Over the past few weeks, as managers names have come and gone in quick succession the usual foray of twitter luminaries have been quick to let us know why each candidate is “shit” and will have a style of play that will have us racing for the exit doors. As this usual mump fest began I recalled the chat back in the day with the dad of a mate who told me that a Martin O’Neil appointment would be the death of the club. The fans would never stand for his long ball game. With recent twitter comments I sat at the recent Ross County game, watched us pass, pass, pass and wondered; just what style do Celtic fans actually want and is the style relevant or do we just want to win?
No-one can deny that Martin O’Neil has been known for a more direct style of football. Equally no-one can deny that the MoN period was perhaps the most enjoyable of the last 40 years. Under Strachan, Lennon and now Deila, we have had managers who discussed the desire for a passing style of football. Under all three of these the most common problem was the frustrating domestic performances when teams came and sat in at Celtic Park. Under all 3 we would have 65%+ possession at Celtic Park and pass, pass, pass all day around 20 yards from goal but on some occasions struggle to even look like scoring. The question this leads to is; do we really want a passing game or do we just want a winning game?
Martin had a more direct style domestically. Get the ball into the final third quickly and then press onto the opposition from there. Our highly talented midfield kept the pressure on and the wonderful abilities of Sutton, Hartson and of course Larsson ensured the goals flowed, the trophies came and the fans roared. So what exactly are the fans looking for?
Yesterday I talked about the club’s desire to have a “bums on seats” manager who understood the Glasgow madness and that Moyes and Rodgers were the leading two candidates. I do not know if we’ll land our top two, but I would suggest that whilst these two would bring similar profile and stature to the management position they would bring very different styles of football. What style do the fans want most? I would suggest they want a winning team that does it in great style. Martin had the benefit of Henrik, the new man won’t but hopefully he can create new heroes from his achievements.
I’m no tactical genius and would defer to others on the specifics of the footballing styles of all potential candidates. With regards to what people say they want and what they actually want? I defer to Malcolm Gladwell;