First it was Steven Gerrard, who ended up as boss at them down the road. Then came the links to recently sacked Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, who had an awful Christmas period in South-West London resulting in his dismissal. And now, in what seems to be an attempt to crack through the entire England 2006 squad, John Terry is the latest man linked with to the helm; with boss Dean Smith admitting he wouldn’t stand in his way if there was a Celtic approach.
As much as I think this would be a good appointment, lots can be said about how differently – and condescendingly – people view the Scottish Premier League in terms of aging Englishmen moving north of the border. For their playing careers, the move to the big two teams in Scotland is seen as a ‘step down’, ‘retirement home’ and ‘start of the graveyard shift’; as opposed to the ‘uplifting’, ‘good challenge’ and ‘great move’ that is synonymous with Englishmen taking the managerial reigns in Glasgow.
In general, the Scottish League is heavily undervalued; one only has to have a look at Roy Keane’s autobiography to realise so. The ex-Celtic player moved from arguably the most successful Manchester United team of all time, under one of the two best Scottish managers of all time, into Gordon Strachan’s side in January 2006 at the age of 34 – and struggled on his debut against local minnows Clyde. Defeat that afternoon didn’t define his Hoops’ career; he did go on to defeat theRangers and complete the double, but it goes to show pundits shouldn’t take the league for granted.
And, according to the Brighton and Hove Independent, Smith said an approach was absent, but believed John has learned enough in his quest to be a manager: “For somebody to leave a football club and go to another one then you need them to contact us, and we haven’t been contacted.”
“I haven’t really spoken to JT about it, to be honest. The conversations I have had with JT is that when it suits everybody (he can leave).”
“I’ve always said right from the outset that John Terry came here to learn about coaching, and he’s become a very, very good assistant manager to myself. But ultimately, he’s come in to learn the trade to ultimately become a number one.”
Now, I know that Gerrard has done well across at the blue half in general, but how on earth has one manager’s successes over the space of just twelve months resulted in a whole plethora of England’s failed Golden Generation being linked with the hot seat in East Glasgow? Does it offer a gross negligence of how the media perceive just ‘how simple’ the Scottish League is, believing it to be a walk in the park? Because as we have seen before, it is a lot harder than that. Even a lot of English pub blokes’ golden man, Paul Gascoigne, wasn’t a world beater in his Rangers’ spell – he was good, but from their presumptions, it would be a walk in the park for the drunk and disorderly midfielder – which it wasn’t. By all accounts, Scott Sinclair fared much better in his time here – much of that down to the managerial wizard that was Brendan Rodgers, who had accumulated a brilliant CV with Liverpool, Reading and Swansea upon his arrival at Celtic Park; much better than the CV Frank and John have accumulated.
It could just be lackadaisical journalism, but these ‘Golden Generation’ links are becoming far too often to be some form of coincidence, and one would think that the mocking the SPFL receives is a huge, huge part of this. Let’s hope I’m wrong.