?

  5. I know every player will eventually move on, the vast majority are replaceable, (Henrik was an exception) and sometimes it is right to cash in when a ghuy’s star is in the ascendancy because football is transient, players do lose form and pick up bad injuries and can become declining assets.


    The Team & the Cause is everything and as long as Celtic reign then all is well with the World.


    However there are terms & conditions and as already stated by Bourne, no more stock piling of cash, enough is enough we need to see our wealth on a football pitch sporting the famous Hoops.


    Finally regarding Kieran Tierney, he is more than a Footballer, he is part of the soul of Celtic.


    I want KT to stay with Celtic for his entire career, I want him to be there for the ten and I want him to be Captain when Brooney retires.


    It will be a sad sad day if he goes, as a player he is replaceable, as an epitome of a Celtic kid living the dream he is irreplaceable and a little bit of all us would go with him.

  6. garygillespieshamstring on

    I remember driving through the north of Glasgow one day and we saw a boat a garden.


    My better hals said she thought someone in the house must have been on Bullseye.



    Always amazed how the “non dart player” always threw for the treble twenty instead of throwing for the side of the board where a missed treble would fall into a bigger number than 1 or 5.



    Look what you could’ve won.

  7. Preston, he had his hernia operation a few weeks back, if not back in training he is very close. Certainly expect him to be in training camp next week,i

  8. WITS



    Did you get my whatsapp message this morning.



    Can I tell everyone that if KT is sold that will solve the problem for everyone who wants to see the back of Peter Lawwell. My niece will kill him. FACT ???




  9. Bada @12:06


    Thanks for the information;



    Corkcelt @12:41


    A fine post which, I feel , reflects, the kind of emotions I associate with Celtic.


    Are you (and Mick) coming over for any of the European games?



  10. Jim,I certainly hope to get over, was kind of hamstrung with a medical problem for last 6 months but I am back in top form now, so providing I don’t get a relapse then I should ,

  11. Corkcelt


    Good news.



    Re Jimmy McGrory. On arriving home a few minutes ago, I found a book had been posted through my door:




    The Life and Times of Celtic Legend Jimmy McGrory by John Cairney.




  12. CORKCELT on 22ND JUNE 2019 12:41 PM…



    You nailed it with KT should/will be our new captain.



    Kieran is Celtic through and through.



    Not one for holding anyone back if they want to go but watching him in the hoops, the bhoy is living his dream.



    He’s only a pup in a big bad world, hopefully the smsm don’t turn his head as that has been their goal every time we unearth a wee diamond that is KT.

  13. Tierney’s goin nowhere sure he has four years left on his contract



    It would make no sense



    He would still be worth the same in two years time (if not more) and i would say he’d want to stay and try for 10 in a row



    I would be more worried about McGregor

  14. But ultimately the player gets final say, else we’d have punted Compper ages ago :O)



    The team would miss CalMac more if he was sold and as posted above he’s at that age where it makes sense for him to move.

  15. fairhill bhoy on

    The huddle,so if we get 20plus for KT and he gets 3x his wage it will be all KTs fault?

  16. !!Bada Bing!! on

    KT will go at some point, but as long as we get the right money for him,£15 million wouldn’t buy his dog,as a Bhoy posted earlier if he stays and tries for the 10,we would get more money for him, the way football is going. Man Ure quoted £60 million for a RB,who has played 1 season for Crystal Palace,…..

  17. Anyone else think that the announcement of young Turnbulls signing is being delayed because they’re hoping to announce another signing at the same time ?


    Would make sense to do a ‘twofer’ and then Peter could jet off somewhere on holiday/business trip ?


    Hope all is well with everyone during this ‘summer’ break ??

  18. fairhill bhoy on 22nd June 2019 2:19 pm







    How does that mean I’m blaming the player?



    Club gives player contract, club pays player’s wages, club receives acceptable bid to sell, player either agrees to go or doesn’t.



    No one is to blame, it’s how a transfer works.

  19. fairhill bhoy on

    The huddle- If as you say it’s down to the player ultimately,then we can’t blame PL or the board ?

  20. fairhill bhoy on 22nd June 2019 2:37 pm



    The huddle- If as you say it’s down to the player ultimately,then we can’t blame PL or the board




    Again no one is to blame, not the board, not PL and not the player

  21. The final decision is the players. Again no blame is being laid. Don’t really know why you keep on posting


    about blame.



    If Celtic received a £100mill bid for KT, which meant KT got £100k a week, and the club agreed to accept the £100mill bid. In your mind who makes the final decision to sign for this new club?

  22. fairhill bhoy on

    The huddle I was replying to your post,which a blog is all about ?


    Anyway well done C on winning the golf with 40 points ??‍♂️??‍♂️???

  23. And don’t forget Hughie Maxwell, bought by manager Bob Kelly late 1964, sold against his will by the Bob’s replacement, Jock Stein, in June 1965.

  24. fairhill bhoy on

    The huddle-you should hear what my wife says ?


    Anyway I’m away to see Billy Joel


    Life is too short ?

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