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. On the positive side at least if we get 25million plus for KT we will get rid of one of the top earners on the wage bill and it will take all the financial pressure off champions league qualification whilst keeping the turnover at around 100 million.


    I’m off for my dinner now.Got no money for food so I have started eating my toes.Not sure how sustainable this will be.

  2. glendalystonsils on




    I am impressed by you eating your toes . I will be even more impressed if you did it by getting them into your mouth without cutting them off first!







    Unfortunately I am about as flexible as Mike Ashley’s financial lawyer these days.

  4. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Wan Bissaka looks a good prospect.



    Can’t remember how he has performed in the Champions League though.



    Can someone remind me?

  5. MYy mate in Spain texted me on Thursday after speaking to an ex-Arsenal player deal for KT is done 25m (don’t know what the addons are but done deal.


    I’m only the messenger

  6. My friends in Celtic,



    A really good enjoyable game , Norway v Australia in the ” Pony Tail” World Cup.



    Plenty of skill and endevour. Tactically very good. The ladies game has really come on leaps and bounds.



    Even the referee seems competent unlike the poor inexperienced out of her depth North Korean ref in the Scotland game.




  7. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Ponytail World Cup, Australia v Norway goes to Extra Time, who the fk is going to pick the weans up…

  8. The first VAR penalty shoot out – no one can miss – unless there has been a behind the scenes change of rules the keepers are fried

  9. KT, TR and ON?



    No wonder David T decided to come…. He’s going to be guaranteed a game at this rate!

  10. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    I’ve just arrived. Had a point of view on yesterday’s post, gone now. The charity golf day does nothing for me, I live on a budget.



    Not sure there are any Celts left here that I would be meet on a bus through to the game.

  11. Yep – keeper saves – as much off her line as Scotland on Wednesday- wee change behind the scenes methinks

  12. I reckon they will sell KT and get one on loan from Arsenal, maybe a right back and go and get the wee left back from Rosenborg, Meling.

  13. GARY67 on 22ND JUNE 2019 11:23 PM


    £5m bid for McKenna rejected by Aberdeen






    Frightening, genuinely frightening.

  14. weebawbabitty on

    Johnbay , if you’re source is correct and by the way don’t doubt it ! We can be sure it won’t be announced about 20 seconds before transfer window shuts, HH

  15. David17,


    yes it is frightening,if its true,


    it is after all the Sun and Record reporting it

  16. weebawbabitty on

    David 17 , 5 million bid rejected by Aberdeen for Scott McKenna! Phew Thank F @&£

  17. GORDYBHOY64 on 22ND JUNE 2019 11:39PM



    The bid is 100% true, the value of bid is press speculation

  18. GORDYBHOY64 on 22ND JUNE 2019 11:47 PM



    Confirmed from Aberdeen end via a family member. May be BS but no reason not to believe . Time will tell.

  19. Gary 67,


    yes i guess so,we criticise the MSSM for being anti Celtic,


    but plenty are happy to post unsubstantiated rumours


    about our players, i do accept your post is made in good faith.

  20. EX Arsenal star Charlie nick says its a load of rubbish about the done deal…JOHN BAY……he is just off the phone

  21. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Scott McKenna Is an absolutely terrible football player. If somebody that holds sway on making decisions on transfer targets for Celtic seriously thinks that he is a good use of £5m of our hard won money… well… well I just can’t think of a way to finish that sentence.






    No the bus…train (iron horse) for me.



    Get your point though.



    Getting to Paradise is the limit of my budget.



    Hail Hail.

  23. weebawbabitty on

    DD ,good to see you back my friend, anyway good night and god bless you and Molly, lost ma dad to the same disease! Horrible m8 anyway 59 this year and still got ma mammy ! Am a lucky guy!!

  24. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Concerns about McKenna’s mobility?



    Tail end of last season I witnessed an incredibly agile centre back rise majestically above McKenna at Pittodrie to score from a corner as his team romped to a 0-3 victory.



    Would rather we signed him.



    Oh wait ……..