Are you sitting comfortably ?
Sandwiches to the right, beer to the left ?
Then let the season begin…
The campaign for a tenth successive league title starts this weekend, with Celtic entering the fray sometime tomorrow, kick off time is not that important since we’re not allowed in anyway.
Along with the core of the players who voted champions last season comes a new goalkeeper, Greek international Vassilis Barkas.
“Winning medals and trophies is why I came here.
“I want to win 10 in-a-row and help us get into the Champions League. That’s what I want.
He then grabbed his microphone and burst into a song he used to sing as a child….
“some men fight for silver, some men fight for gold ” before being tossed a bottle of buckfast and swaying up the road arm in arm with manager Neil Lennon.
Barkas is a keeper of the sort Celtic have been looking for for a while. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet, confident when the ball is in the air, and at 6’5″ stands a reasonable chance of getting to the ball first.
Barkas has been on the radar for a while, and the signing is the result of a lot of work going on behind the scenes, without fuss or fanfare , that gave the manager another option if Fraser Forster was to elect to fight for gold rather than silver.
Which he has done. So thats that.
The work behind the scenes on Barkas may also be the same policy that has sparked a bid for striker Ivan Toney of Peterborough. Although a low bid, which has been rejected, that must have been made in the knowledge it wasn’t going to be accepted, and if Celtic fail to qualify for the champions League this season, there is a distinct possibility that we could see three or four first team players leave.
Toney could well be already lined up as a replacement, with Celtic asking to be kept informed of developments, which also sends out a signal to Oddsone Edoaurd that either he signs an extension or he will be sold, which is undoubtedly a consideration for the board.
Other players, such as Kristoffer Ajer, Olivier Ntcham and Ryan Christie will have their agents touting and scouting on their behalf, with all three having made it known that they would not be averse to bigger wage packets should they be on offer elsewhere.
Don’t you just long for the days when all you had to worry about was how long the bloke in the queue at Aldi had had that cough ?
But the manager and captain of Celtic are men that not only fight for silver, they will fight for anything the Saxons try to steal from us, and no one of value to the team will be allowed to leave without a massive tug on their hearts from the two men entrusted with putting to rights one of the greatest wrongs in sporting history.
Celtic simply have to get that ten in a row.
For us, it means something, whether its restoring the pride of the first nine for what it was after it was cheapened by a club who equalled it as part of a massive mission to destroy football rather than enhance it, or whether its just so we can be the first to do something as opposed to playing catch up.
Other clubs in Europe will also be hoping to continue long runs as champions, such as Juventus. Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich, who despite their dominance don;t play in a predictable one hiorse race of a competition, which will be worth remembering when achievements begin to be belittled.
This season, we do it for ourselves, for the sheer enjoyment and pride of doing something no one in Scotland has ever done before, and also to use the freedom from pressure that will allow to go on and build a bigger and better version of the cub that began its makeover under Fergus McCann twenty five years ago, and has since gone from strength to strength.
Ah, the pressure.
The players and manager are all winnners, they have the medals to show that.
But this season is different.
Miss this chance , and its another decade at least before we get another shot at it.
Every game, every point matters. There must be no let up until the trophy is won.
As the manager said yesterday…
“It’s exciting and the anticipation is building now,”
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had competitive football. We’ve done a lot of work since the middle of June and it’s been a good week so far.
“We’ve not really touched on the magnitude of this season yet, but we’ll probably touch upon it in the next 24 hours. There have been a lot of other things going on, but now we have to get back to work on what’s expected of us, in order to accomplish what we want.
“We’re going into a historic season, but we can’t let that get away from the day-to-day work and the standards and values that the club has set over the last few years.”
He sounds calm, but he also sounds like he’s straining at the leash..
On Wednesday, we had this…
Caption: Embarrassing moment at Ibrox Armed Forces Day as a travel expense claim is more than the collection.