It’s not often these days that we are able to say that City are ahead of the game but last week we pre-empted the opening of the EFL transfer window this coming Friday [June 16] by formally announcing the arrival at the Carra of 31-year-old centre back Shane Duffy from Fulham while recruitment action elsewhere amongst our rivals has been remarkably limited.
The six-foot-two, 55-cap Irish national is understandably eager to force his way into RoI manager Stephen Kenny’s thoughts for next year’s Euros and he won’t do that by sitting on his butt, so Duffy is here to play, not to make up the numbers.
Gary’s article yesterday covered the Duffy signing and also looked at how supporters were reacting to the seemingly advancing average age of the squad as he joins 33-year-old Ashley Barnes on the roster for 2023/24.
Me? I’m all for it and as I said to MFW reader Paul Frewer yesterday, I am actually quite happy with the arrivals of Jack [Stacey], Shane and Ashley.
Of course, there has been plenty of room once again this week for rumour and the best person for me to focus on this bright and sunny Monday morning is surely Daniel Farke, apparently the subject of a tug-o-love between one of my very favourite teams, Celtic, and one that I find myself particularly unfond of. Please step forward, Leeds United.
There has been talk of our Director of Sport, aka the shrinking violet that is Stuart Webber, being lined up to replace the identically titled Victor Orta at Leeds. Orta is yet to be replaced by owner Andrea Radrizzani and there is paper talk of our recruitment wizard taking up the reins at Elland Road.
If your footballing friends are anything like mine the speculation will crisscross between us until we arrive at the inevitable conclusion that, individually or collectively, we haven’t got a Scooby.
A pan-posse low point, a veritable nadir, was hit just after Boris Johnson resigned. Alex B had kicked this one off by suggesting that if Webber went to Leeds, then surely Farke would follow. The dialogue went something akin to this:
Me: “I see Dorries has quit as well. The demographic of the wider Uxbridge area could make the Johnson by-election a very close-run thing.
“Oh shit, the papers will be full of it all in the morning.
Bernie Owen: “Never mind Marty, at least it’s a couple of minutes not talking about the next Leeds manager. If it’s not Farke I will be surprised.”
Me: It’s starting to look like it could be Farke, isn’t it? Jeez, I hope not.”
Just a few minutes later the Celtic rumours sprang to life, largely courtesy of Ross Pilcher at the Daily Record and as of Sunday afternoon it would appear that Daniel is suddenly in the running for two undeniably attractive jobs.
I’m a great one for respecting the history of other clubs – especially those who actually have a history of course – and can immediately see the three statutory reasons why taking up a position at either would be the original no-brainer for our Daniel.
Leeds, of course, have suffered the same fate as Norwich recently in that they have been relegated from the Prem and need to get back there sharpish. We had the same needs but bottled it last season and Leeds will have no wish to follow in the footsteps of our Nike Zoom Mercurial Superfly9 XXV‘s. How far the Farke feet are under the table at Thorp Arch training centre is unknown. This is what the Whites have to offer:
- Sorry folks but Leeds are huge. They average Elland Road attendances of 35,000 for every home game;
- Three League Championships, four Division Two titles, FA Cup winners, League Cup winners and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups;
- Daniel would replace the extremely unpopular Javi Gracia, followed by Sam Allardyce on a short-term. Not hard acts to follow!
But for all that, they’re still Bloody Leeds
One interesting angle to Farke walking through the door as head coach at the imposing, purpose-built Celtic training centre at Lennoxtown in the picturesque Dunbartonshire countryside is that he will know he is not the only candidate. To quote Ross Pilcher: “Any talks with the Hoops won’t necessarily mean he’s their first choice”.
- Celtic can offer Champions League Football. It’s where every manager wants to be and Daniel will not prove an exception.
- Support verges on an average of 60,000 punters at Celtic Park for every game. The local derby is always a bit tasty.
- The Bhoys are currently celebrating their 8th domestic treble and won the European Cup, famously beating Inter 2-1 in 1967.
But for all that, Celtic Still Play in Bloody Scotland
Regular readers of MFW will know that I am a massive fan and follower of the mighty Celtic, which is why I would like them to choose Daniel
Farke and our erstwhile head coach to choose them. The alternative is too hideous to contemplate.
That would mean Daniel [probably wearing his parka, but not on a horse] turning up in the opposition technical area next season. While both parties will exchange mutually respectful acknowledgements… oh c’mon, it’s not something I want to see.
Normally in these situations, I shrug my shoulders, smile sedately to myself and inwardly decide that neither Leeds nor Celtic are likely to pursue their interest in Daniel Farke. It’s an attitude that has paid off considerably in the past as I like to head unsubstantiated rumours off at the pass during the early stages of their existence.
But this time I can’t because the ravens of Odin, Huggin and Munnin themselves, have visited me in my slumber.
I fell in love with the Celtic of Jock Stein, Jimmy Johnstone, Willy Wallace and Bobby Murdoch at the tender age of nine when they beat Inter Milan 2-1 in Portugal in 1967 and the legend of the Lisbon Lions was born. This game was very much from the days of watching some big domestic Cup Finals as well as Celtic and Man Utd in the European equivalents with Dad on black and white TV!***
Fast forward 55+ years and only last week I realised that I have never owned a replica top or any other piece of Hoops’ apparel. A short while later I was flicking through my favourite Bhoys website 67 Hail Hail*** and got drawn into the official online Celtic Shop. I could no longer resist and bought myself a rather gorgeous Adidas hoodie.
I’d waited over 20 years to do this so why did I pick 48 hours before the Farke rumours to begin to make the order?
It’s too much of a coincidence and I’m pretty sure that both Huggin and Muggin agree with me that Daniel Farke is destined for Celtic Park.
I hope the prophecy is fulfilled, I really do.
*** Enjoy a modernised version of what for me was a very special match. Music is temporarily suspended until my next appearance towards the end of the week!