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Football News: Time For A Rebuild At Celtic

Time For A Rebuild At Celtic
Image from: thehardtackle.com

Recently there has been a lot of talk about Ronnie Deila and whether or not he is at fault for Celtic's recent struggles in European football. Like in most things, the answer is never as simple as blaming one man. In this case it is not even as simple as blaming one part of the club, as it is clear that the whole club is failing the fans that spend their hard earned money to see their team be competitive.

Celtic have become a business run to earn money for the owners, rather than a sports team run to be the best it can possibly be. No longer is the club investing all the money earnt into the best players they can afford to sign, now it is about selling players for profit and investing as little as they can possibly get away with. So long as there is no real competition in the Scottish Premier Football League, the board will continue to run the club the same way.

 

Each season they will point to the league trophy as the evidence their approach is working, while each year they slip further and further away from being able to be competitive on a consistent basis in European football. There is no issue with having to sell your best players to the bigger clubs when big money is offered, the issue is how the money is used. It needs to be invested back into the club, not used to line pockets.

There are a number of major issues that are clear for all to see, even if you forget about the ridiculous success bonuses being paid for winning a one team league, while failing to be the one team to pick up the domestic cups. Is winning the league really worthy of a success bonus right now? I fail to see how that can be considered as any more than the absolute minimum demanded of the team, and it should be treated as such.

 

Instead the club should be focusing on overhauling the scouting system, which seems to be unable to find a decent up and coming striker to sign, despite having made numerous attempts to do so. When you are a club required to continually replace your best players, who are all there simply as a stepping stone to the higher levels, then your priority is to replace them, so a top class scouting network has to be one of the main priorities. If you continually replace top players with average ones, then it is only a matter of time before you are overtaken even by clubs that are maintaining their level. Standing still in football leaves you falling behind the rest, Celtic are currently going backwards, so where does that leave them?

As well as improving the scouting system, the youth academy needs a massive rebuild, as currently it is producing players that simply are not good enough. It, like so many youth academies in Britain, seems to be focused on producing players with the physical attributes to play professionally, rather than the technical attributes. Why? Physical attributes can be improved through hard work, the right lifestyle and just through playing football regularly. They are something that should not be focused when the players are in the academy, as basic fitness will be achieved and maintained purely through the exercise involved.

 

Teach the players how to play football, technically and mentally work with them while their body is growing and filling out naturally. Pick the players based on their ability and technique, not their build as children, as so often happens, as you never know for sure which ones will turn out to be the big, strong and tall adults anyway. If you can produce players of excellent technical ability, then you can use them to replace the players you sold, while continuing to maintain the level you are at, instead of falling behind the rest of Europe.

How many players have the Celtic academy produced that are now playing in one of the top leagues in Europe? Regularly playing, I am not sure there is one. I certainly can not think of one who is first choice, which is worrying for a club famous for a European Cup winning side which entirely consisted of local players. I know people will look to blame lifestyle for the issues, too many fatty foods or games consoles to get the kids out playing football, but that is a misnomer. Kids still want to play sports, it is just that the opportunities to play are no longer there. Every street is lined with cars, so they are screamed at if they kick a ball in the street, etc, so it is up to someone else to provide those opportunities.

 

Celtic could easily provide those opportunities, and not, like so much of their academy is seen to be, as a moneymaking exercise, but as a subsidised activity to help their local community. Is that not the ideal Celtic as a club was founded on? To help the local community? Sometimes you have to stay true to your roots and hold on to your identity, those bits of it that make you different, special even, compared to others. Imagine how the antipathy in Glasgow, between the two main clubs, would wane, if every kid grew up being provided with a cheap place to play football due to Celtic? They will not all end up being Celtic fans, nor should anyone want that, but at least that bitter hatred that so often turns to violence might finally begin to lessen and even die out in time.

The final thing, that could be done to help the club in the long term, is reduced ticket prices. Such an obvious step, but vitally important. The only time the tickets should not be as low as possible is when the club needs the money to invest in other areas to make the club more competitive, not when it is being used to line the pockets of directors and executives. Improve the ground and make it as large as can be filled, maintained continously in the best order possible, then keep the ticket prices down as low as you can. The fans are the lifeblood of any club, they deserve to be treated with respect, not as cash cows to be milked.

Written by Tris Burke October 26 2015 06:28:00