With the season just about underway, we find ourselves in perhaps the strangest, yet not uncommon, match up. By this of course I am not referring to being drawn against a club currently being aided in goal scoring terms by one of our own, albeit that does seem like something of a major oversight by the club. No, I am talking about the fact that already I have witnessed TWO separate arguments dividing the support.
Social networking has without doubt been a fantastic tool for bringing fans together. It allows the interaction between like-minded supporters as well as giving a platform for debate. However, like everything in society today, for every sensible point, there are a dozen blinkered views.
Recently on several Facebook pages aimed at Celtic supporters I have found myself involved in discussions with other Celtic “supporters” who all seem to want to complain about the club’s transfer policy. These are fans that are unhappy that the sales of Wanyama and Hooper have not been followed up with the unveiling of a superstar signing. I’m sorry, but for me, that’s naivety of the highest order.
It is now widely accepted that the club’s policy is buy young and cheap, sell for profit. The days of wasting money on Jarosik, Gravesen, Juninho, Ljungberg and Roy Keane, are gone. And to be honest, given that list, I think it’s not a bad thing at all. So all the talk of going after Jermain Defoe and the likes is just ridiculous. We must accept the market within which we operate. The only way we can tempt these big names is with huge wages and that is something we simply cannot afford to do. Peter Lawwell has been extremely clever in the past in terms of financial controls of the club. Many folk will point to the Steven Fletcher incident, where perhaps offering half a million pounds more would have secured us a title, however a lot has to be said for the fact that they had a valuation and refused to pay over that. Most times that will work, unfortunately the odd occasion it won’t.
It has to be accepted that although we made great profit last year, that money doesn’t last forever and we need to sensibly budget hereon in. I believe that a lot will depend on our Champions League progression. If we fail, then the money generated from the sales will offset the lost income, whilst still leaving us with a squad worthy of winning the new Premiership.
Another common name mentioned by supporters is Johnny Russell. It appears to be felt that the club “missed a trick” there. I must admit I liked the player and did feel that he would add something to the squad. The key phrase there, the squad. He would not have been in ahead of Stokes or Samaras and indeed his addition may have affected the progress of Tony Watt. The fact that he ended up at Derby and not an EPL club possibly indicates just how highly, or not, he is rated by those in the know in the football world.
We then move onto my main pet hate in this topic, when supporters start clambering for us to sign up players, that until the newspapers linked us to them, we would have little or no knowledge of. Rudnevs of Hamburg does not seem to be coming. All of a sudden this is a major fail by the club??? Who knew and was screaming out for us to go after this guy 2 months ago???
Football fans are, in the main, a bunch of reactionary animals. We all are, myself included. However if it gets to September 3rd and we have not made the group stages of the Champions League and no new signings have come in, then it’s fair to criticise. At the minute we are on course on the pitch and there are still 5 weeks left of the transfer window, so panic not.
Now the second and perhaps most explosive divisive issue is that of the behaviour of our supporters.
In my last article I wrote of the need to behave better as a support. We are one home game into the new season and already the club are facing sanctions from UEFA. The area of the ground involved houses the Green Brigade. It doesn’t necessarily mean that those involved are members of the group. However if the GB want that area then there is a need for some self-policing within. They will be aware that anything that happens there will be attributed to them. The worst thing about the defence of these actions is that it was fireworks. No political message, no stance against what we feel is unfair treatment, nope, just idiotic behaviour. We all know that fireworks are prohibited inside a ground, so why bring them? This whole, “No Pyro, no Party” thing is just nonsense. We are there to support Celtic Football Club, not land them in trouble. However, blind support of idiots still exists.
What makes it worse is that it came only a few days after our support being wrongly accused of singing abhorrent and sick words. We rallied around and accepted the fact that our foes were doing their best to paint a picture of our support which would taint our reputation. We showed the outside world that we deserve the credit which is often given to us.
My concern is that the behaviour is slowly deteriorating. From the unnecessary pitch invasion at Brentford, through the pro IRA songs in Cliftonville, to this. In a time when others try to shoot us down, we are loading the gun.
I am ALL for the good that the GB and other passionate fans do on match days. However there is one key factor that must be remembered. We are Celtic supporters. Everything we do is to help the team and the club, not any of our own childish, toys out of the pram, desires.
I hope that in coming weeks and months Celtic feel no backlash from this and that mid-September we are all watching Champions League football in a full Celtic Park, not on telly in an empty stadium due to UEFA closing the doors. And who knows maybe even with a few new faces in the squad??
The Newton Sammy (@TheNewtonSammy)