For the 4 years Gordon Strachan was in charge of Celtic I can’t say I was ever convinced, and I was one of the many people demanding him to be removed as manager, any outsider looking at his record would think we were all crazy.

3 League titles, 1 Scottish Cup, 2 League Cups, and 3 years he won the SPFA Manager of the year, not exactly the record of a bad manager, however in his last year the team struggled alot, Rangers fans would even admit there team has one of the poorest they’ve ever seen but Strachan failed to beat them, and Rangers went on to lift the title, Celtic fans had never been enamoured with Gordon’s style of play, so many times they would have to come from behind to pick up a victory, scrappy football is not the Celtic style of football.

Tactically he seems very inept 4-4-2 was always used and when in trouble the only change he ever made was like for like using the same formation, no risks ever taken, players bought and never used, Derek Riordan one of the brightest talents in Scotland came to the club, 24 appearances in 2 years scoring 5 goals and then sold back to Hibs for a loss, and for Hibs he has 20 goals in 52 games in a year and a half, the kind of player if they hadn’t screwed him around Celtic would be very interested in.

Players like Evander Sno and Perrier-Doumbe showed alot of promise, I watched alot of Sno in the reserves, and you could see him commanding the game from the middle of the park, but then Gordon would bring in lots of central midfielders, and Sno was never given his chance, Robson, Hartley, Crosas, Donati, apart from Robson none of them showed they were far superior to Sno, now only 22 years old, was sent back to Ajax were he played 19 games and now on loan at Bristol City, he started on the bench but now has worked hard for a starting place, and from what I’ve seen he has impressed playing 19 games scoring 3 goals, I would love him to still be at the club.

On the 8th of June 2009 Celtic fans got there wish Strachan was out, and in came ex-Celtic hardman and inventer of the Celtic pregame huddle Tony Mowbray was appointed manager, the fans were overjoyed at the appointment, a manager who likes to play attractive football which he had shown during his time at West Brom and in the SPL with Hibs, also a Celtic man, who knew the club and had the clubs interest at heart, surely this could only be a good thing.

Lets fast forward to today 30th of January, 21 games played and Celtic find themselves 10 points behind Rangers with a game in hand, not exactly the dream start for Mowbray. Celtic have always made Celtic Park a fortress the epic 32 game unbeaten record in Europe during the O’Neil days, this season 4 draws and 1 defeat is nowhere near a fortress, more a holiday camp, the away record not exactly sparkling either 3 defeats and a draw, Rangers in comparison only beaten once at home and once away and 6 draws and 17 goals better off, it looks an impossible task for The Bhoys to overcome.

Mowbray of course needs time to build his own team, so far gone are Nakamura, Hesselink, Balde, Doumbe, Hartley, Donati, Caldwell , Robson, Flood, and Killen, the last 3 will be reunited with Strachan at Middlesbrough along with Stephen McManus on loan more on that later.

In their place Mowbray’s signings are not names that create excitement Zaluska, Fortune, N’Guemo (loan), Josh Thompson, Zheng Zhi, Ki Sung-Yong, Hooiveld, Rogne, and Rasmussen, I left out Danny Fox as even though he only joined in the summer, he’s now been sold to Burnley for a profit of £300,000 which to me is baffling, is that Tony admitting he was a bad signing, or was Fox not happy, that brings me to my next point.

The fans were not a fan of Strachan, but it seems however the players must have been, Chris Killen never got a game under him, but has joined Middlesbrough to link up with Strachan again, as have, Barry Robson, Willo Flood and Stephen McManus and they could soon be joined by Scott McDonald, Gary Caldwell nearly joined but Wigan came in, and he wanted a crack at the Premiership.

What does it say that players that hardly featured only one manager, would then jump at the chance to again work under him, I can’t work out if that makes Gordon a good person to play for or worringly does it make Tony a bad person to play for.

The one player gone that worries me is Stephen McManus, I have met Stephen personally, his girlfriend live next door to my Uncle, and the man bleeds green blood, he has been there since he was a child, and came through the ranks to captain the club, surely a boyhood dream, then Tony came in, took away his starting spot, what worries me is that when Boro made the offer and Tony let Stephen know about it, it was said that Stephen jumped at the chance to link up again with the man that made him captain, and not stay and fight for his place at his club, the club he has loved since he was old enough to kick a ball, this makes me question Tony Mowbray as a man manager, 5 players have followed Strachan to Middlesbrough, 1 player has followed Tony from West Brom.

Today while thinking about this blog and what I was going to write, I came to a bit of a more positve mindset, the team Strachan built was decent however an ageing team, so it needed rebuilding, when is the best time to rebuild a club, I don’t think there is one, so far this season 13 players have left the club, and 10 players have come in, surely only now is Mowbray putting his stamp on the club, and with 17 games remaining this season in the league, it could be that the players don’t gel together till the end of the season or even in preseason.

I am gonna put this season down to rebuilding, aslong as we come 2nd it’s no disaster, this gives Tony 7 months to mould the squad for the start of next season, and from now on only then will I judge him as a Celtic manager, I know from years of being a Celtic fan, the majority will not be as patient, it seems though that the board are, giving Tony the money to buy players build his own squad, it would be ridiculous now to remove him and bring someone else in, the new man might not like the players brought in for £4 million this January, which would just be a waste of money.

Only time will tell if it’s been a year of building or a year of destruction, however I am now willing to give it the time it needs to show through, and I hope my fellow fans do the same.


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Well after 3 weeks of competition there are only 2 teams left, and I don’t think anyone had this down as their final, even fans of Ghana and Egypt.

The only match I have seen Ghana in was the defeat to the Ivory Coast and they didn’t look like making the Quarter Finals nevermind the final itself, but Asamoah Gyan’s head in the first half was enough to knock out the heavily backed Nigerian team.

Ghana hosted the cup 2 years ago and with Essien, Appiah and co they were fancied to go all the way, but Ivory Coast spoiled the party, so this time not alot was expected from the Black Stars, however on Sunday they will walk out to contest the 2010 African Nations Final

Egypt were also written off before the tournament started, saying the stars weren’t there, the players weren’t as good as 2 years ago, but they have proved the critics wrong, winning in style all the way through the competition, 3-1 against Nigeria, 3-1 against Cameroon and the 4-0 destruction of Algeria in the Semi-Final.

My brain is telling me that Egypt are the favourites and will walk away with their 7th African Nations title, but I have written off Ghana twice already so I am thinking they could easily pull out another shock and take the title back to Accra.

I’m gonna leave my judgements open on this one, my head says Egypt, but alot of the times, football doesn’t play out on paper, anything can happen.

I hope it is a really good game of football, Egypt always play nice attract football, and Ghana should be going all out for the win, here’s hoping the tournament ends in a much better note than it opened.

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So after the troubles in Angola, the tournament has progressed to the Quarter-Final stage and we have seen some great, average and poor football in the last 2 weeks, and hopefully the great football will continue.

Let’s have a look at the teams that have progressed.

Group A – A tense finish to the group saw ANGOLA and ALGERIA play out a 0-0 draw and both teams qualified to the last 8, I have been impressed by Angola going forward, Flavio before his injury was playing well, Mabinda going up the right flank has shown lots of ability.

Algeria had an awful start against Malawi looking shaky at the back, this has since improved, a strong showing against a poor Mali, the standout players being Bougherra and Halliche at the back and Yebda and Matmour in midfield. The Jury is out though, they could have easily been put out, English fans looking on will not be worried for South Africa in June. 

Group B – This group went mainly with expectations IVORY COAST and GHANA progressing, The Cote D’Ivoire bombared Burkina Faso’s goal in the first game but couldn’t find a winner, and then Gervnho insprired them to victory against Ghana.

Ayew’s header was enough to help Ghana progress, a young team without the main stars not sure how far they can go, we can only wonder how the group would have gone if Togo had have been part of it.

Group C – The powerhouses of EGYPT and NIGERIA dominated this group, everyone had written off  Egypt’s chances, and when Obasi put Nigeria 1 up in their head to head meeting the critics had seemed right until Egypt took charge and won 3-1, 2 goals from Motaeb and Nagy Gedo saw the Pharoahs win all 3 games.

Yakubu’s penalty was enough to see the Super Eagles squeeze past a spirited Benin, the Peter Odemwingie’s double against set up victory against Mozambique, it was also good to see how much the other 2 nations had come on.

                                                  Group D – Probably the shock of the group stage the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia sitting at the bottom of Group D with ZAMBIA proudly on top, starting with a draw against Tunisia and defeat against Cameroon, noone would have thought Zambia would win the group but goals from Kalaba and Chamanga were enough to see off Gabon, all they needed was Cameroon to win or draw.

CAMEROON bounced back from the defeat against Gabon to defeat Zambia 3-2 Eto’o opening his account for the tournament, he then added a 2nd against Tunisia, but it was Celtic’s Landry N’Guemo who scored the equaliser which saw Tunisia go out and Zambia go through.

The Quarter-Finals are as follows:

24th Jan – Angola v Ghana – Luanda
24th Jan – Ivory Coast v Algeria – Cabinda

25th Jan – Egypt v Cameroon – Benguela
25th Jan – Zambia v Nigeria – Lubango


Angola v Ghana will be interesting, for the hopes of the tournament I hope Angola will advance, if Flavio is back upfront I can see them having too much for the young Ghana side.
Ivory Coast v Algeria depends on what Algeria turn up, they have not impressed so far, but did qualify for the World Cup, I think Drogba Elephants will be too strong for Algeria.
Egypt v Cameroon is a fantastic match up, both have excellent players, Cameroon a little older, maybe more experience, however Egypt are playing some good football for me, this will be the standout match, too close to call.
Zambia v Nigeria is hard to call aswell, Zambia will be up for this but have not beaten a big team yet, Nigeria could be too good for them however Zambia will not want the fairytale to end just yet, not since 96 when they came third have they reached this stage.



Looking forward to 4 exciting games, I will try and go a proper report on all the remaining games, so stay tunes for them.


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I must say I am quite excited about the tournament starting on Monday, I don’t want to go on about the shock events on Friday as this should be all about the football.

So here we go, for the uninformed the Tournament is being held in Angola, 16 teams split into 4 groups competing to be the best team in African, since 2002 when Cameroon were crowned Champions in Mali, the tournament has been dominated by teams from northern African mainly Tunisia and Egypt, so the likes of Cameroon, Nigeria and Ivory Coast will be hoping to bring the trophy further south.

My picks to win are Ivory Coast, surely the last big chance for this team of players to win something, Drogba likely to be playing in his last tournament, the Toure brothers, Gervinho, Keita and Dindane all make it a very talented team, and if they perform I can’t see anyone getting past them.

The Dark Horses to watch out for, for me are Mali, Mamadou Diarra, Seydou Keita and Freddy Kanoute are 3 big names playing for The Eagles, they have alot of players you’d know if you followed the French League, I can see them winning their group and should at least make the Semi-Finals if not the final depending on the draw.

Now the players to watch, I didn’t want to go for the obvious Drogba, Eto’o etc, so hopefully 10 names your not too farmilar with that you can keep an eye out for.

6ft Defender who can play in the centre or on the right, Wigan showed interest in Francisco before the new year playing him in  behind closed doors friendly, wanting to sign him from Russian club FC Kuban for £1m however no deal was done, I would put money on a few English teams having him watched, he holds a portuguese passport and hopes to leave Russian soon.

Playing in France for Le Mans Modibo caught my eye when Grafite and De Melo left and he stepped up, can player either down the middle or on the wing, shows good pace and skills, scored 8 times last season for Le Mans, will cause a few teams problems if given the chance.

One for England fans to watch out for, made his name in France playing mostly for newly promoted teams, I first saw him playing for Lorient, likes to play in the hole behind the striker, drifts about, very elusive, good in the air, a tricky dangerman.

#10 GERVINHO – IVORY COAST (I didn’t know they were all #10′s when I picked them haha)
Played for 2 years in Le Mans and caught the attention of Arsene Wenger who showed an interst, however he moved to Lille, and he has exploded into life scoring 11 goals in 18 games, he had a slow start but has made up for it, an explosive winger, can also play upfront, a real handful.

Not sure if we will get to see Floyd start for Togo but I would hope he will receive some playing time, owned by Bordeaux he is on loan at Nancy this season, and has shown flashes of being a good player in the future and this could be a great platform to show his talents.

Still one of my favourite players, when he played for Lille he was amazing, he has done pretty well again at Lokomotiv Moscow, pace, skill, good movement, an all round player, I hope he does really well.

Last season for PSG was his breakout season,  6 league goals and 7 assists he became one of the stars of the team and Chelsea and Arsenal placed their interest, 2 goals this season so far, plays in the middle of midfield but can drift to either flank just an overall great player. Interesting to see how he does with his Benin teammates.

This man is one of the players Stephane will be hoping to hook up with, I first saw this player when he was Henrik Larsson’s strik partner at Helsngborgs scoring 14 goals in 23 matches, alo scoring 6 goals in the Uefa Cup when they got to the last 32 stage, alot of clubs showed interest, mostly in Holland apparently he turned down a move to Gronignen, and after a bad move to the middle east, he is now playing for Metz in France, a strong player and good finsher, very dangerous, has a great scoring record for club and country, a real dangerman.

This young player has one the hearts of the Ajax fans they have shown him great acceptance and admiration from his quality play also showing maturity beyond his years, becoming a regular starter for the Dutch side, recently called up for the Cameroon team, he now has a chance to showcase his ability on the world stage, and there’s no reason the midfielder can’t succeed.

This guy was meant to be one of the next stars of African football scoring 8 goals in the African Champions League for the impressive Etoile Sahel, a team I have visited in my travels, he then moved the Hertha BSC has played 10 games but hasn’t made an impact, In August this year he was loane outto Al-Ittihad and has scored 8 goals in 9 games, due to return to Germany at the end of the season, at 22 the striker is young enough to still make the impact he was meant to, a good games will do no harm, pacy strikers, strong for his size, I have high hopes for him.

Well there you go 10 players to watch out for.

Hope you enjoyed reading this, I enjoyed writing it, really hope now the tournament goes ahead.

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Felt I had to put a quick blog today after the events in Africa.

If your not aware the Togo National team were attacked by rebel fighters on the border of Angola and Cabinda, 2 players were injured the driver is thought to have been killed. At this time the Togo team are deciding whether or not to continue with the tournament, due to start on Monday, I can see no reason how they would be able to play after going through such a traumatic experience.

I don’t want the whole tournament cancelled as I always enjoy the African festival of fooball they put on, but to have people’s lives in danger is just not worth it, and if FIFA and the Angolian goverment cannot guarentee the safety of the players then the tournament cannot go ahead, what does this also say about the World Cup in June.

I hope it goes ahead, more likely without the shocked Togo team, I’m sure we’ll all know more over the weekend.

I am working on a little African Cup of Nations preview so that should be up this weekend.

All the best