When the chips are down at the club you love, you can always rely on an extensive list of ex-players to provide support. Well, not at Celtic you can’t.
You see as much as we love our ex-players, some tend to put the boot in once they have departed Celtic Park. Be it an act of desperation to raise their own profile or just a good old chip on the shoulder about their time with the club, they come along one after one.
For years we’ve been treated to the grammatically incorrect delights of Charlie Nicholas and his ramblings with Jim White on Sky. I was a huge fan of Charlie Nicholas fan when he played for the club but his continual bashing of the club live on TV confined him to the Celtic sin bin a long time ago.
Nicholas did have an issue with the club but he took it too far but Celtic had an issue with him first because he should never have left for Arsenal. It’s bad enough that he chooses to slate Celtic time after time on Sky, but he can’t even do it coherently.
Then there is Craig Burley, another ex-Celtic player who I had much admiration for. His goals from midfield and partnership with Paul Lambert are memorable but once a paid up member of the media, he got stuck in.
Add to that Andy Walker, not one of my favourites, but certainly one player who scored vital goals at Celtic. I actually find him more nauseating than Nicholas and he’s getting more air time than I can handle.
The biggest surprise in recent times is of course Celtic legends John Hartson and Chris Sutton. In modern times, only Henrik Larsson can top them in terms of popularity but they were superb players in their own way.
When Hartson became ill, he received the huge support from the Celtic community. This isn’t unusual in the Celtic family but his illness sparked many a campaign in his honour.
Chris Sutton, a key player in the Martin O’Neill era, was the perfect partner for Larsson in attack. They complimented each other but Sutton won the hearts of every Celtic fan even if he didn’t really have a song of his own (that I can recall).
So why on earth have two of Celtic’s biggest heroes of the modern day decided to slate the club that served them so well? I’m all for honest opinions, but public bashing is something I expect from the media.
Across the city, we’ve observed years of obedience by ex-players and the media when our old rivals were the topic of debate. Only in their eventual downfall did we witness any dissension and even that needed some pressure.
If guys like Nicholas, Walker, Burley, Hartson, Sutton and now Frank McAvennie have an historic issue with the club, they should talk or write about that. I don’t expect ex-Celts to cover up real matters or protect Celtic unnecessarily, but sometimes it just appears that these guys are opening their mouths and letting their bellies rumble, to quote my old school teacher.
In whole or as part, our fans will always challenge the club and their practices, especially when it contravenes what we are supposed to stand for. To our ex-Celt’s hell bent on slamming the club, wind your necks in and take a leaf out of Tom Boyd’s book.