Making an Arse of it

I don’t know which result is worse? Celtic losing 7-0 away to Barcelona at Camp Nou or Arsenal losing 1-5 at home to Bayern Munich?

Well, in terms of squad valuations the answer is obvious. Add up your player costs/wages, multiply by the league they play in and factor in who is playing at home.

There, you have your answer. Or you could just looking at the UEFA club rankings for an up-to-date check.

We hear very often that the Premier League is the best league in the world. Generally as part of the ongoing self-gratification process that is an omnidirectional English sports media.

Be it BBC, BT Sport, ITV, Sky or any of the printed sports media, we are usually given a fresh reminder of just how good the Premier League world is. Because we need reminding of that just as much as we do of the ’66 World Cup Winning Enlgand team.

When results such as the humping of Arsenal by Bayern Munich at the Emirates occurs did last night, I watch with interst to see how the pundits address such a catastrophe. Problems in the dressing room, manager outliving his usefulness, haven’t spent enough?

How about, you’re just not good enough? It seems to be sufficient when verdicts are being made on BT Sport and Sky about Celtic’s European pursuits.

Let’s put things in perspective though. Bayern Munich and Barcelona are 2nd and 3rd respectively, the best teams on the European landscape at this moment in time only to be out done by Real Madrid.

Where are the Gunners then? 20th? 30th? No they’re in 11th sandwiched between those other glorious Premier League teams Chelsea and Manchester City.

Okay so not that far away from their opponents though right? What about Celtic then?

Well they’re in 45th position between Rubin Kazan and Malaga. What about income though, doesn’t that play a factor in all this?

Of course it does. Whilst Celtic are by far the best team in Scotland and an extremely well run business, they cannot match the spending power of many other European clubs.

Even in countries where the league isn’t considered any better than the Scottish Premiership, a lot of these ‘wee’ teams have spending power beyond Celtic. And that’s before we even can discuss the top drawer European clubs above them.

In our own heads we know that Barcelona and Bayern are mustard on their day. We also know that Arsenal aren’t as good as some of the Arsenal teams we’ve seen in the last couple of decades.

This team doesn’t have any wow factor. In fact very few English teams do unless they are playing in their own backyard against Premier League teams that whilst sit in the bottom half of their league, earn way more than Celtic do.

So what are we saying here then? Well it is simple.

The media (not the Scottish one for once) need to get a reality check when it comes to English teams playing in Europe. The pundits cannot sit there and say ‘not good enough from Celtic’ when the odds are stacked against them and then make excuses for one of ‘their own’ clubs.

Celtic can only dream of spending the type of money Arsenal can on transfer fees and wages. Doing so would put our club in a terrible state unless they knew they could recoup it a year or two down the line guaranteed.

That might be considered a worthwhile investment. Even then, that would be a seldom seen thing given the poor income of Scottish football.

For Celtic to survive they must explore other avenues and have done so using their own business model. Our stadium, supporters and history are all there to be seen but the playing surface is not level financially.

When you lose away to a European club that are ranked forty-odd places above you it is a very humbling experience. When you get pumped at home to a club less than ten places above you, it is time to look at the bigger picture.

There are a few elite clubs on this vast landscape of ours. Arsenal are not one of them.

In fact, none of the English clubs are. Not at the moment anyway.

Celtic have a much tougher hill to climb than that. The media and the pundits should bear that in mind when they are dishing out the criticism.

Hail! Hail!

Stevie Mac

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