July 12, 2010
Been a while since I got to post about Celtic, so I’ll make the most of the Ledley signing today.
Seems like Lennon is looking at some tidy players, and Ledley is a bit of a coup for him personally. Ledley has been linked with numerous clubs the past few months, so for him to choose Celtic really is fantastic news.
I’m quite pleased with the signing of Mulgrew too, especially for his dead-ball skills. Since first Nakamura and then Robson left, a dead-ball specialist has been a necessity for us to bring in, and the fact he plays in one of our weaker areas is also good news.
However, as far as both Bullard and Campbell go, enough is enough. Both have had several weeks to make up their mind, and now they are both just toying with the club and the fans. If these players consider Celtic to be a ‘last resort’ then we shouldn’t be after them, especially not with the squad that Lennon has inherited. Heart and desire was sadly lacking in Mowbray’s team, but if a player cannot even decide if he wants to play for the club in a four-week period, who is to say he can be depended upon to pull the club out when we’re in a hole? Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to rely on them on a cold Wednesday night at St Johnstone, let alone the white-hot atmosphere of the Old Firm derby.
Instead, Celtic need players who believe wearing the Hooped shirt is a privilege, players who will fight for the cause, players who the fans will love as much for their spirit as for their skills. This is something Mowbray clearly didn’t understand, but I don’t see Lennon having the same problem. Time to move on to other targets.
Finally, I’d just like to thank Artur Boruc for his five seasons at the club, and wish him all the best in Florence with his move to Fiorentina. You’ll always be welcome back at Paradise. However, the ‘Holy Goalie’s’ move will at least allow us to see the best of Lukasz Zaluska.
Next stop, another striker and a central defender. Roll on the new season.
OK, there’s a glitch in the matrix. Around this time last year, I was positively giggling in excitement at the prospect of Sol Campbell pulling on the Black and White shirt and running out for Notts. Now after that abysmal episode, and via former club Arsenal, it appears that Campbell is set to become an important part of my footballing life after all.
So how do I feel about Campbell at Paradise? Actually, providing he isn’t on a Bobo Balde style contract I’m quite happy. The club has been really struggling defensively, and has lacked a true commanding centre-half for a couple of seasons. Even at 35, Campbell still showed himself to be capable in the Premiership playing for Arsenal, so I see no reason why he couldn’t continue that at Celtic.
Look at our current list of central defenders and the one thing that is missing is experience. The two youngsters Thompson and Rogne have looked pretty decent, and with an experienced player like Campbell alongside them they will certainly develop quicker. After two seasons I’ve come to the opinion that Glenn Loovens isn’t any better than Gary Caldwell or Stephen McManus, and quite frankly that’s not good enough. I’m happy to give Hooiveld more time, but I think Loovens should be shown the door by the new manager.
But then we have to wonder who else is available. Lennon has publicly stated that he wants to bring Keane to the club on a permanent basis, but I honestly think that is simply a pipedream. Indeed, if that was going to happen he’d have been signed whilst still at Celtic Park, so I just don’t see it. Keane has been linked to both Aston Villa and Everton, and I think it is clear to see that we cannot match the financial clout of either of those two clubs.
However, I do see another 30 year old striker in the Premiership who isn’t getting a game, and could perhaps be tempted north. He has struggled with injury this year, and has been overlooked by his country for the World Cup. He’s also one of the top scorers in Premiership history. Guessed who it is yet? Michael Owen.
Unrealistic? I don’t think so. United will be looking to add to their front line this summer, and after Owen’s injury record they may consider cutting him off their wage bill. I honestly believe he’ll struggle to find a top 10 English club, yet Celtic could bring him in on a season-long loan or a free, and if we can keep him fit he’ll tear the SPL apart. Then there’s also the possibility of European football. One thing is for certain: if we can afford £3.8m for Marc Antoine-Fortune, we can afford Michael Owen’s wages!
Mind you, we may have our sights on another striker this summer, with Kris Boyd rumoured to make the move across the city. As much as I’d normally be against it, the amount of comedy us Bhoys will get out of it will make it worthwhile.
Mr Gilchrist, I’m looking at you…
October 30, 2009
So another week at Meadow Lane is over, and we’re all looking forward to the game against Shrewsbury tomorrow. But like most weeks following Munto Finance’s takeover, we’ve barely been out of the news.
Firstly, we had the confirmation of new manager Hans Backe, who will watch tomorrow’s game from the stands. Secondly, Sol Campbell brings the PFA into his fight with the club over a ‘gagging order’ (I’m sure this isn’t the first time Sol Campbell’s name has featured with the word ‘gag’ in the same sentence, but I digress…) and Peter Trembling has continued to outline his future plans for the club. I’ve described following this club as a rollercoaster in the past, and we seem to be picking up pace.
Sol Campbell’s refusal to sign the confidentiality agreement between him and the club threatens the remainder of his very career. After walking out on a five-year contract after a month, part of me can’t believe the cheek of the man. However, I have a bit of an ethical dilemma. I’m a firm believer in ‘freedom of speech’, so despite my outrage at the disdain he treated us Notts fans with, I have a great deal of sympathy with his argument, and believe he should be allowed to have his say.
I appreciate that in some businesses a confidentiality agreement is commonplace. However, football isn’t just any old business, and I have to admit to being intrigued as to his official reason for leaving. Whatever it is, I can only imagine it is about the club’s owners and the finances within the club. However, I would hope that the FA’s recent ratification of the takeover should dissolve any fears the club have of Campbell’s knowledge.
The other issue I have here is more long-term. What is to say these issues with Campbell won’t happen again with another top player further down the line? Will Campbell’s experience stop other players from signing for us? It isn’t quite a precedent, as there was a similar issue with Bobo Balde at Celtic, only he refused to leave, but it definitely isn’t commonplace. Obviously, we’ll only get the answers to my questions when we come to them, but it leaves a little doubt in my mind.
However, after reading the NEP’s interview with Peter Trembling, the doubt turns back into excitement. Trembling clearly believes that the club’s ambitions are attainable, and although we can’t see massive investment in the playing squad whilst we are in League 2, he does acknowledge the eventual target is to be challenging for the top 4 in the Premier League. I can’t help but pinch myself at that statement, considering we have almost lost our football league status in the last couple of seasons. Hell, I was at Meadow Lane against Bury in 2006, when we were minutes away from relegation! Now, the club are genuinely talking about competing for Champions League positions!
However, some of us fans (myself included) do need bringing back to Earth a little. We need to get to the big time first, which is where the new gaffer comes in.
Sven believes that Hans Backe is the man to get us there, and that’s good enough for me. Backe has already said he loves to play attractive, attacking football, which is music to my ears. Hopefully, that’ll start tomorrow with a good win against Shrewsbury and a place in the top 3 again come Final Score.
I hope we can welcome him with the loudest rendition of the ‘Wheelbarrow Song’ for many a year, and if just a few of you have the same level of excitement that I do, the atmosphere will be electric. And I can’t wait.
See you on the Kop.
October 9, 2009
Now then, I was hoping I’d get to blog about the new owners of Notts finally being ratified by the FA. As it is, there’s still a degree of uncertainty surrounding the club, some of which I’ll confess makes me feel uncomfortable.
Personally, the biggest issue I have is that I don’t know who the owners of the club actually are. Munto Finance, or QADBAK, or whoever they are is just a name. Whilst I really appreciate what they are trying to achieve, I think the fans would appreciate actually knowing who these guys are. Even Chelsea and Man City fans get to see their owners at matches, so I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
I’ve heard a few fellow fans unhappy that the owners aren’t English, or British even. Me, I couldn’t give a stuff where they’re from, but knowing who actually owns the club would be a massive step in the right direction.
Of course, now the ratification isn’t complete I better comment on the state of the team on the pitch hadn’t I? In my humble opinion, we’re doing OK. Now the Sol debacle is over (and he’s got another bunch of fans who hate him, nothing new there) I think the side is looking good. Rodgers scoring his first goals for us is a massive boost, although his subsequent arrest is something we could have done without.
Still, we picked up a good point at Cheltenham, and the side is still gelling. A lot has been said over the future of Charlie, but as far as I’m concerned, we’re there or there abouts with an almost entirely new side, which is an achievement. Come March-April time, we’re certainly good enough to be in that top 3, so it’s difficult not to be optimistic about the future.
However, I’m sure we’ll all feel a lot better when the FA finally confirm the takeover. Here’s hoping.