In regards to the league, I think the chief executive of the SPL, Neil Doncaster, is doing a fine job so far and showing up his predecessors in how to run and evolve Scottish Football. So far, he’s already talked about expanding the league and now, he’s openly said that terracing at football grounds could be a real possibility.
Fantastic. Brilliant. Superb. Back-of-the-net. Throw in as many adjectives as you like, as I really believe this is great news. Not only is it a sure fire way of getting the fans back to football grounds across Scotland, but it will make games better with rowdy atmospheres.
I was at a St Pauli match last November, standing in an open terrace. Even though St Pauli won the match 2-1 at home to Dusseldorf, it literally was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever witnessed. The whole feeling about the place was like another world compared to back at home, and the fans were so relaxed while drinking their (non-alcoholic) beer. Without the stewards hassling you every two seconds for taking a picture or daring to sing a song, and without being cramped in a seat next to someone who literally wants to kill Georgios Samaras, it literally was the best game I’ve been to, atmosphere-wise. Such a change from a game at Parkhead…
Back on the field, I found it a little insulting, if anything, that Danny Shittu believes he is exempt from needing to go on trial for a chance to join The Hoops. For a player who couldn’t get into the Bolton team last season and was released from his contract, even though he had 12 months left on it, I think he’s being very petulant over this deal and if I were Lennon, would look elsewhere.
He said a recently: “I have some offers in England and some top ones too in Europe and I am confident that within a week, I will duly announce my preferred club.”
You would think this guy had a CV to that of Fabio Cannavaro, when really it’s closer to Kirk Broadfoot. For a man that has had previous clubs such as Watford, QPR and Bolton, you would think he really shouldn’t be in a position to demand on where he should go. And more to the point, you don’t get many chances to join a big club like Celtic, especially if you’re a somewhat average centre back such as Shittu, so you should drop the act and get on with winning yourself a deal.
I was sceptical at first about him joining, but pleased at the same time as it would mean Loovens is more than likely to be on his way come January, but I think it would be a bad move now given the way he has conducted himself publically over the deal. Plus, we still have Rogne to come back, so do we really need Shittu?
Finally, it’s 25 years to the day when the greatest manager of all time, Jock Stein, passed away. It was only fitting, really, that he passed away doing what he loved, and his legacy will never be forgotten in the footballing world.
Unfortunately, I’m too young to remember anything at all about the great man, but so can only relate to books and very old videos. But, instead of me rambling on about how he changed football for the better, here are some of my favourite quotes from the big man.
“I think it is important to win a match, but I think what is even more important is the manner in which you win.”
“The best place to defend is in the opposition penalty box.”
“If you’re good enough, the referee doesn’t matter.”
And finally, Stein’s inspiring pre-match battle cry was:
“If you’re ever going to win the European Cup, then this is the day and this is the place. But we don’t just want to win this cup, we want to do it playing good football – to make neutrals glad we’ve won it, glad to remember how we did it.”
(Jock Stein before the game 25th March 1967)
Rest in Peace, Jock.
For more about the great man (and anything else Celtic related), go to the fantastic Celtic Wiki.