Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Celtic – An Omnishambles Of Gargantuan Proportions & Rangers Is There To Take Advantage

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Kenny Stewart
Chief Football writer for The 4th Official. Always honest and won't shy away from the truth.

Rangers fans celebrated on May 15th. Rangers went through the entire league campaign unbeaten. Invincible. A season that will live with me until the day I die. Nothing has come close to this in all my years of following Rangers. It might well be the best season I’ve ever enjoyed, to be honest. The season before ended prematurely with Celtic handed their zoom call title. No one cared much, and no one celebrated much either. Gift wrapped and sent to them via email shenanigans from Dundee to Glasgow.

The most irrelevant title in the history of world football. No one batted an eyelid, kid on celebrations, trying to believe they’d won 9 in a row and attempting to make it a marketable achievement.

Let’s be clear; they achieved nothing. They didn’t win that title; they were given it in the midst of corporate malfeasance, under the table deals and rousing speeches from Peter Lawwell, the man who thought he ran Scottish football. A man who presumed he and the club he ran were in total control of their destiny.

10 in a row was a given. Well, why wouldn’t it be after so many years of dominance? They were light years ahead of everyone in the Scottish game, weren’t they?

When Rangers returned to the top flight, they finished a whopping 39 points behind their city rivals. At that point, I thought my team could be years away from challenging for any major honour, never mind the league itself.

How times have changed. Celtic have gone from a club turning over in excess of £100 million to what’s beginning to look very much like half of that figure this year.

The downsizing of that business and the restructuring of their business model has been ongoing for a couple of years. The sales of their top players, the reduction of costs, and the attempt to reduce player wages have been quite clear to anyone with a healthy pair of eyes.

Not so last close season though. They went out and spent £20 million on player transfer fees and loan fees to bolster their squad. They went all in on 10 in a row and qualifying for The Champions League.

It didn’t happen for them. It imploded almost immediately. A catastrophic loss to the Hungarian Champions Ferencvaros at home in a 1 off knock out game in the 2nd round left them in a bit of a pickle.

That set the tone for a horrific season. I can still recall Lawwell sitting there with his head in his hands toward the end of that game. The realisation that there would be no pot of gold shovelled into their coffers had the old man in a terrible state that night.

I laughed. I laughed a lot that night as I knew it was their worst nightmare. They sold none of their player assets, and Neil Lennon admitted that a fair few in his squad didn’t want to be there and should leave.

None of them departed. Not 1. They then proceeded to play in the Europa League. 4 points and the worst defensive record that the competition had ever witnessed only compounded the thoughts of all Rangers fans. That lot weren’t very good at all.

A manager who’d obviously lost the respect of his playing squad, a CEO who had the audacity to tell us that Covid had affected his club more than any other. The fact that there were clubs being put through the trauma of not playing any football at all showed the arrogance and the delusional mindset of everyone connected to that football club.

Who do they think they are? This is a club that will turn over less than Rangers this year. I’m pretty certain of that. I have also heard that this is a club that’s ”requesting” their corporate hospitality clients to “contribute” to the cause by just giving tens of thousands of pounds to them. They are actively asking clients to donate money and lots of it to them on the basis that it will help them.

They are so self absorbed, so pious and sanctimonious that they genuinely believe businesses will just hand over that kind of money for nothing in return.

They’ve been putting it out for 3 months solid that they had their man to replace Lennon as the new Celtic manager. 3 months of “when not if”, even though Howe’s representatives said that certainly wasn’t the case. He even made a point of making sure to let other prospective employers that he had signed no deal and wouldn’t be considering any such proposal until the summer.

Well, summer came and off went Eddie Howe to… well, anywhere but Celtic.

It isn’t happening. It never was. They have been played like an old fiddle. Made to look stupid, naive and pathetic.

They’ve quickly turned their attention to Ange Postercoglou. Nope. I’ve never heard of him either, but he’s the new messiah apparently.

This is to take nothing away from the guy, by the way. I have no idea who he is, if he’s a good coach or manager or if he’s a complete non-entity.

He’s managing in Japan, and he’s been the Australian national coach. So I’m sure he knows his stuff, and I mean no disrespect to the man’s professionalism, but c’mon….

Eddie Howe
Eddie Howe File Photo File photo dated 07-03-2020 of Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. Issue date: Tuesday April 13, 2021. FILE PHOTO EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xMikexEgertonx 59163271

Eddie Howe. The known bottle merchant who got Bournemouth up to the EPL then succeeded in relegating them with the 12th biggest budget in English football to this 55-year old that literally, almost no one has ever heard of in Europe.

Glorious. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The new CEO is already under the microscope of extreme scrutiny. This is an appointment that is being received with anger and disbelief. The faithful few and few had their hopes pinned on the young English man that broke Financial Fair play rules year in year out while getting Bournemouth to the eutopia of the top flight of English football.

Howe is a myth; I wanted him to take the job as he wouldn’t have come up here without the agreement of a sizeable budget, and he would’ve blown it. All of it. I’m a bit disappointed in truth because if you get homesick in Burnley, you really are going to be petrified in Glasgow.

Big Ange it looks like it’ll be then for Celtic. I imagine they’ll attempt to sell anyone of any value, such as Edouard, Ajer and the most overrated Scottish player of the last 10 years, Christie.

Between them, they could get £20 million but not a lot more. Will the new manager, whoever he will be, get it all to spend? Not a single chance of that happening.

Rumours around that Howe sat in disbelief at how restricted his budget was going to be, you see. That’s the rumour, and that could very well be the reason he’s knocked this toxic chalice back.

If you know you don’t have the tools to fix a problem, you don’t attempt to sort it, do you, especially not when it isn’t your problem to fix, eh?

It cost Celtic over £80 million just to break even last season. Massive reductions in revenue have already happened with more on the way. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they announced losses of well in excess of £25 million for the year. As a PLC, that needs to be dealt with immediately by the new CEO.

They don’t have their troubles to seek. They are in the biggest hole I’ve seen them in since the early 90’s, and I genuinely see little to no way they can get out of this without downsizing more, reducing costs more, getting all their hefty earners out the door and replacing them with lower-earning, inferior players.

Doing that while being distinctly 2nd best is not going to go down well with the most self entitled fanbase on the planet. This is a club that have regularly told the rest of the world they’re “cash rich”, you know.

Let’s see how rich you are this summer then. If you’re selling all your prized assets and have the biggest rebuild seen in generations in Scottish football, show us all the colour of your money…

A club whose foundations have been built on sand, sinking into the depths of a depression that hasn’t been seen in Scottish football before. Don’t ever forget they revelled in Rangers’ misery years ago. They still cling to the notion that Rangers are badly run.

Too busy laughing at Rangers to see the road in front of them. It’s the road to Hell.

Peter Lawwell, the man that laughed at Rangers time and time again, even when he had the tarpaulin loyal filling the entire upper tier of his stadium or years back when he burst into stitches talking about Rangers selling Nikica Jelavic. He isn’t laughing now, is he?

The Celtic support has sat there for a decade, lording it over their city counterparts, presuming their team would witness domination for decades to come.

Steven Gerrard
Photo by Kirk O Rourke/Rangers RC/Shutterstock 11905002de Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard lifts the Scottish Premiership trophy alongside his backroom staff & players at Ibrox Stadium. Rangers v Aberdeen, Scottish Premiership, Football, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, UK – 15 May 2021 EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Meanwhile, in the Blue half of the city, we are looking forward to the new season with genuine optimism. Our 150th anniversary year where we have a year-long round of celebrations planned. New Edmiston House will help to fund the club for generations to come. We are Champions. One or two players will leave, I’m sure, but I’m confident we will replace them with quality.

Rangers have a magnificent management team, a fair few top-class players who are genuine assets if offers happen to come our way. This is a period of growth for Rangers. The investment given by board members and those behind the scenes has brought Rangers to a crossroads where the potential is now massive. I trust our board to make the correct decisions as they have done for the last couple of years.

Celtic, on the other hand, have blown it. Monumental mistakes have been made, and Rangers are in a prime position to take maximum advantage of the situation.

To the Celtic support.. you have nothing. You have no money. You have inferior players. You have no manager. You have to sell your best players. You have to fund a club that’s leaking money like there is no tomorrow. Your stadium is a mess. Your boardroom is a mess. Your players are a mess (Monday club, anyone?), your future looks bleaker than even I ever dreamed possible, and I knew the party line coming out of that cesspit was a lie.

It’s all gone. No league title, no cups, no trophies. All they have is hope. Hope that their new manager, whoever it may be, has a magic wand or that their club can grow money trees that will rectify the omnishambles Peter Lawwell has left them.

This is his legacy. He leaves Celtic in the biggest mess conceivable. With a business that’s about to submit record losses, with a team that finished 25 points behind Rangers. With an entire football club that needs restructuring from top to bottom. He’s been too busy trying to coerce Glasgow City Council into building them a hotel and pontificating about how important his club is to the city to even consider what’s been going on across the city at Rangers.

Men like Douglas Park, John Bennett and others have quietly and efficiently streamlined the inner workings of Rangers Football Club. They’ve put people like Stewart Robertson, Ross Wilson and James Bisgrove in place to protect the future of this wonderful institution. They’ve put their money where their mouth is and invested in Rangers and Rangers’ future well-being.

For that, I and every other Rangers fan will be eternally grateful. They have steered our club out of the wilderness and into the light.

Qualification for the Champions League on our 150th Anniversary would cap it all off. Having been in tears in March when we won the league then again on May 15th when we received the SPFL trophy, I will be in tears again if we achieve such heights.

If not, then it won’t be for lack of trying or a lack of investment that’s for sure.

Steven Gerrard has brought the players; our board has brought the investment. A match made in Heaven and Rangers are now in such a strong position to really stamp their authority home here.

The team from the other side of the River Clyde are in meltdown. From the very top to the rank and file. Threats of boycotting season tickets and the foolishness of pissing off their corporate investors only show the mess Celtic are in right now.

They went all in with nothing more than a pair of Jacks while pretending they had a Flush for years.

Rangers refused to do that. Instead, they built from the bottom up, kept their cards on the table and showed them when they were in the best position to do so.

The title belongs to Rangers; what a job Celtic have in trying to snatch it back. Of course, they may not do so for a few years yet, but I’m realistic, so I refuse to get carried away.

This is an incredible opportunity though, and what I trust those that run Rangers to do is not take their eyes off the ball and strengthen when they are at the pinnacle of Scottish football.

We’ve witnessed the hubris from Celtic; they won’t make the same mistake. I’m sure of that.

Editorial Note: Did you know this article was published days back on our exclusive Patreon page? If you love Scottish football and sick and tired of the same old biased MSM coverage, this is for you. The 4th Official needs your support. Due to the unprecedented situation as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the digital media space has been completely devastated. There has been a massive shortfall in revenue (even while viewership is up) as we scramble how to make sure that we go on with our daily job. We are proud to put up exclusive stuff on Scottish football as well as an early release of our podcast interviews with relevant personalities of the game (recent guests have been David Martindale, Matt Polster, Greg Docherty, Daniel Stendel & a lot more) on our Patreon account and hope you would support us in these tough times. We have supporters from atleast 9 countries, and you can be too by chipping in just £2.99/month (or you can avail this limited time offer of becoming an annual patron by getting 2 months extra content). Become a proud Patron of The 4th Official!

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