Stuart Slater – Celtic’s big money signing who failed to deliver

Stuart Slater is remembered as a flop signing during the reign of Liam Brady. During the dark days of the early 1990s Rangers were splashing the cash and were streets ahead of Celtic and the rest of the Scottish game for that matter.

Desperate to keep up with the Ibrox side Brady was allowed to spend and had already splashed out big sums on the injury prone, past his best Gary Gillespie and the useless Tony Cascarino.

Andy Payton, Rudi Vata and Stuart Slater

His track record wasn’t the best so there was big pressure on him to deliver a decent signing and in the summer of 1992 he was allowed to spend big again, this time a then club record of £1.5 million was splashed on Brady’s former West Ham team mate Stuart Slater.

Hopes were high for Slater, a dynamic winger who was an England under 21 international and highly regarded at West Ham. Slater made his debut for the Hammers while still an apprentice and had great top flight experience.

Stuart Slater Glasgow Celtic FC 21 September 1992. Photo Mary Evans Allstar David Gadd

Glasgow is a different ball game altogether though and playing in the Hoops with the added pressure of being a record signing is a massive challenge, one that young Stuart would have to overcome if he was to be a success. Having all the talent in the world means nothing if you don’t have the mental strength to go with it.

Unfortunately for Stuart and the supporters he didn’t show either. Indeed it took him thirty odd games to register a goal. He scored the opener in a dreary December night against Aberdeen and celebrated like he’d hit the winner in a World Cup final such was his relief at breaking his duck.

Stuart Slater Glasgow Celtic FC 02 August 1993 – Photo Mary Evans Allstar Richard Sellers

He wasn’t that big in the goalscoring department before he came to Celtic, but at that bulging price tag, more was expected of him. It wasn’t just his lack of goals, but his inability to do what he was more than capable of. He was a poor signing and the supporters were more than entitled to be critical of him due to his massive transfer fee.

Stuart lasted just over a full year at Celtic scoring a modest 3 goals in 50 games before heading back down south and signing for Ipswich Town with the club recouping half the fee they paid for him.

Stuart Slater Glasgow Celtic FC 02 August 1993 – Photo Mary Evans Allstar Richard Sellers

He would spend a few seasons with the Norfolk side before moving on and spending the rest of his career with a number of other English clubs but never hitting the heights he did at West Ham, and the form that persuaded Celtic to spend a record fee on him.

We sometimes take the success of recent times for granted but the first half of the 1990s is a reminder of darker days following the Hoops.

JustAnOrdinaryBhoy – follow on Twitter @ordinarybhoy

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About Author

An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.

1 Comment

  1. Jim O'Rourke on

    I was always led to believe that Brady was involved in the agency business as well as coaching and most of the players we bought were signed to agents associated with that particular business.