When asked why he signed him, MON replied “Because he’s better looking than me” (which set the light-hearted tone for most of the proceedings. He went on to say that he’d first seen him at Euro 2000, which he knows contradicts a statement he’d made before the tournament about seeing players over just a few games, but he believes that “Yoss” will be a major asset, and is strong and competitive.
Snidey Chic Young at this point said “So you’ve got the BBC to thank for finding him.” MON looked him straight in the eye and said “No”.
When asked about Valgaeren’s participation on Sunday, MON said that he hadn’t made his mind up about the team yet. Cue negative question from Davie Provan to Joos, “Will you be disappointed if you don’t play on Sunday?” The big fellow handled the question very well, talking round in a circle which basically said no.
Valgaeren is certainly a confident individual and he speaks very good English (that should screw up Stubbs’ excuses, eh?) When asked what he would bring to the side, he started by congratulating Martin O’Neill on signing him. He then said “I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m young” and grinned. Earlier on he’d described himself as “a sportsman, and I want to win.”
Soon though, the Laptop Loyal really moved into overdrive. Here are three examples…
1. He was asked about talking to Rangers players before deciding to join Celtic. He looked back blankly, so the hack pushed the point again, saying that he understood that he (Valgaeren) had spoken to the Dutch contingent at Ibrox. The big fellow still wasn’t following this, so MON stepped in to say that Joos *knew* players at Rangers, but hadn’t spoken to anyone. Valgaeren then expanded to say that he knew Numan but that was all. He hadn’t spoken to him.
2. “Did you ever play against Michael Mols?” was another question. “Yes” said JV. “So how did you do against him?” enquired Mr Hack. “I played against him but I don’t remember him,” replied Joos.
3. It got more tenuous. “It looks like your international team-mate Emile Mpenza isn’t going to join Rangers. Are you glad about that?” “Well, maybe I’ll get to play against him in European competition,” responded the laid-back Belgian.
MON and further signings
MON admitted to making an offer for Lennon and confirmed that Leicester had refused it. MON’s attention is now fully on the Dundee Utd game, so nothing else will happen until Monday.
He also admitted talking to George Burley, but Richard Wright was just one name that came up. When asked about Bosnich he eventually said “Ask me again on Monday”. Take from that what you will. He took a wee swipe at the press during this session, chastising them for all the names they had come up with. “Eventually I’m going to sign someone and it’ll be a name you revealedin February or something, and you’ll be saying ‘see I told you so.’”
He showed himself adept at the put-down actually. Doggie McDonald, of Radio Snide, asked him what he would consider to be success this season, at which MON rolled his eyes and said “You’ve asked me that fourteen times”. Everyone in the room had a good chuckle at that. He did still take the time to answer the question, too.
Steve Walford has joined up and was involved in training today. MON wanted him because he’s a very good coach and he’s worked with him for a considerable length of time. “Go and ask the Leicester players what they think of him”, he said.
It seems likely that John Robertson will join, too, but sadly his wife has just had a miscarriage. JR is meeting with Leicester today to talk over his future.
Tommy Burns will remain on the coaching staff. MON was very appreciative of all the help and assistance TB has given since he was appointed.
And that’s about it. There was just time for one final question, when the excellent Glenn Gibbons asked MON what the most discouraging thing had been since he took the job. MON’s answer was…being misquoted in the press.
Somehow, Martin, I think you’re in for a lot more of that before the season is out.