Vincent's Blog: No Guarantee

Published on Monday 16th January, 2012 by Celtic Trust

he is really on a roll this time....

The old January transfer window debate

I’m sure it’s a complete coincidence that Neil Lennon was asked today to comment on whether or not he felt our failure to sign Stephen Fletcher in the January transfer window, contributed in any way to the fact that we lost the league to Rangers on the last day of the 2008 season. I had argued yesterday in this blog that the decision had cost us the League. Lenny responded by suggesting that even had we signed Stephen Fletcher at the time there was “no guarantee” we would have went on to win the League. The Manager is entitled to believe that. But I think he’s pulling the wool over his own eyes if he believes that many people within the extended Celtic family actually agree with him on the question of Stephen Fletcher. In fact I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t believe that by not investing in a striker in the January 2008 transfer window, we effectively handed the title to Rangers thus breathing new life into a club that was pretty much on its knees.

There may be one or two out there who, like Lennon, think the signing of Fletcher would have made no difference, it’s just I’ve never met one of them. We lost the League because in the last four games of the run-in our strikers scored precisely 1 goal between them.  I understand professional journalists and spokespersons in the employ of the club have a duty to the ‘party line’ whether or not they believe it. But I’m sure not even Paul Cuddihy or Tony Hamilton would risk their reputations by suggesting that our inactivity in the January 2008 transfer window was of no consequence in terms of where the trophy eventually ended up. If I’m honest, it sounds to me like Lenny may be trying to prepare us for a gentle landing in the event that the cheque books are kept in the drawer at Kerrydale Street on this occasion. If such turns out to be the case then I suspect there will be a lot of Celtic fans very unhappy at such an outcome. Particularly in the light of the fact that Lenny has been on record consistently over the past few months, on our absolute need bring in at least a central defender and a quality striker capable of immediately stepping into the first team. I think he’s right. We might even get away without bringing in a central defender given that we got Michael Lustig on a free but we really do need a quality striker ready to step into the team as we push on towards the title. That hasn’t changed because we’ve gone 2 points ahead of Rangers. Remember we were 7 points ahead of them going into January 2008.


A 'quality striker' I'm glad we didn't get

Speaking of quality strikers I’m delighted Robbie Keane has signed for Alex McLeish at Aston Villa, and won’t therefore be on his way back to our club. He was great for us whilst he was here and Keane has been a great servant of the Republic of Ireland national team. Football has been good to the lad from Tallagh.  Between transfer fees and massive wages he has earned way more than enough money from to live comfortably for the rest of his life regardless of how long he lives. He had a chance to stay with us when he was here 2 years ago. His ability and determination made him a hero with the Celtic support and we would have loved him to stay, win trophies and play football for a few years with the club he professed to love since childhood. Alas because the money wasn’t right or whatever, he turned his back on Paradise and has since moved to much more lucrative pastures, joining the Beckham circus in the sunshine of southern California with LA Galaxy. I’m sure he’s enjoying the sunshine and raking in the readies. I hope he’s enjoying it because I would have strongly objected had moves been made to bring him back for a ‘holiday break’ at Celtic. Such moves have a very disruptive effect on the squad.

 Whatever the short term gains from bringing in players for a couple of weeks or months it cannot but lead to resentment and ill feeling in the dressing room. This is quite understandable.  Especially amongst players who have been moved sideways in order to facilitate such moves. I’ve gone on record before as saying the principal reason I believe we lost Stan Petrov in 2006 just after he had signed a 5 year contract which would have seen him become club captain, was because he was left on the bench in order to facilitate another Keane, in this instance Roy Keane, who showed that his signing for Celtic was more about him than it was about Celtic. Regardless of who they are I don’t want people at the club who see it as an opportunity to live out a childish fantasy or ‘experience’ the Glasgow derby. I want players who want to be at the club because they want to part of our history, not because they want our club to be part of their history. That’s a fundamental difference. If after 5 or 6 years young players like Aiden McGeady or James Forrest wish to try their skills or earn more money in a more prestigious league that’s fine by me, but I have a very low tolerance for people who just want it on their CV or worse again come to us solely on the basis that we are a ‘stepping stone’ to something bigger and better. We are Celtic after all. That should be reason enough why any player who knows about the history of the game should be proud to be asked to pull on the hoops and to have their name alongside those of the legends.


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Thomas says:
2012-01-16 22:47:02

Vincent's blogs may not always be accurate but his points I find are more than often in thinking with most fans. To be critical of minor errors I feel dilute the credit which he deserves for contributing more than most .

GuyFawkesaforeverhero says:
2012-01-16 17:28:27

The posts on this blog are always interesting, but there are often basic errors which dilute the effectiveness of the point being made; e.g. Celtic won the league in 2008, our transfer window failure was in Jan 2009. It would serve the blog well to have posts proof-read.


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