Tag Archives: Celtic

A New Niche Market for Celtic?

We have long since adjusted to the economic reality that even the top football clubs in Scotland are no longer able to attract or retain high profile players from other leagues, regardless of their history and reputation, and despite their global appeal, kept vibrantly alive through the Scottish and Irish diaspora.

Given the unimaginable riches on offer elsewhere, Scottish football clubs have had to position themselves as stepping stones to the English Premiership and beyond, or as the school of hard knocks where youth players from the English leagues might be sent to toughen up. We now take that as standard practice and have grown a bit numb to it. It no longer hurts the way it should.

As others have gone out of existence trying, Celtic’s survival instincts have sharpened sufficiently to maximise the few opportunities available to Scottish clubs, playing the market brilliantly and reaping incredible financial returns, whilst making a spirited go of the Champions League.

In a sense Celtic has mastered the niche market of unearthing relatively unknown players from foreign leagues and developing them into highly marketable products. The very same strategy may now need to be adopted with respect to recruiting a replacement for Neil Lennon.

After a good few years of managerial stability provided by Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan (omitting Tony Mowbray) and Neil Lennon, we may have to recognise that the manager’s position at Celtic is no longer one in pursuit of which top managers across Europe would crawl across broken glass.

It could occasionally result in failure, as it does with some of the players recruited in this way, but Celtic may need to master a new niche market – giving relatively unproven managers a unique platform to promote their abilities to clubs in more lucrative leagues elsewhere.

The seeds of this strategy have already been sewn with regards to Neil Lennon and there is no reason why the next manager should not be of the same type – someone who understands the game, knows how to get the best out of people and has something to prove. They definitely don’t need to be Celtic minded and they definitely don’t need to have a glittering track record, but they do need to have more than a bit of grit.

There is a darker reason why the market is heading in this direction. Unless there is fundamental reform across football’s governing bodies and a paradigm shift in our thinking about sport as a special type of business, small pockets of this industry will continue to attract investors with ridiculous wealth to the detriment of others, and their appeal will continue to grow as hiding places for criminality and corruption.

That is not Celtic’s immediate concern of course, but regrettably it does have an indirect impact on the business, marketing and recruitment strategies of every football club in every league, albeit in different ways. Only a few clubs will be able to make a success of it, whereas others will go bust trying. It is a very difficult balancing act to achieve and recruiting the right manager – not necessarily the big name manager – is integral to that.

Whoever is fortunate enough to be offered the manager’s post at Celtic will be fully aware that it is still a very unique opportunity in its own right, and if the club is fortunate enough to unearth the next rising star in football management, even if his appointment is not the box-office one that instantly captures the imagination, it may turn out to be another significant milestone in the club’s history.

 

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Buffoonery, Racism or Both?

Leigh Griffiths is either a buffoon or a racist.

Having put himself in a position to be filmed in a pub singing what appeared to be a racist song about a former Hearts player, there might be an argument to say that he is actually a bit of both.

If we assume that he understood and believed in what he appeared to be singing, we should then ask the uncomfortable question, ‘What possible reason could he have had for acting this way?’

Would he have been acting in a manner consistent with the rest of his beliefs and attitudes, that refugees ought to be hated, ridiculed and verbally abused; or would he have failed to make any sort of rational judgement at all, and allowed some loose, and spontaneously aroused, tribal feelings to interrupt the logical linkages between his actions and his beliefs?

If the former, we may need to face up to the fact that, despite wishing to believe that players representing Celtic FC would behave with dignity, and respect the values on which the club was founded, there is a racist element within that could damage the power of the club’s original message, and the integrity of its community work today.

If the latter, we may be able to put it down to the idiocy, irresponsibility and immaturity of a young man whose alertness to moral boundaries and social consequences has diminished as his fame and fortune have increased, if it was ever that sharp to begin with. Regrettably, this is what too much money, high praise and a lot of recognition can do to some individuals.

Either way, behaviour of this sort is totally unacceptable.

It also reinforces the fear that the various forms of bigotry we encounter in football are so tightly connected to tribal feelings that they may never disappear, despite the many initiatives designed to achieve that goal, and especially when a professional footballer, with allegiances to more than one tribe, appears to be the unthinking leader of an unsavoury pack.

Whilst immediate punitive action should be taken to make Griffiths re-examine his apparently racist attitudes and think twice about how he conducts himself in public, hopefully his general buffoonery will not be his professional undoing.

It would be a disaster to think that his immaturity would lead him to the same place as other highly regarded professional footballers who became distracted for various reasons, and either disappeared from the game too early, or simply failed to fulfil their true potential.

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Hooper – The Best Since Larsson?

Perhaps Gary Hooper was right to feel that he would only have a chance of being called up to the England international squad if he made his move to the English Premiership, regardless of which team he ended up with in that prestigious league.

My view is that he is unlikely to achieve that ambition with Norwich; it is more likely that he will need to work another move after this one. As Chris Sutton recently pointed out, Hooper’s excellent scoring record at Celtic was partly due to the way the team plays and the number of scoring opportunities presented to him.

To join a team that may be more regularly geared towards not conceding too many goals, rather than a team that is expected to win every game, could result in Hooper scoring considerably less for Norwich than he has done at Celtic. The upshot is that he may appear to be not quite good enough for the international squad. Time will tell.

In the meantime, Neil Lennon recently commented that Gary Hooper was the best striker at Celtic since Henrik Larsson. High praise indeed! Whilst Hooper has certainly been an excellent striker for Celtic over the past three seasons, and probably the most consistent we have had for a number of years, I am sure Lennon did not intend to suggest that Hooper was on a par with Larsson.

Perhaps if Celtic’s transfer market policy hadn’t been such as it is, Hooper may not have come to the club with the intention of working his move to the Premiership within a couple of years; and perhaps if he had stuck around at Celtic for a few more years he may have developed even further towards the level of performance Larsson achieved with ease.

After all, the Henrik Larsson who arrived at Celtic Park was nowhere near as brilliant as the Henrik Larsson who left seven years later to join Barcelona. But given Celtic’s current approach to the transfer market, and the Premiership expectations it sets in the minds of the very good players we pick up and develop to sell, it may well be that we never actually see a striker of Larsson’s calibre again.

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An Ugly Impasse

It is hard to think that the Offensive Behaviour at Football legislation has had anything but a negative impact on the attitudes and behaviours of those it was intended to manage, despite the Scottish Government’s bullish claims to the contrary.

Whilst the police argued that they required a greater range of powers in order to deal with the perceived escalation in sectarian hatred in connection with some aspects of Scottish football, many others were reluctant to entertain the idea that existing laws were inadequate.

One outcome of this is that the greater range of powers seems to be stretchable to match whichever interpretation of the occasion is deemed to suit, with the interpretation sometimes appearing to be influenced by the media, other times by an inability to understand political context and poor knowledge of historical fact.

As a result, a strong belief has emerged within certain groups, particularly the Green Brigade, that the manner in which they choose to support their team has been criminalised unnecessarily and that some of their members have been subject to police harassment, victimisation and disproportionate response.

Whether the controversial containment tactics used by Strathclyde Police in Glasgow on Saturday were appropriate to the situation has been challenged. Whatever the eventual outcome of that, it is clear that the march was unlawful in the sense that no permission was sought from the local authorities in advance. The police would have failed in their duty had they not intervened.

It is difficult not to acknowledge that the Green Brigade has become a powerful force with strong political views, a fact which may sit uncomfortably with some individuals within Celtic FC. But it is even more difficult to avoid the thought that extinguishing, rather than monitoring, a force of this nature is a primary objective of the police. It may draw into a long and complicated war of attrition. Neither side will back down. Neither side will win.

Whichever way you view it, the central issue remains that the Scottish Government caved into pressure to introduce a piece of poorly written and completely unnecessary legislation. In doing so it managed to create a context of confusion, mistrust and tension – perfectly illustrated by the now toxic relationship between the police and the Green Brigade – and we are still no closer to eradicating the problem of bigotry in Scotland.

Like most, I would be relieved to see the end of the type of bigotry that infects football here. As it happens, I would also prefer that political views were not expressed at football matches in a manner that risked creating the impression that such views were in some way reflective of an unwritten part of a club’s story.

Given the background causes, I am not convinced that either will transpire any time soon – but that neither justifies the Scottish Government’s poorly conceived legislative solution to the problem, nor does it excuse disproportionate police response to perceived episodes of non-compliance with that legislation.

We may have reached an ugly impasse. It is time for a re-think – without the media circus, without politicians positioning themselves to win favour, and this time with people who understand the true nature of the problem in this country.

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Could Player Co-Ownership Help Scottish Football?

It is no secret that Celtic’s ability to identify and develop young players with potential has reaped tremendous rewards in recent seasons. Michael Grant recently wrote an article in The Herald suggesting that a potential threat to this successful formula is that other clubs would soon copy it:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/the-problem-with-celtics-global-approach-is-that-the-world-takes-notice.20467713

A threat related to this is that the increasing levels of debt across Scottish football could make this strategy difficult for Celtic to sustain in years to come. In order to attract young talent to Scotland, there has to be something decent on offer. The lure of Champions League football and the fast track to the English Premiership that playing in that tournament offers currently fulfils that requirement.

But the continued danger of other clubs going into administration or out of existence entirely must be a concern, in the sense that it may influence a young player’s decision on whether or not to take the chance of coming to Scotland in the first place, particularly if other clubs in relatively healthier leagues begin to offer the same route to the top.

So it is interesting to think about whether something similar to the Italian model of player co-ownership could be of benefit to Scottish football (and Celtic!) in the medium to long term as a means of averting this type of threat and ultimately sharing the wealth whilst helping to improve standards?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-ownership_%28football%29

Player co-ownership is a useful tool that enables clubs to share risks and rewards in the transfer market and in the development of young talent. Essentially, two clubs work out an agreement whereby they share ownership of a player, benefitting from playing rights where appropriate, and a share of the financial rewards if the player’s transfer value increases.

In the absence of a large enough fan base, an arrangement of this sort may help smaller clubs in Scotland benefit from Celtic’s global scouting system and solid financial position. Of course, it may seem too altruistic to imagine that Celtic would do such a thing, but short of being invited into a stronger league elsewhere, it may contribute to an improvement in standards here – and in the meantime, Celtic would benefit by sharing some of the financial risk and player development time with other clubs, whilst still receiving the lion’s share of the rewards.

In Italian football, the model usually involves a 50 – 50 split between two clubs. But it wouldn’t necessarily have to be that way in Scotland. It could be that one or more clubs in Scotland could pool their resources to buy into a 20 – 80 split with Celtic, thereby benefitting from access to players they couldn’t otherwise afford, and benefitting from a share of transfer fees they would otherwise lack. Player co-ownership may help financially stricken Scottish clubs stabilise and gradually improve, by providing a life-saving revenue stream currently denied to them.

It goes without saying that player co-ownership isn’t going to come with a guarantee. There are no guarantees for Celtic either. And whilst it may be difficult for Celtic to contemplate sharing the fruits of its labour in this manner, something like this could actually turn out to be a critical step in ensuring the survival of Scottish football in the long term – particularly if the clubs who benefitted were then obligated to do the same for other clubs, just as soon as they were in the position to do so.

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How Celtic Might Win in Turin, From a Philosophical Point of View

When the eminent philosopher of football, Friedrich Nietzsche, was asked for his opinion on how referees make decisions in high profile European games, he replied that ‘All things are subject to interpretation. Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth’.

Alberto Mallenco would appear to be the type of referee who likes to follow the rules of the game exactly to the letter. For him, it would appear to be about truth, not power. Of course, Nietzsche was also keen to remind us that appearances can be deceptive.

However, this is what FIFA’s Law 12 on Fouls and Misconduct states:

http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/afdeveloping/refereeing/law_12_fouls_misconduct_en_47379.pdf

So although it frustrated, angered and confused a number of people at the time, it would seem that Mallenco was correct not to award a penalty when Juventus defenders held and wrestled with Celtic players during last week’s Champions League game.

But if that is the case, then perhaps Celtic should hope for a similarly minded, letter of the law type referee for the return leg in Turin. Wrestling like Juventus might turn out to be a winning strategy, if all else fails.

The relevant section of Law 12 states:

“The following conditions must be met for an offence to be considered a foul:

It must be committed by a player.
It must occur on the field of play.
It must occur while the ball is in play.

Remove any of these conditions and the offence is not and cannot be a foul.”

With that in mind, what would stop Celtic players flooding into the Juventus box at corner kicks and holding all of their defenders back, or pinning the keeper to the front post, whilst the ball is still dead, allowing the Celtic strikers to casually stroll into unmarked positions to wait on the corner being taken?

Of course, this could end up as a 21 man scrum (assuming the corner kick taker is left unshackled). But surely if the tactics used by Juventus were judged to be within the rules, then so too would this absurd scenario? Perhaps the same referee should be appointed across both legs, just to ensure consistency across the tie and to give teams the opportunity to take advantage of his particular interpretation of the rules from the first leg? Surely there would be nothing he could do about it?

When Ludwig Wittgenstein was working on the philosophy of mathematics he noted that ‘rules leave loop-holes open and the practice must speak for itself’; and when his good pal Friedrich Nietzsche asked him for advice on some of the vexing problems in the philosophy of football, he declared that ‘rules leave hoops hopes open and the passion must speak for itself’.

So I conclude, this is how Celtic might win in Turin, from a philosophical point of view.

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Working the Industry Behind the Game

Referees take a lot of stick.

Sometimes they deserve it. Other times, when we are in a more generous mood, we are happy to admit that they have a tough job. Particularly at the highest level.

However, there are times when we are infuriated by their perceived incompetence and believe that we could do a much better job ourselves. We probably could, but we usually think this way when we are equipped with the benefit of multiple camera angles, slow motion replays and plenty of time to think.

We also need to remember that mistakes and inconsistencies are pretty much guaranteed in any fast moving, adrenalin fuelled situation. We too could have made the same mistakes in that situation, even when, from our vantage point, we can see exactly what went wrong. Human error is inevitable, and when there is a great deal at stake, the vultures are usually quick to pounce.

Having said all that, take last night’s Champions League game, in which Juventus defenders appeared to deploy tactics more suited to a game of rugby or a wrestling match than football. They were fully aware that one of Celtic’s strengths was the ability to score goals from well worked set-pieces. The Juventus defenders appeared well drilled in their tactic of nullifying that threat by bear-hugging the Celtic players or simply pulling them to the ground when they looked too dangerous.

Some might be inclined to describe it as nothing other than their traditional style of defending – suggesting this makes it normal, acceptable even – and I also heard someone say that Celtic were naïve to fall for these tactics – but Juventus got away with their negative and cynical approach all night, not because the Celtic players fell into their sophisticated traps, but because the referee and his stooges consciously chose to do nothing much about it.

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There are times when refereeing mistakes and inconsistencies can be put down to inexperience, or intimidation by aggressive players and fans; there are times when they can be put down to genuine and honest mistakes; there are times when they can be put down to unconscious bias towards one of the teams; and there are times when you really do have to question the integrity of the referee and his entourage.

Refereeing integrity has come under scrutiny countless times in the past and it will come under scrutiny again in the future. That some referees have agreed to facilitate a certain outcome in return for a handsome reward is not a new thing. Managers and players are not averse to it either. There is a lot of money to be made here.

Last week, in response to the Europol investigation into the list of 680 games suspected of being fixed in the past 18 months, Sepp Blatter commented that match-fixing is such a small part of football that it will be overcome.

It seems to me that match-fixing is now such an integral part of football – and many other organised sports for that matter – that the chances of it being overcome are slim to none.

In a cynical moment, you start to wonder whether the manner in which football has evolved into a highly lucrative industry for already ridiculously wealthy individuals, and for those with the bravado and hard headedness to indulge in whatever dishonest money making practices they can get away with at the time, has resulted in the entire context being flipped on its head.

It may be that the honest competition we expect to see every week is now simply an addictively appealing smoke-screen that distracts our attention away from the real den of iniquity that sits behind it. We might not be too far from the truth if we went back to Sepp Blatter with the retort that honest competition, rather than match-fixing, is such a small part of football that it will be overcome!

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So where does this leave Celtic in terms of the Champions League? Probably in the same situation as other teams not ‘expected’ to progress too far into the final stages of this glamorous competition – battle tired and weary, a little more experienced, an enhanced valuation for certain players, and significantly better off for their troubles. Not a bad return, when all is said and done.

Perhaps the biggest lesson to learn here is not that teams like Celtic are never going to be good enough at this stage of the Champions League; but that there are other teams from other countries whose presence in the final stages is far more appealing to the organisers of the competition. And hence (or because?) these teams and all their trappings are far more profitable targets for those who have mastered the fine art of working the industry behind the game.

(But enough of my paranoia – I am now praying for a small miracle in Turin.)

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Some More Thoughts on Celtic Players’ Mind-Set

Henry Clarson’s thought provoking blog yesterday and Graeme Macpherson’s article in The Herald today have prompted me to throw my own tuppence worth into the debate.

http://henryclarson.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/heads_you_win/

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/psychologist-questions-celtics-mental-preparation-for-semi-final.20037202

But I need to come at my thoughts indirectly –

Our perception of a football player’s skills and abilities, and therefore his value on the transfer market, is inextricably linked to the context in which he performs.

It is not too difficult to work out why the so called better players in Scotland automatically attract lower transfer market valuations than their counterparts in England. It is often more about context than ability.

There is an interesting irony here which is worth considering. The players in Scotland most likely to attract decent bids from English Premiership clubs are the ones who have had the opportunity to show case their talent in a different context, namely the Champions League.

This season, of course, only Celtic players have had this opportunity and they have invariably risen to the challenge. No sight of the psychological problems that have plagued them elsewhere.

Yet as the aforementioned writers pointed out, these same players have struggled to perform to the same high standard when competing in domestic competitions and against so called inferior teams (on paper, at least). The suggestion by Henry Clarson is that this could be down to some kind of fear of losing to the under dogs; whereas Graeme Macpherson’s article considers the view of sports psychologist Tom Lucas, that it probably comes down to complacency and poor preparation.

Different observations. Each worthy of consideration.

But this also got me thinking about how easy it could be for potential suitors to make costly errors of judgement in the transfer market by underestimating the significance of a context judged too weak to matter, and overestimating the significance of a context judged to be the ultimate marker of a player’s worth.

The problem is that the context deemed too weak to matter in this instance is actually the one in which a player’s strength of character faces an important challenge, which can be completely missed if we focus too much on the bright lights and the bigger stage.

What I mean is that when it comes down to mental toughness – an indication of just how valuable a player actually is to a team – the ability to rise periodically to the silky smooth occasion of Champions League football is perhaps not as telling as the ability to perform regularly on the rough ground of Scottish football.

So my question is why do clubs place more weight on individuals playing well in Champions League games, for example, than they do on their sometimes faltering performances in domestic league and cup games? The answer has to be that it is all about context, and the context in question is one which has been created by the type of media hype that always wants to ask the question, ‘yes, but can they step up to our level?’

It is a smug sense of superiority that exaggerates the worth of one context over another and that distorts the perception of what matters most when judging the value of players and how well they are likely to perform.

Now, by way of tying all of these points together, I will throw another opinion into the mix – perhaps the reason why some very good Celtic players have struggled to perform to the standard we all know they are capable of in domestic games, is that they too have bought into the media hype and transfer market preferences that renders many of our domestic games of low importance when it comes to proving their calibre as the top players their Champions League forays appear to have made them.

So rather than fear of losing to the under dogs, or complacency because they should be expected to win easily, perhaps it is much more simple. Perhaps it is just a subconscious decision that they don’t have to work hard in these games, because despite their importance to the rest of us, these games don’t actually matter that much to them when viewed with one thought in mind: these are not the games on the basis of which they will earn their lucrative move to the promised land of the English Premier League.

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On Whether Sectarianism is a Form of Racism

The question of whether sectarianism is a form of racism is an important one.

Not only does it have a bearing on how we ought to understand instances of sectarian behaviour and how such instances should be dealt with from a legal point of view; it also has a bearing on the most appropriate way of managing sectarianism out of our society.

At the 2012 Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament, Professor Richard Finlay of Strathclyde University put forward the view that sectarianism in Scotland should indeed be regarded as a form of racism. Whilst I am not completely convinced that this is correct in all cases, I do agree that there are benefits in this position.

Firstly, it helps us break away from the narrow understanding of sectarianism in Scotland as nothing more than religious bigotry rooted in certain working class communities. In addition to this, thinking about sectarianism as a form of racism helps deliver a more accurate account of the origins of sectarianism in Scottish society.

But more importantly, understanding sectarianism this way might help bring about a structural shift in our thinking, such that instances of sectarian behaviour begin to be perceived differently, with greater social stigma attaching to them than perhaps would have been the case under popular understanding of what the term denotes:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/politics/political-news/professor-in-bigotry-plea-to-holyrood.18593624?_=079fcb03b8a50fd66f926ba473b88aa3ad530c50

In Scotland, sectarianism tends to be popularly understood in terms of the bitterness and hatred between two Glasgow football teams, the divisiveness and triumphalism of parades and marching bands, and the controversial existence of faith schools.

These are some of the automatic associations many of us make. However as Professor Finlay notes, the problem runs much deeper than this, and cannot be disconnected from an underlying anti-Irish sentiment which has prevailed in Scottish society for generations, particularly from the 19th century onwards.

On the other hand, Patrick Yu, Director for the Northern Ireland Council of Ethnic Minorities, has previously been on record to argue that, in Northern Ireland at least, it would be unwise to conflate issues of sectarianism and racism. His belief is that doing so would draw the courts into the wrong types of dispute, for which separate provisions already exist in law.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-14636076

So is it correct to argue that sectarianism is a form of racism? Does each country have its own distinctive brand of sectarianism, with only some instances meriting description as a form of racism? Could sectarianism be a form of racism in one country, but not in another? Would that even make sense?

Or would it be more accurate to argue that there are instances of sectarian behaviour that sit outside the scope of internationally recognised definitions of racial discrimination, and therefore should merit different legal and social treatment? It is a difficult one.

Whatever the case elsewhere, there are obvious connections between Scotland’s brand of sectarianism and the racial prejudice historically displayed towards those of Irish Catholic descent living and working in this country. It has just rolled on since then, in greater or lesser degrees over the years, and taking different forms at different times.

So whilst I see the reasons behind Professor Finlay’s thinking, I am still not entirely convinced that it would be correct to say that sectarianism is a form of racism. I completely agree with the idea that it would be socially expedient to think of sectarianism in this way, if doing so helped change the way we manage instances of offensive behaviour motivated by religious hatred.

But what I also think is this – and it is why I believe we should exercise caution in seeking a closer alignment of the two – treating sectarianism as a form of racism could force a fundamental redefinition of prominent world religions that would diminish the universal nature of their core beliefs by localising them to a people, a time and place.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, if sectarianism is in fact a form of racism, then arguably we are also holding the view that tolerating another person’s religion is the same thing as tolerating his race. We need to be careful how closely we want to tie these two concepts together –

Because not only would this seem to threaten the autonomy of religious belief with respect to race and ethnic origin; I think it could also make it very difficult to rationally debate and logically criticise belief systems promoted by other religions – as should be our right – without running the risk of making implicit criticisms and unintended negative judgements on issues of race and ethnicity.

And having built the good part of the argument on the premise that racism is inherently wrong in the first place, this could prove to be dangerous territory to wander back into.

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Some Thoughts on Charles Green’s Christmas Message

Referring to the link between an individual’s social status and his outward appearance, Charles Dickens wrote in his classic novel Oliver Twist, that dignity is ‘sometimes more a question of coat and waistcoat than some people would imagine’.

Throw in some brown brogues and he was definitely on the money.

Joking aside, Dickens makes an important point worth expanding: in the same sense that class distinctions have no factual basis in reality, other than by decree, what we commonly mean by ‘integrity’ is sometimes more a question of image and perception than it is of actual moral substance.

Until recently, dignity and integrity thus misconstrued were the two supporting pillars of Scottish football’s great dependency myth. The third pillar was the unquestioning belief in the disastrous consequences that would ensue on removal of the great historical custodians of the latter.

There is now a fourth, but it is still under construction. Early indications are that it is shaping up to be quite a formidable replacement for the ones that finally crumbled earlier this year. Charles Green’s Christmas Message is more like a call to arms than peaceful greetings.

Yet Green’s advantage over David Murray and Craig Whyte is that the perception of injustice is a much more powerful motivator of masses than a long standing expectation of entitlement. If he plays it correctly, he knows how much money he stands to make from his latest enterprise. It’s all about profit maximisation.

Charles Green invites us to believe that he has refreshed and rejuvenated Scottish football, filling the stockings of the other clubs in the Third Division.

But his invitation is nothing more than a cynical attempt at restoring damaged pride by rejuvenating the belief in dignity and integrity, amplified this time by the perception of injustice endured at the hands of other football Chairmen and two of the game’s three governing bodies.

Charles Green is probably onto a winner in monetary terms. He seems to have managed the mood. But the mood that has been managed is one that was actively encouraged by him, for the sake of making as much profit as he possibly could.

Whilst the benefit of his strategy is that it will yield decent financial returns in the short to medium term, the long term disadvantage is that Charles Green will walk away when it suits his wallet, leaving that mood completely unmanaged, like an angry dog waiting on the postman.

Charles Green admitted that he hadn’t yet received a card from Dundee United, the SFA or the SPL.

He is probably in for a long wait. And the dog will be barking when these particular cards finally arrive.

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