Aiden McGeady: Managing the Myth

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Aiden McGeady: Managing the Myth

Postby jimbob » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:44 pm

[SIZE=3:d9796ff5]It was John F Kennedy who said “The greatest threat to truth is not the lie but the myth.” He was right. The lie only asks you to believe in what is right in front of you.

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Myth abounds in football as in no other sport, especially when applied to young players. How many former players from our club have been thrust into the limelight, touted as the Next Big Thing?[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Simon Donnelly. Once thought to be the new Dalglish, and what? He went to England, to play in what he called The Biggest League in the World. The myth that he was one of the best young Scottish players of his generation, got him there, although only to Sheffield. That should have been his first wake-up call. Four years later he was playing for St Johnstone.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Liam Miller is another. He made 26 appearances for Celtic, scoring two goals, but left for Manchester United, already believing he had made it as a player. His personal footballing nadir came on the night he stood out in midfield at Celtic Park against a top-drawer Lyon side in the UEFA Champions League.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

Yet his failure at Manchester United was almost total. His loan move to Leeds, initially supposed to be for three months, was extended for a year and then he was sold on to Sunderland, where he has hardly set the world on fire. It is always the same when myth meets reality; one has to give way to the other. Either the myth takes on solid form or it is exposed as mere fantasy.

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Two myths abound about Aiden McGeady. The first myth is that he is presently a footballer capable of starring on the Premiership stage. The other is that he has the ability to blossom into a genuinely world class player. Neither is verifiable, except by exposure to cold reality. McGeady [I:d9796ff5]will[/I:d9796ff5] leave Celtic one day and whatever talent he possesses will be put to its ultimate test.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]On reflection, however, things do not look good for him.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]On Saturday night, in the aftermath of a bust-up between McGeady and Gordon Strachan, a footballer one year younger than him took centre stage during the biggest match on the world footballing calendar. Those lucky enough to see the game, between Barcelona and Real Madrid, saw young Lionel Messi deliver a footballing master class amidst rough-house treatment that might have made any player balk.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Messi was kicked by every player wearing a Madrid shirt. He limped for some of the game, looked in genuine discomfort, but never hid, and at those moments he had the ball he might as well have been the only player on the pitch. He lit up the stage, and not only refused to hide, but played a starring role in Barcelona’s win, capping a magnificent performance with a brilliantly taken goal right at the end of the match.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Lionel Messi is world class. Beyond the realms of doubt, beyond any possibility of debate, here is a player who already wears that mantle at 21, not even at his peak. He did not dominate the biggest game in world football as much as he illuminated it. Indeed, he holds the accolade of being the youngest player [I:d9796ff5]ever to score[/I:d9796ff5] in the El Clasico derby, when at 19 he blasted a [I:d9796ff5]hat-trick[/I:d9796ff5], yes a hat-trick, against Real Madrid. The same season he scored what many believe to be the best goal of all time, when he copied almost exactly Maradona’s sensational solo-effort against England.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]McGeady is the myth. Messi is the reality.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]For three years now we have talked of McGeady and his “potential.” That it exists is undisputed. In his time at Parkhead, he has shown us flicks and feints, Messi himself would have been proud of. But tricks and flicks can be performed by any player in the world, if given time on the ball, and beating players in the SPL is not the same as shining on the world stage in Camp Nou.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]If McGeady truly is the player the myth would have us believe, why then is his mere presence in the side not enough to send ripples of fear around the opposition? Celtic have had such players in the past few years. The name Henrik Larsson gave managers, players and opposition fans around the country nightmares; his was a Messi-like talent for transforming games, and allied to the skill was consistency and, perhaps more importantly, maturity. The biggest problem with the myth is its tendency to fool not just the watching world, but the one at its centre; the player himself. [/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Gordon Strachan’s task here is immense. Strachan has to manage not simply the myth, which is tough enough because it leads to over-wrought expectations, but a player who [I:d9796ff5]believes his own myth[/I:d9796ff5] and is confusing it with reality.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]McGeady has shone at times, but this is Scotland, not the bigger stage. He has demonstrated fantastic ability, but other players have done the same and whilst they’ve made good livings out of the game the truly great players are motivated by other factors and for them success of a different kind is the thrill they seek.

McGeady is not nearly good enough to truly shine on the global level, and [I:d9796ff5]that [/I:d9796ff5]fact should make us all take a deep breath.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]The truly world-class players all show something before now which marks them out in that company. Cristiano Ronaldo went to Man Utd as a twelve million pound signing from Sporting Lisbon at just 19, and this before his talents truly blossomed. Can anyone say that Aiden McGeady would fetch such a fee even now, after five years as a full member of the Celtic side? Wayne Rooney scored his first goal in the Premiership five days before his [I:d9796ff5]17th [/I:d9796ff5]birthday. Now an undisputed world-class talent, he is just 23, and was signed by Ferguson before turning nineteen. He made his Man United debut in the Champions League. He scored a hat trick.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]McGeady believes himself to be in that class but Steven Gerrard was Liverpool captain at 20. Robbie Fowler was only 18 when he scored five for Liverpool in a senior match and he scored his first league hat-trick in only his fifth senior game.

Is McGeady anywhere near that good? [/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Off-the-field, rumours abound about bad behaviour, and excessive drinking. It is widely believed Strachan’s new discipline code is an effort to curb his worst excesses. [/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]If McGeady is really having trouble with this then we have a serious issue which even changing the manager, as some have suggested, would do nothing to resolve. If this young man is allowing his off-field activities to take over his life, and if he is refusing to heed advice from an old head like Strachan, it might be better for all concerned tolet him make a fresh start elsewhere, away from bad haunts and bad habits. The worry, of course, is that his bad habits follow him.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]If that happens, we are not looking at a true great but a potential train-wreck, not a potentially global talent but an enormous [I:d9796ff5]waste[/I:d9796ff5] of talent that will be a tragedy for McGeady and football.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

People will say that in spite of the rumours and the apparent evidence of an unbridgeable chasm between player and manager that we must move heaven and earth to keep McGeady at Parkhead. This is based not on reality, but on the myth.

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]McGeady has flared, briefly, but his name has not been burned into the consciousness of opposition players and fans. He is one of a group of players at Celtic, not the heart and soul of the club, without whom you cannot imagine the present playing squad. He is no Neil Lennon or Henrik Larsson, who’s absence in the first-team encouraged other sides to believe they could get a result where otherwise they would have feared to face us. Certainly he is no Messi or Owen or Gerrard or Rooney.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]McGeady’s failure to dominate recent games leaves me wondering if the myth will ever live up to the reality and as such I believe that the choice we face is not simply whether to back Strachan or sack him, but whether we trust the myth enough to actually keep the two together when it’s probably better to pull them apart. And right now, Strachan, the winner, with three league titles to his name, is the man who has proved his mettle where it counts.[/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=3:d9796ff5]McGeady is forever touted as “the next big thing.” My worry for him, and for us if we keep him in spite of his clear issues with authority, and his problems with consistency, he always will be. [/SIZE:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]

[/SIZE:d9796ff5] [SIZE=2:d9796ff5][SIZE=3:d9796ff5]Sooner or later, the potential has to be realised or else it’s nothing but an illusion. We are Celtic. Here, ability has to be more than just an article of fai[/SIZE:d9796ff5]th. [/SIZE:d9796ff5]

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Re: Aiden McGeady: Managing the Myth

Postby conorbhoy » Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:38 pm

Aye, McGeady isnt worth £20 million as some people are suggesting, And to be quite honest, i would take £8 million for him if Bayern did offer that.

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