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.

Ordered the CQN Annual yet? Get it here in time for Christmas!

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. corkcelt



    Good post



    I mentioned yesterday that Crazy Chuck appearing on SSN ranting about apologies from the SPL etc was a clear sign that the share issue isn’t progressing as well as he would like



    If this issue is not a success then an administration event looms. If it is a success then they are going to be fleeced bigtime



    More hilarity beckons in circa 6 months time imo

  2. Can I have-Was out with Duff and B Rice amongst others last night,oh the Glesgae banter was flowing.

  3. OG-if you or I hadn’t paid £10 mil in Tax,NI we would currently be sewing mailbags in the Bar L

  4. Can I Have-He was on good form,desperate to escape the FB,about 18 months to go,a few health checks but nothing too bad.

  5. The European Club Association has confirmed that Rangers remain as members of the organisation but that their status has been downgraded following the transfer of ownership.



    Following administration and the subsequent transfer of assets to a newco owned by Charles Green’s consortium, Rangers lost their place in the Scottish Premier League and were later admitted to the third tier of the Scottish Football League.



    The ECA is the sole independent body recognised by UEFA and FIFA as representing clubs at European level. Ordinary members of the group are required to be playing in their domestic top division and be licensed to play European football.



    Rangers do not hold a UEFA club licence as a result of a break in their accounts and, having lost their top-flight status, are no longer ordinary members of the ECA, the organisation confirmed.



    “Rangers FC held ordinary membership with the ECA before entering into administration and later into liquidation,” an ECA spokesperson confirmed to STV.



    “Meanwhile Rangers FC, owned by the Rangers Football Club Plc, transferred all its assets, including its goodwill, to Sevco Ltd (Sevco Ltd later changing its name to the Rangers Football Club Ltd)



    “Alike at Scottish FA level, this ‘new entity’ had to re-apply for membership with ECA as according to Swiss law, membership of an association is neither heritable nor transferable (article 70.3 of the Swiss Civil Code).



    “In dealing with these re-application, ECA applied the terms and provisions of our membership policy and statutes.



    “According to the prerequisites set out in the membership policy, Rangers FC did not meet the requirements to be granted ordinary membership (top division and European licence).



    However, Rangers are permitted to hold associate membership, which holds no voting rights, as they are one of the founder members of the ECA. The organisation considers the club’s history to be continuous regardless of the change of company.



    “With regards to associated membership, the membership policy states amongst others that founding members are granted automatic membership,” the spokesperson explained.



    “Taking into account that the ‘new entity’ also acquired the goodwill of the ‘old entity’, it was held by the ECA executive board that the goodwill, taking into account legal and practical arguments, also included the history of the ‘old company’.



    “Consequently it was concluded that Rangers FC was entitled to associated membership of ECA as considerer to be a founding member.”

  6. “Taking into account that the ‘new entity’


    also acquired the goodwill of the ‘old


    entity’, it was held by the ECA executive


    board that the goodwill, taking into


    account legal and practical arguments,


    also included the history of the ‘old





    So the SPL tribunal are within their rights to punish Sevco over the dual contracts seeing as they bought the history of the club and are being treated as one and the same.



    Another own goal by the zombies. lol!

  7. Chuck is playing them like a fiddle, I lurk on a couple of their sites and in the last couple of days I am just getting the sense that a few of them are getting a little uneasy. All the Bravado and Triumphalism and hailing of Chuck as their Messiah has watered down a bit. I believe they will be lucky to raise 3 million from the fans, I am also very doubtful of the list of Institutional Investors, as the guy who wrote the analysis I copied & pasted said, are they Investing themselves or are they a front for one of the original cabal, who could well be playing a game of Financial Hokey Cokey, “you put your one million in, you take your one million out.”……

  8. Can i have-You could be right,maybe Jabba in to smooth the way “unfinished business ” bollox on the way?

  9. bournesouprecipe


    14:48 on


    14 December, 2012


    In 1955 Celtic lost the Scottish Cup Final replay against Clyde 0 -1



    “ It’s no loss what a friend gets”



    Sir Robert Kelly CFC






    Getting your SC Finals mixed up here if you will permit me.



    Bob Kelly was referring to the 1961 Final replay against Dunfermline, who were managed by big Jock.




  10. Tit Jack Irvine tweeted he was stuck on a plane due to a firearm going off at Glasgow Airport.



    Then had to say it was, er, a fire alarm.



    Good to see accuracy is still highly important at Media House.

  11. Good article on Stein Paul67.



    In an interview with Peter Rafferty after beating Hibs 6-1 Stein commented:



    “Let’s take stock of the season, we won the League championship and the Scottish Cup and we were in the final of the League Cup and were not beaten in any of the European Cup matches. I think we did all right.”



    He was aware that the stars of 67 were on the wain and most would soon move on but in his understatement to his friend Peter Rafferty he got his dig in to those journalists who were dying to put the knife into Celtic.



    The more things change, etc.

  12. For what it’s worth, here’s my investment portfolio for tomorrow.



    QPR, 7-5


    B’burn 14-5


    Brighton 10-11


    M’boro Evens


    Carlisle 21-10 (this is the dodgy one)


    Rochdale 7-4,


    Dun. U 5-4.



    £1335 back for £2.



    A waste of £2 no doubt!



  13. Bournesouprecipe


    You know that sinking feeling, that gut wrenching ache when something really tragic happens to Celtic. Think losing in extra time to Feyenoord with Billy desperately trying to claw the ball away from danger. Or the Kai Johansen Scottish Cup Final goal well against the run of play. Or the 1960 Cup Final loss to Dunfermline- a game we dominated from beginning to end and lost 2-0. Losing to Raith Rovers in the League Cup Final at Ibrox.Seville was hard to take but eased by the pride of what Celtic showed on and off the park. Losing to Barcelona with the final kick of the ball is the most recent live example of the phenomenum.


    Well thanks Mr B for reminding me of my first Scottish Cup Final. My Dad wouldn’t take me to the 1954 Final against Aberdeen ( we won 2-1, thanks Sean ) because he claimed he couldn’t look after 2 youngsters in such a large crowd. He made up for it by taking me next year to the 1955 Final against Clyde. We had the cup in our grasp till a crazy Celtic moment saw us concede a goal direct from a corner at the Celtic end. I was on a barrier in the North enclosure. I was 7 years old and devastated. Along we trudged to an early afternoon kick off midweek at a drizzly Hampden. We lost 1-0 in an insipid match and I can still recall the dull ache of defeat that day. The long drizzly walk from Hampden to the Gorbals will never be forgotten by me.


    As well as the many great highs of being a Celtic supporter over 60 years those as some of the scars. I guess we never really can enjoy the ecstasy without the pain.

  14. Parkheadcumsalford



    – > the modern day Netherlands is probably the most agnostic/atheist/secular country in the world. Religion is simply something the majority of under 40s don’t identify with at all. Churches of all denominations are now in very short supply – the majority have closed, or been turned into apartments, restaurants, shops, galleries etc etc. The Dutch frankly couldn’t care about god these days. Of those who remain religious, catholicism is the largest denomination in the country, followed by the dutch reformed church.

  15. Hi Paul67,



    Interesting points on both Messers Stein and Wenger.



    Big Jock inherited a huge squad which he culled, he kept the best, polished some rough diamonds and added some real quality.



    That team was brilliant as was the tactician pulling the strings.



    There were as many pre-Stein Celts playing Feyenoord as played Inter in Lisbon.



    He supplemented this team with the quality street kids but these ghuys were sold off and he was never afforded the chance to replace the retiring and transfered players.



    Although I was a young teenager in a foriegn land at the time it seemed to me that Jock Stein was never he same after the car accident.



    Arsene Wenger is half a dozen seasons too long at Arsenal.



    Noticed he said this week that the FAPL was much better than a few Seasons ago.



    There was a pundit last week (can’t remember whom) said that a team pcked from the players Wenger has sold would walk the League.



    On this I’m with the pundit.



    Hail! Hail!

  16. Tallybhoy



    Not at all apologies if it’s the wrong game – my Celtic source on these older matters well before my time is usually impeccable perhaps he Bob Kelly said it twice, may ole Bob said it everytime we lost (⊙_⊙)



    Anyway, there’s always the one about Sir Bob seeing the young reserve goalie standing at the bus stop on his way to Celtic Park, and then subsequently telling Jimmy McGrory to put the young boy in the first team.



    Then there was that 1955 Cup replay where Bobby Collins was dropped from the Saturday for making a challenge on the Clyde keeper that Sir Robert didn’t think was ‘Celtic like’.



    Celtic and Clyde at one time were very friendly and the ole lemonade manufacturers Dunns were in charge of Clyde.



    Makes you want to go and see the Celtic, when Saturday comes.



    Folklore CSC

  17. Marrakesh Express on

    Reading Paul’s article brought back great memories (Leeds) and also my worst memory as a Celtic fan (Feyenoord). I know some will saying losing the leagues of 2003 and 2005 was unbearable, but one Scottish league title or for that matter six, are not as important as being the Champions of Europe.



    After we beat Barca I said that it was our best result since beating Leeds Utd in both legs, 1970. I remember the sheer magnitude of this encounter. Leeds were probably the best English post war side, clinical, tough and skillful, with no weaknesses. The English press gave us no chance. This Leeds side were invincible as far as they were concerned and I dont even think they had lost a goal before meeting Celtic. My old man got 5/1 with the bookies at Elland Road.



    Billy Bremner said years later that Revie did not underestimate Celtic and neither did any Leeds player. He knew Stein was a genius and so it proved. Bremner spoke about the game at Hampden years later on sky and said that Celtic were too good and that nobody could have handled the wee man that night. The following day my secondary school was one big sing-song. We were European Champions again…. May 6th 1970 was the last time I cried after a Celtic game.



    That fantastic night at Hampden was the zenith for Jock Stein’s Celtic in my book. We were the best team in Europe over the period 1967-70 but in 71 Ajax came on the scene and with Cruyff they were maybe just ahead of us a little. Anyway I’m content knowing ny club has reached the summit and its great to have experienced it.




  18. Posted a mail out update for the CQN ANNUAL earlier today just before Paul posted today’s blog We have today posted the CQN ANNUAL Celtic supporters in Cork, Seattle, Joonalup, Western Australia, Blantyre, Strathaven, East Grinstead, Bearsden, Clydebank, Alexandria, Leeds, Kent, Milton of Campsie, Edinburgh, Chigwell, Essex, Liverpool, Cults, Lochgoilhead, Livingston and Rutherglen. Another batch to go out this afternoon – can only carry so many! It isn’t too late to order your copy in time for Christmas – buy direct from CQN using this link:




  19. Stein was the greatest but having said that he was human and made mistakes before his accident.



    I thought that one of his biggest errors was selling 29-year old Bobby Murdoch to Middlesbrough.



    Something that a Boro fan I knew thought was a gift from God.

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