Monday, January 12, 2004

Ferguson: we tried to sign Larsson 

Well This might clear a few things up.

Alex Ferguson, revered by the Irish press even more than the British, has come out and said that he did, indeed, try to lure Henrik Larsson away from Celtic Park towards the end of his last contract.

Larsson, for those not inthe know, is a now-legendary Swedish striker who won the European Golden Boot (top scorer) award in 2001 when he scored 53 goals in one season.

Celtic fans have long been convinced of his world-class standing, however those flat eathers who believe the English Premiership is the best league in the world remained unconvinced.

Perhaps, you would argue, the fact that he scored more in the last World CUp (in less games) than Michael Owen and the fact that he is the highest scoring player for a British club in European football ever would have made a difference?

No, of course not. For when it comes to judging a player, those who sit with a Guinness in one hand and a packet of peanuts in the other, wiping a drop of kebab sauce off their ManU/Arsenal/Liverpool jersey are second to none.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

If you want accurate, unbiased reporting... 

Stay away from the Irish independent.

Ok they might not have known all about the deal to take MIller away from Celtic Park, but they didn't have to swallow everything the agent told them, which as you would expect, is tilted one way.

In yesterday's Indo it is claimed that Miller was offered 'only' 11k a week by Celtic and that Miller would earn 20 times his current deal when he signed for Manchester United.

Now if this wan't in the Indo I'd let it go, but following Dion Fanning's ignorant anti-Celtic tirade last Sunday it's not that easy.

Of course, Miller WILL earn 20 times his current deal when he moves to Manchester, BUT He was also offered the same fom Celtic.Such a shame that end the beloved west-brit theory taht Celtic don't look after their players.

I wonder if The Indo will go back over their inaccurate rambling and pandering to United.... Nah i doubt it too.


IAM MILLER will join Manchester United on July 1 after signing a pre-contract agreement with the Premiership club yesterday.

He is set to earn 20 times his current Celtic salary when he joins Manchester United this summer but his agent said last night that money was not a factor in his decision to leave Parkhead.

"The only club Liam was going to leave Celtic for was Manchester United," said Fintan Drury of Drury Sports.

"People who know Liam will know that he has not made this decision on financial grounds. He sees this as an opportunity to improve himself as a player."

Indeed, Miller is understood to have turned down the opportunity to talk to several other Premiership clubs because of his reluctance to leave Celtic for anybody other than United, a club he has always supported.

Miller spent the last three days in Manchester meeting Alex Ferguson and members of the United squad as Drury and his colleague Eamonn McLoughlin hammered out a long term deal worth £1m per year. That's a far cry from the £1,000 per week he has been earning this season at Celtic despite making 29 first team appearances including ten in the Champions League where he has scored three goals.

Celtic moved quickly yesterday to deflect criticism of their inability to keep Miller by issuing a statement suggesting they had done everything they could to persuade him to stay.

"We have had no confirmation from Manchester United of any pre-contract agreement. We've made an extremely generous offer to Liam Miller, the biggest salary deal ever put on the table for a young Celtic player who has come up through the ranks.

"This offer was made following detailed consideration of Liam's contribution to the team to date during his 16 starting appearances as well as his evident potential. It is a salary package which would make him one of the very best paid players in Scottish football history."

The statement is somewhat disingenuous to Miller, who could hardly be described as a young player given he celebrates his 23rd birthday next month.

Also, it is understood that Celtic were only prepared to offer him around £11,000 a week, which would hardly have made a ripple on the table of Scottish football's best paid players.

MIller time will not be easy 

Here in an article from the Glasgow Evening Times Ronnie Cully sums up the feeling of Celtic fans i relation to the Miller transfer.

He hits the nail on the head, shaming former Celtic star and fellow mercenary Charlie Nicholas in the process, who as usual blamed the club SHOCK!!

Miller time is over 

A star in 16 games, and he has thrown it all back in Celtic's face. Well blow me over with a whistle.

I can't help but display my disgust at the actions of another son of Cork in relation to a team Irish fans claim as their own.

not, of course that the nationality should really matter, but when you bleat on about it being the club you want to sign for, that you love and that you always supported, then you deserve the stick.

Miller spoke to United (thru his greasy agent Drury no doubt) while leading Martin O Neill and the Celtic board a merry dance. The club offered him 20k a week, YES 20k for a player who made 29 appearances in 6 years, and who had maybe 4 outstanding performances this season.

Celtic fans have been united against Miller like never before in recent memory and it is unlikely that his remaining 6 months before his deal with Manchester United starts, will be anything but hell.

Ive had to write a column for the Sunday Mirror about this issue, here's an early preview:

A few years ago I sat in a Yorkshire pub with an Irish underage international and asked him if he, a Celtic fan, would ever sign for Rangers?

"No way?," was the swift response, "not a hope". What if they offered you £30,000 a week?, I pushed. "If they were to offer me that then surely I;d be good enough for Celtic," he said.

It wasn't Liam Miller, of course.

This week has shown how little fans and the clubs now mean to some players. Of course Miller has not signed for Rangers, but the point about moving for money from a club you are said to 'support' is relevant.

On Wednesday Motherwell's Scottish International Stephen Pearson moved to his boyhood heroes Celtic, and the next day it emerged the young Cork star, who has yet to be capped, signed up to be a bench warmer in Manchester.

Pearson, who proved himself a quality performer in an average side over the last 12 months, demanded to move in January so his old club could at least reap some financial reward for the time invested in him.

Miller, meanwhile, snubbed a huge contract offer from Celtic, and will undoubtedly pick up a hefty signing-on fee from the Reds given that he arrives on a Bosman free transfer.

He paid lip-service, as the best Cork footballers do, to Celtic and how he only wanted to play in Glasgow, but said when he signed for United that he always supported ?only two clubs?. Would you ever have heard the likes of it from Alan Shearer?

The patronising Irish players who proclaim a love of Celtic, only to shove it in the Hoops fans faces, yes Mr Keane, can now forget about the easy tesitmonial money they used to dream of.

While Miller displayed great potential and skill in the early months of this season including two goals in the Champions League, he has been in the Celtic first team for less than 30 games and has started only 16 of those.

His lack of loyalty to Celtic is all the more galling considering his 18 months spent out through injury that has led to him making his first senior start this season at 22.

I know loyalty is almost a bad word in football these days, especially when agents are involved, but surely he could have at least earned his club a fee, like Pearson did formotherlyl.

Following Roy Keane?s selfishness in Saipan two years ago, it seems another Cork man is to be struck from a lot of Irish soccer fans Christmas card list. Apart from the usual Man United couch potates, that is.

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