Celtic Diary Wednesday September 12: Suspicions About SFA Motives
The SFA finally came out yesterday and gave us the news we’ve all been waiting for.
They’re not going to leave Hampden after all, and are going to buy the place outright for £5m. Half of that money is coming from Lord Willie Haughey, who , along with sir Tom Hunter,for some reason, has decided to help with the purchase.
£5m ? Seems a little less than the market value, but Queens Park have explained that the guy who valued Ibrox for David Murray (over £100m, if you recall ) wasn’t available and wasn’t a surveyor anyway.
Its a single use structure, and they haven’t got planning permission for houses…yet. Which, of course, was factored into the price.
Ian Maxwell, the CEO at the SFA, said, without a hint of shame or irony;
Our mission is to inspire a nation to love the game and having a home that we can call our own is an important part of that,”
“While we are now committed to Hampden Park we also recognise that it needs to change. We have heard the fans’ views throughout the process and agree with them that we need to improve access, transport links and the overall experience. We are committed to doing that.
“With that in mind, we need all of Scotland to pull together to make it Scotland’s national stadium. We have heard many voice their support for the stadium. We need collective action, driven by the Scottish FA, to ensure it remains the beating heart of Scottish football.”
Effectively, he wants us to stop moaning about it. He likes his new office, and has no intention of moving to Edinburgh, as it would add almost an hour on his daily commute.
The real problem is not actually Hampden, its the people that work there, those on a mission not to inspire us to love the game, but hell bent instead on running it for their own benefit, and the benefit of those who covered up the problems at one of their clubs that went into liquidation.
As for the cost, it does seem a little low, although there are apparently £19m of liabilities in the deal as well. Though I’m reliably informed that they will probably be dumped on the old company, or something.
Thats what usually happens when stadia change ownership in Glasgow.
As for the involvement of Lord Haughey and Sir Tom Hunter, thats more of a mystery, as businessmen only tend to put money up when they expect a considerable return, and as yet, there are no plans for a new housing estate in the area.
If it was an altruistic gesture, an unpopular stadium and an organisation plagued by accusations of corruption seems an unusual choice when there are so many other ways to spend money for the good of society.
And why hasn’t anyone asked why the SFA needs help with the purchasing costs ? Its a strange deal, but then again, its the SFA, who tend to be a little bit less than transparent where their business is concerned.
As for the ground, and the whole Hampden experience, Scott Brown, Celtic and former Scotland captain, said;
‘Do I think staying at Hampden is the right move? No! Hampden is possibly one of the worst stadiums I have played in for atmosphere.
‘For Scotland, I think we should be playing at Celtic Park, Ibrox, then the smaller games – when you only get 17,000 crowds – should be at Hibs and Hearts.
‘The bigger games could be at Murrayfield as well. We have some great stadiums here but we choose to use the wrong stadium for a football match.’
So, its not great to play in, its certainly not great to spectate in, and its a nightmare to get to…but , as former manager and sectarian karaoke singer Craig Brown said..
“what the fans don’t see is the hydro pool and the indoor warm up area”,
Its not really surprising the SFA have decided to stay there, is it ?
Anyway, new SFA boss Maxwell needed a deflection, as the Tax justice Network revealed..
He has yet to reply, which again, is no surprise.
Mikael Lustig might have some explaining to do to his manager when he returns to the club after international duty.
He has admitted to playing on through an injury he got during the recent Sweden international with Turkey;
“It (the injury) was quite expected really. I already knew it in half-time. It started to cramp and I knew already in half that it would only take a few minutes.
“Had it been a training match I would not have played. But I trained two days before and it felt so good.”
Something probably got lost in the translation there, but it seems he knew he was going to get cramp and played on regardless.
Brendan isn’t going to be pleased, and may well follow up his initial interest in Kilmarnock right back Stephen O’Donnell with renewed vigour.
And Tony Ralston has been told not to make any plans for Friday night, as he’s working..
In fact, Friday may well see a new look Celtic, of sorts, as the second phase of the season begins.
Filip Benkovic could make his debut , and we might even see a new , all action 3-2-3–1-1 set up, with both Oddsone Edouard and Leigh Griffiths featuring.
That would mean Celtic starting with something like this..
Gordon, Benkovic, Boyata, Teirney, Brown , Ntcham, Forrest, MacGregor, Tierney Griffiths Edouard.
Ryan Christie should feature as well, now that he’s up to speed after his wee break up at Aberdeen. If Leigh Griffiths is injured, he may even get the nod behind Edouard, who at £9m is certain to start.
With the exception of Benkovic, here for 12 months to , well, I don’t quite know what he’s here for, but its probably around £40,000 a week, the recent transfer window seemed to be one of those with the future in mind.
Token Manchester city loannee Daniel Arzani is a bit of a mystery, though, as he featured in all of Australia’s World cup games. He’s not in the Europa League squad, and as a result , is unlikely to feature in the first team any time soon.
Having moved halfway around the world to come to Celtic, thats not exactly a surprise, and it is a two year loan deal, so there’s no rush. Its unlikely his fitness will be at the level of his new team mates, and as he hails from the land down under, he will find things different
Its a wild place, with sometimes unbearable living conditions, and there are all sorts of nasty creatures that can harm you.
Australia is just as bad, so at least he should settle in soon.
Not that the Scottish media would have you believe that, however, and the Australian national team manager, who has said he’ll pop by and say hello, is, according to our diligent hacks, concerned about his man..
The Evening Times, unsurprisingly, reported it as …
Australia manager Graham Arnold to meet Brendan Rodgers this week to discuss Daniel Arzani’s Celtic future
…rising star Arzani, signed by Celtic last month on a two-year loan from Manchester City, will be a hot topic for Arnold after the 19-year-old winger was left out of the Hoops’ Europa League squad.
Sounds ominous…so what is troubling the Aussie boss ?
“Young Daniel is in great shape. He’s looked excellent in training.
“I will be in Scotland on Wednesday or Thursday. I’m meeting Brendan Rodgers and probably will find out more [about Arzani’s progress].
“I do know Celtic rate him very, very highly.
“The kid has only been there two weeks and needs a little bit of time to let him settle. I’m sure the plans Celtic have will be great for him.”
Oh, its not ominous at all, but thats the Evening Times for you.
The same story appeared on The World Game website…
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will meet with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers and Brighton manager Chris Hughton, as he jets off on a whirlwind trip to Europe aimed at building relationships with the club coaches of Australia’s biggest stars.
The former Sydney FC boss has just completed his first training camp in charge of the national team and has set aside the next few weeks to build strong relationships with the clubs of his Socceroos players.
Arnold will fly to Scotland on Wednesday to meet with Rodgers, with the progress of mercurial midfielders Daniel Arzani and Tom Rogic likely to be a key topic of conversation.
Joining Arnold on the worldwide charm offensive will be his Socceroos coaching assistant as they set out to lay the right foundations to avoid any potential conflicts between club and country.
“I feel one way to make life easier for the players and for ourselves is to make strong connections with the clubs in Europe,” Arnold said.
“They own the players and we are borrowing them for a few days at a time. If we can make that work well then the relationship will make the players even better.
“Tomorrow I’m off to Scotland to visit Brendan Rodgers at Celtic, then Hearts, Hibs with Neil Lennon and then I’ll shoot down to England.”
The 55-year-old revealed he was looking forward to meeting Rodgers and was confident the former Liverpool coach was the right man to get the most out of Arzani.
One they haven’t got round to yet is the one where Moussa Dembele’s former Fulham team mate, Seko Fofana ( Who ?-Ed ) (I don’t know-Ralph ), claimed the French forward was a bit of a steal for Lyon..
“I am surprised that clubs didn’t come to take him [Dembele] before. I was told that he cost Lyon €20m (actual price was €22m), but Moussa is worth at least double.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and Sean Dyche joint-favourites for England job – and Celtic gaffer Brendan Rodgers isn’t far off
Presumably Mark Warburton has already been sounded out and turned it down..
Here’s the picture from yesterday…