When great managers tumble over the peak


Looking back it’s easy to spot; that moment when an imperious manager peaks before tumbling over the edge, but at the time this moment is almost impossible to see.  The moment Jock Stein peered over the mountain was absolutely impossible to identify at the time.

Celtic qualified for the 1970 European Cup final by beating English champions, Leeds United, home and away, and were hot favourites to lift the trophy for the second time in four seasons.  They were about to win their fifth consecutive league title and would go on to make record a world record nine-in-a-row, meaning there was a mountain of ‘evidence’ obscuring the peak from view.

We were the most feared side in football in April 1970 but that team’s time as a European heavyweight was over.  Stein remained a further eight seasons but he never beat another team from one of the large European leagues.  A 1975 win over a relatively obscure Boavista was his best result* in the period before he was replaced in 1978.

The reverence Jock is rightly held in by all Celtic fans now was tested during the 70s when I remember tactics and even minor decisions, like substitutions, were being questioned by large sections of the support.  It all ended in ignominy in 1978, fifth in the league and sacked in a clumsy and misleading fashion.

Jock was still a good manager and did well with Scotland but he should have moved on from Celtic years earlier.

Fans of other clubs will always see the moment of inflection before those too close to the event, but even Arsenal fans are now politely making the case that their once-supreme manager is no longer suitable for purpose.  Anyone suggesting that Arsene Wenger was finished in 2004 would have been certified.  His team had just won the league undefeated, the first team to do so since the 19th century.  They won the FA Cup on penalties the following season and reached the Champions League final a year after that, but they have not lifted a trophy since 2005.  Wenger was a fine 2004 vintage but has disappointed since.

After a slow start at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson has managed to remain at the top for 20 years.  His most important ability appears to be to know when to change coaches, players and tactics.  It has long been said that the best managers were not great players as they needed to acquire a conscious insight on the game which gifted players inherently knew.  Perhaps enduringly great managers are not even tactical geniuses, it’s more important that they can just spot a few.

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Remember being a teenager?**  The excitement of waiting for news of the latest pop charts was big news for some.  You can relive your youth buy BUYING ROD STEWART’S single before Sunday.

* In European competition, between beating Leeds and when Jock left in 1978, Celtic eliminated Kokkola, Waterford, B1903 Copenhagen, Sliema Wanderers, Ujpest Doza, Rosenborg, Turku, Vejle, Basel, Valur, Boavista and Jeunesse d’Esch.  They lost to Ajax, Inter Milan, Ujpest Doza, Atletico Madrid, Olympiakos, Sachsenring Zwickau and Wisla Krakow.  And Feyenoord, of course.

** CQN demographics suggest for most of you, your teenage years are now a distant memory.

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  1. thomthetim



    Just read your earlier post. Forgot to mention George Connelly, who from playing for both Celtic and Scotland up to 1974, just seemed to drift out of the game. I gave a mention to Brian McLaughlin, whose knee injury in 1973 robbed us of a player who had the ability to become a Celtic great. Not just my view, it is shared with Davie Hay. Brian was Celtic through and through, ever since he was a kid he wanted to play for the bhoys, a great loss then and an even greater loss now.

  2. Having perused the prospectus in the attempt to convince myself to part with some cash and once again become a shareholder in Rangers Football Club I finished reading it distinctly underwhelmed. I can’t become a shareholder in RFC because I’m not being offered the opportunity to, rather I’m being offered shares in some holding company seemingly for no other reason than because some “investors” want to maximise tax breaks for themselves, how fucking ironic is that? Far from answering questions for me the prospectus just raises lots more.



    The list of shareholdings larger than 3% reminds us once again that Green has failed to come good on his promise back in June to reveal just who exactly owns us. Blue Pitch Holdings, Margarita Funds Holdings Trust and Norne Ansalt together presently hold 23.34% of the equity yet we haven’t got a clue as to who are the ultimate beneficial owners of those shares are. For a considerable period Green was quite content to let speculation that Blue Pitch Holdings was a vehicle under the control of Arif Naqvi of Abraaj Capital persist until he had to release a statement presumably at Mr Naqvi’s behest in which Green claimed that a Middle East lawyer called Mazen Houssami was the “legal beneficiary” whether that is the same as beneficial owner is highly doubtful.



    We now come to the post flotation list of shareholders and at first glance it seems impressive and comforting and is adorned with the names well known and well respected in the investment business. However things can be deceptive and in this case it is not clear if those companies are investing their own pooled funds or simply acting as “fronts” for their individual private clients which if is the case does not afford the same amount of comfort.



    On page 7 it tells us loans totalling £1.815m were received and repaid which seems strange since through the period in question Green kept telling us we were “debt free” it seems he was being a little mendacious.



    Item C.5 on page 8 consigns another of Greens favourite claims, “no one will be able to own more than 10%”, firmly into the pile marked bullshit because the “Ordinary Shares are feely transferable and there are no restrictions on transfer”. Anyone can buy them in whatever amount they want.



    Section D Risks fairly standard legalese but one point does stand out that’s that “The RFCL Group and the Rangers Group may require additional capital in the longer-term to fund development, but this might only be available on onerous terms”, it seems that we do not have a full range of business banking facilities and it doesn’t look like we will have for a while given the current economic background. Let’s hope that whatever the onerous terms are that they’re nowhere near as onerous as a short term loan from Imran “makes Wonga blush” Ahmed (more about that later). There is also a warning that future issues of equity could dilute ownership and depress the market price of shares, given the relatively few options available for raising capital I’ll be amazed if there isn’t a further issue of shares a couple of years (if that long) down the line despite of the claim that there are no current plans to issue more equity.



    E2.a Gives some basic detail about where some of the flotation money will go, upgrading Ibrox £5.5m, land acquisition £4.5m, other projects £3m and an undisclosed amount for “general working capital purposes”, ( I assume £3.5m will be to cover this seasons predicted loss, perhaps nearer £4m if we’re once again burden with Goian’s wages). Of the Offer monies (the fans shares) £3.5m of additional upgrades to Ibrox and another £2m for unspecified projects is earmarked.



    The paragraph titled “Exposure to litigation” raises other risk factors the main one being in relation to the purchase of assets from the administrators of RFC plc, the Directors while conceding that any action raised could have “a material adverse effect” with regards to “business growth, prospects, sales, results of operations and/or financial condition” and that any claim may not be covered by insurance, are of the opinion that time has mitigated the risk and any material liabilities would be known by know. The potential impacts of the consequences of the Directors opinion being wrong are such that the possibility cannot afford to be discounted.



    The following paragraph covers much the same ground as the one above but more specifically relating to the possible actions of the liquidators of RFC plc under the Insolvency Act 1986 to challenge the acts of the administrators (Duff & Phelps) once again the Directors are of the opinion that everything is in order however concede that should such an action occur it would have an impact on the management’s ability to properly run the business, given the relatively recent appointment of the liquidators and the potentially lengthy job ahead of them I’m not convinced enough to share the Directors apparent confidence.



    A list of the Company’s Directors, Secretary and Advisers, shows nothing of real significance save maybe the fact that Brian Stockbridge is doubling up as Finance Director and Company Secretary. Also we have London PR advisers Newgate Threedneedle Limited which perhaps means the parting of the ways with Media House in what has been a long and incredibly rewarding relationship for Media House and Jack Irvine but one of such infinitive sorrow for those of us who hold the club close to our hearts.



    The section entitled Key Strengths and Opportunities gives an insight as to what the Directors think may be an avenue of additional income. The Rangers brand. A worldwide network of around 600 supporters clubs from Sydney to Los Angeles then it goes on to say 416 registered supporters clubs worldwide (wasn’t aware there were any unregistered clubs!) with over 17,500 members registered to purchase match tickets. 46 clubs in North America alone and the Club has over 43,00 registered supporters under the age of 18. The Directors expect us to remain loyal to the brand in future.



    Then there comes a paragraph entitled, The Club’s capacity for commercial activities in addition to gate receipts, or more simply more ways to milk the fans. They hold a database of over 715,000 registered fans with over 170,000 active email addresses and nearly 165,000 active mobile numbers, the Directors think there’s scope for using the database more efficiently which probably means we should prepare for an avalanche of PPI spam emails and texts.



    Then a paragraph about the Club’s playing squad. The Directors and the manager intend the club to return to top league Scottish football and to European Football as soon as possible, a quick glimpse at the bonuses they’ve (potentially) awarded themselves should remove any lingering doubts about that particular claim. We have apparently maintained a strong squad which the manager believes will be sufficient to secure promotion and also progress in cup competitions, we’ll I think there’s a touch of Mandy Rice Davies to that particular claim. Both the Directors and the manager are pleased with the performance of the squad so far this season, alas I don’t share that view but if I were looking forward to picking up the wads of filthy lucre that they will be then I’d have a smile on my face too.



    Then we come to Media opportunities

  3. Henriks Sombrero on

    Bada Bing – posts on Twitter as GlasgowLimmy. STV have him arrested by terrorism officers because of comments he made on a Zombie podcast.

  4. NegAnon2



    14:08 on 14 December, 2012



    Robinbhoy – excellent post – said twice for effect too




    I thought it was an echo. :)

  5. part 2 of article lifted from the others side media




    Then we come to Media opportunities but alas no sign of the £100m pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that Green previously espoused. Rangers.co.uk gets 800,000 hits a month with over 437,000 unique users a month making it Scottish Footballs highest ranking site (though the terminally deluded would have you think it was the Rangers Tax Case site (haha!) or it’s bastard offspring the Irish Football Prefect or whatever it’s called) whilst not being overawed by these figures I am nonetheless quite impressed but remain sceptical of how they will transform into cold hard cash. There are 280,000 followers on the official club Facebook page again quite impressive even for a Facebook phobic like myself. Taken alongside the clubs new ability to broadcast matches overseas and with the clubs existing brand the Directors believe modern media creates significant opportunities for the company which have previously been underutilised, that claim probably has some merit but again I doubt it will transform into lots of cold hard cash and it will be considerable time before it approaches the reputed £31m Murray screwed out of NTL.



    Stadium, facilities and hospitality. 50,987 capacity stadium owned by the club and contains shop, restaurants, function rooms and hospitality suites, up to 1500 hospitality punters on a match day. Will be used in the 2014 Commonwealth Games for the Rugby Sevens, that’ll work wonders for the pitch surface eh? Within 6 months of the float the shop will relocate to Edmiston House along with a bar, Ticket Office will move into the shop, I don’t think there’s a Bear who doesn’t welcome that. Intended investment in Murray Park but no details (fix the previous storm damage perhaps?)



    Page 67 is rather illuminating. For some bizarre reason Brian Stockbridge provide a £50k loan for the period of 24 hours. It also shows why the original Sevco 5088 Limited was abandoned for Sevco Scotland Limited.



    “On 11 May 2012, Imran Ahmad, a director of RFCL, provided a loan of £200,000. £178,000 was repaid on 15 August 2012 and £22,000 was converted into ordinary share capital of RFCL. Imran Ahmad also received an arrangement fee of £50,000 relating to this loan.”



    The first couple of dozen times I read that I kept waiting for Jeremy Beadle to jump out from behind the sofa then it dawned on me Jeremy is no more and what I was reading was not a joke! (It’s far from funny but it’s certainly one of the biggest piss takes ever!)



    So in exchange for £200k for 3 months and 4 days Mr Ahmed receives £28k cash profit and 2,200,000 shares valued at £1.54m, It would take IBM’s Big Blue to work out the interest rate on that.



    I hereby offer the Rangers board an identical loan on identical terms any time they so desire.



    It’s also strange why Imran Ahmed is not on the Board of Directors but I suppose he can console himself with the £350k annual salary plus bonus plus expenses (all nicely backdated to 12 June) for the newly created post of Commercial Director, perhaps by not sitting on the board certain disclosures that would have had to be made no longer don’t?



    Green despite his oft repeated claim to be paid only with shares after a successful flotation has in fact been paid since 12 June, a basic salary of £360k plus benefits plus expenses (plus £1600 per month for accommodation with all utilities and Council Tax thrown in) a bonus of 100% gross salary for getting out of the SFL even via a league reconstruction!, a 10% post IPO shareholding and options to the value of twice his salary, Green’s mouth is practically welded to the tit of RFC and is milking it for all it’s worth.



    Brian Stockbridge on a basic £200k plus benefits plus expenses, (he too gets a 100% bonus in the event we play in a different league) and a nice £500k worth of share options.



    Malcolm Murray on £50k per annum from 14 June but rising to £60k plus all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses reasonably and properly incurred fron the IPO.



    The non-executives Hart, Cartmell, and Smart are on £40k, Smith on £50k plus all receive all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses reasonably and properly incurred.



    That’s one hell of an expensive board for a 3rd Division Scottish football club, frankly it’s an absurd amount of remuneration and out of all proportion to turnover.



    Plenty money going to be made out of RFC but it doesn’t look like it’ll be Joe Punter making it but once those transients who have suckled from the tit of RFC ride onto the sunset their trouser pockets stuffed full of filthy lucre what then for Rangers?

  6. Rangers players and management visited yorkhill hosp yesterday..’ its so sad. “Some of their stories would break your heart’ said one child.

  7. Can I have a Raspberry, I know its hard ploughing through the lot of it but just read the last few paragraphs on Part2. Stupid Zombies.

  8. Corkcelt-The Hustle continues,wonder if anyone will ask Jabba to justify the sums involved………maybe not.

  9. !!bada bing!!



    14:43 on


    14 December, 2012


    Rangers players and management visited yorkhill hosp yesterday..’ its so sad. “Some of their stories would break your heart’ said one child.



    Made me laugh!



    Greetings to the Celtic family from Hong Kong airport! Flying home tonight.



    Cannae make the gem tomorrow as will be cream crackered but enjoy the game all who attend.



    Have some fun!




  10. Celtic Mac



    You’re right. Mc.Laughlin had the makings of a really good one.



    Add them all together and you have a whole generation of players lost to Celtic.



    However, I do believe that all managers, Fergie excepted, have a shelf life.



    There are only so many times the same old pep talk can motivate players and unless a manager can revise and develop new tactics, the game will pass him by.



    The days of the manager motivating players has, I believe, gone.



    When Bertie Vogts had his spell managing his National team, he remarked on how difficult it was to motivate multi millionaire players on a wet, winters night training session.



    This is, I think, where Celtic have won a watch.



    By appointing Jim Mc.Guinness, they have hired a man who doesn’t believe in motivating his players.



    He insists that players motivate themselves.



    He asks his players what do they want from the coaching staff and what do they want for themselves.



    He tells them to be the best that they can be and to do what is necessary to reach that level.



    Simple stuff, but therein lies the answer in motivating highly paid sportsmen.

  11. Citibhoy Shoulder to Shoulder with Neil Lennon on

    Celtic_First 14.15



    The highlanders fought as clans do – But it wasnt religous in nature.


    The religious divide in highlands came about after the passing of the Statutes of Iona in 1609 –


    A deliberate and largely successful plan to eradicate gael-dom and catholicism in the north and west


    KevJungle – MURDO’s 30 yds Title Winning Boots 1979


    13:33 on


    14 December, 2012


    Paul 67



    You didn’t mention that in Mr Stein’s last season, Celtic had just sold their best player to Liverpool for – £400k and gave Mr Stein – £90k to find a replacement ?


    Also….at the start of Mr Stein’s last season – in the opening league game v’s Dundee Utd…Celtic lost – Danny McGrain – Pat Stanton – Alfie Conn – through injury, all for very long periods. You see….the traditional Celtic FC trait of – cutting back the quality on the pitch and giving the manager peanuts to replace that quality was as much alive in those days as it is at present. imo


    Mr Stein was treated miserably by the Celtic board. No surprise there then !


    Only saying.


    Hail Hail



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~






    You are absolutely correct about the injuries Jock’s squad suffered that season,in addition we had lost George Connelly ,btw.



    Pat Stanton had been brought in to teach Roy Aitken,and Jock had to turn to Frank Munro.



    A lot of things went wrong for Jock that yea,r.



    The board were,indeed,very unforgiving.



    Especially when they fired Jock,then humiliated him.



    The board,of course,were led by DESMOND WHITE,whom you recently declared to be Celtic’s best-ever chairman.



    Your call,buddy.

  13. GlassTwoThirdsFull on



    12:53 on 14 December, 2012


    Rangers embarked on a risky tax avoidance scheme that they hid from the football authorities (and do not give me it was in the accounts crap)




    Seems like it wasn’t even all in the accounts – and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth. This is what Murray/MIH said when he was whingeing about the leaked info:



    “Importantly, Rangers Football Club plc did not have access to all of the material covered in the programme and letters.”



    So if their defence is that it was all in the accounts then they have just shot it down themselves!

  14. Just dropped back in to say…..






    14:58 on 14 December, 2012



    KevJungle – MURDO’s 30 yds Title Winning Boots 1979





    The board,of course,were led by DESMOND WHITE,whom you recently declared to be Celtic’s best-ever chairman.



    Your call,buddy.




    I think that your being a trifle extravagant with yer


    “Celtic’s best-ever chairman” bit.


    And….I’ve had this one out with ye before…and I won that one as well !


    If you recall…my comment was in reference to the GB’s stand-off with the cops


    and I opined that – if Celtic had a present day Desmond White for example…then maybe the stand-off would have been dealt with but, as it’s the – only yer money matters to us brigade – who presently run our club…the GB were forced to bhoycott


    2 home games to make their umbridge public knowledge. I’m not sure of the present state of play between – Thge GB and the cops – but I hope it’s been resolved as – CP without the GB = a Library. imo


    Also CP without the GB = A Library = a banana skin v’s St Mirren. imo


    Only saying.


    Btw, BMCUWP…I hope we’re still pals ? :o)


    I’ll be if You’ll be – CSC


    Hail Hail

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