After reading Gordon Parks comments on Paddy Roberts’ ‘unambitious’ return to Celtic I’m left scratching my head as to the motive and the meaning of the article.
Firstly, a journalist employed specifically to talk about Scottish football shouldn’t be putting our game down (but the lack of professionalism is another gripe for another day).
Let’s look at the real reason Paddy decided to come back and what ambition in football actually means.
We know Patrick Roberts had offers in England, Spain and France. Offers in three of the most reputable leagues in world football yet the lad knocked them back to come and play in Scotland.
That should be celebrated. In a time where we get a kicking from down south and abroad about the standard of our league we have a top player wanting to come and play in it.
I fully understand the frustrations of other clubs fans that Celtic are pulling even further away from the pack but if ANY of the clubs can bring in players which improves the reputation and standard of Scottish football then I’m unsure how that can be a bad thing. It’s negative attitudes such as this that have held Scottish football back for years.
What is ambition in football?
There are two answers. Money or trophies.
Unfortunately money makes the world go round. Players from all around the world move to the Premier League purely for the cash. The English will disagree with this till the cows come home, but let’s be honest. Shaqiri didn’t sign for Stoke because he thinks they’re a big club. Robinho didn’t know who Man City were when he signed for them – it’s purely for the cash.
Is that what ambition is? If you’re in a position where you’re making more than a million a year do you need to be making any more? Does it matter?
On the other hand there’s the trophy argument. Jermaine Defoe once said that his biggest regret in football to date is not winning a trophy. A multi millionaire and a terrific striker, but behind all the cash, goals and the talent is one burning desire he may never fulfil.
Patrick Roberts has won three at Celtic already and touch wood he gets the chance to do it all over again this year. No matter how much cash Roberts makes or who he goes on to play for he’ll always remember his days at Celtic has some of the most fondest of his career. There’s evidence through lots of players to prove that.
Also completely overlooked in the media is the fact that Man City weren’t going to sell Roberts. Apparently (because I’m no ITK) he’s on c. 25k per week.
That means whether he moves to Stoke, Celtic, Nice of Girona he’s still going to be on 25k per week – regardless of who’s paying it.
with this in mind, the decision on where to play your trade this season comes down to one thing and one thing only. Where will you be happiest and where can you develop?
Celtic are a club with a reputation of taking young players and improving them. We’ve based a business model on it. Wanyama, Forster, Van Dijk, Ki etc etc. What all of these players have in common is that they left Celtic as better players than they arrived.
Whether Roberts wants to stay permanently or use the club to improve let’s just agree to be happy that a player of such calibre decided he wanted to be here.