Every now and then, somebody comes up with a “Greatest Ever” proposition, be it in Football, Golf, Boxing … or any other field of sporting, or, indeed, every-day endeavour. They invariably founder on the same treacherous rocks of inevitable subjectivity and the unfeasibility of equating the “Greats” of the present with those of former eras. That’s just the way it is, largely on account of irreconcilable differences in our evolving society, attitudes, expectations, rules, equipment, agronomy, sports technology and physiology … and myriad other generational considerations.
To navigate that hazard, the assumption will be that, just as cream always rises to the top, so the great players, of whatever era, would have come to the fore at any point in history, adapting to the prevailing circumstances of the time. End of …
When it comes to team sports, the selection problem is compounded by the fact that, so many wonderful players down through the ages, no-matter what selection you make, you end up excluding so many with a strong claim to inclusion that the exercise is ultimately rendered inconclusively pointless.
Though still fraught with difficulty and still inevitably clouded by individual opinion, there is a much greater chance of some degree of consensus over the selection of an “Ultimate Squad”, rather than a “Greatest Ever Team”. And that is the task to which, in a forthcoming series of posts, 25thMay will address itself in respect of our mutual obsession … Celtic … in the sure and certain knowledge that we will meet, in greater or lesser measure, with both agreement and disagreement – perhaps, even, a healthy degree of controversy.
The project will be broken down into entirely predictable categories, beginning with Goalkeepers, before moving on through Full Backs and Central Defenders to Midfielders and Forwards, perhaps with a special category of Wingers, who always were and still are, a breed apart, albeit something of an endangered species in the modern, increasingly tactical, game.
The selection process will be an amalgamation of actual observation during decades of supporting Celtic; and as objective an assessment as can be managed of legend and history, sometimes through the eyes, emotions and opinions of others whose span of life allowed them to gauge the personnel of earlier and overlapping eras of The Celtic Story and its fabulous cast of characters.
A brief word about methodology: bowing to the inevitability of personal prejudice and predisposition, we will begin by selecting those considered a “shoo-in” in each category. These will be supplemented by a selection of others believed worthy of a place in such an elite squad, either from observation, or by reputation.
And that’s where YOU, the reader come in. 25thMay is NOT the ultimate arbiter of Celtic greatness. To think so would, in fact, be the ultimate arrogance! Equally, with 121 years to trawl, simple oversight is well-nigh guaranteed.
So, please be assured that this is not just an ego trip, an exercise in the self- satisfaction of bringing my own, essentially flawed, opinions into the worldwide forum of Celtic cyberspace. It is a genuine attempt collectively to compile a credible “Ultimate Celtic Squad” – so please feel free to comment and offer alternative nominations, secure in the knowledge that they will be given due consideration (though not necessarily accepted) in assembling our final squad.
We trust you will enjoy what we hope will be an absorbing feature and we look forward to some enthusiastic reader participation and stimulating feedback in pursuit of the definitive “Ultimate Celtic Squad”.
For such a long “Season”, it will be a much larger than normal squad; but no number will be set in advance … let’s just see how it pans out.
Watch this space.