Time: February 2013, approximately ten past Guinness.
Venue: Tolbooth Bar when it still had more than just the one solitary piece of Celtic memorabilia on its walls. At least the upside down altar is still there however. Thanks be to God.
That night a typically good one was had and this despite the soreness of Celtic’s Champions League execution at home to Italy’s la vecchia signora only two nights before. A game we lost 0-3, deservedly, but a game in which we had the right to think we would do much better.
Celtic don’t deserve the right to win any game before a ball is kicked but at that point we did have Wanyama, Hooper, Mulgrew, Forster and Ledley. Indeed, it was only the previous October Tony Watt had made Tim folklore by securing the win against Barça.
Not that night in February however, that night was a bad one at the office with poor defending, an hour to register a shot at goal and both Wanyama and Ambrose missing clear cut chances.
It happens. We moved on.
That Friday night in yesterday’s Tolbooth gave rise to a debate between myself and some others which focussed on Kris Commons. At that point Commons was practically untouchable for critique amongst large sections of the support.
Due of course to his obvious talents of vision, passing, goalscoring and assists. This was also the season in which he scored 32 and would eventually win Player of the Year.
For all of this however, he was nae Moravcik or Naka, and couldn’t dribble or get out of 2nd gear in terms of pace. And don’t get me started on the amount of times he selfishly lashed from 25 yards out when a through ball needed to be played.
Talented but selfish.
For me, it was impossible to take to Commons however. I wasn’t alone in this but neither were we a multitude. As a matter of fact, I always lost the arguments in these debates.
Putting it bluntly, I thought he was a selfish big mouth attention seeking bastard who was a tad overrated. More than this, to me he was nothing more than a money man into the bargain. All traits which I think most working class Tims abhor.
Commons always struck me as the boy in the playground who tantrumed when he didn’t get the ball. You know the sort – the same one who thought nothing at selling out others to the Heedy if it took the attention off himself. For the school team he was decent, but somehow shone like gold leaf to his clique in this imagined World Cup of playgrounds where status and popularity clearly trumped ability.
Proof of this selfish and disloyal behaviour in relation to Commons?
Well, I think there’s plenty now but there was the odd sign here and there in his Hooped days too.
Commons: The Anti Tim
For example, that Celtic and Juve game mentioned above showed us how easy it was for Commons to push his teammates under the bus. His post match comments called out Ambrose, who clearly wasn’t match fit after the Cup of Nations having just arrived back the day of the game.
“The manager pulled him (Ambrose) to one side and asked him if he was feeling OK. He said he was feeling brilliant. If he wasn’t feeling OK then he should have said so. If he felt good then he should have put in a better performance.”
Agree with the sentiment or don’t – this should have been aired behind closed doors. Keep it dignified and keep it direct as opposed to petty and all very public, please.
Presently, in his position of ‘pundit’, he is circling the wagons on another player: Vasilias Barkas. A man who has played only hours of football for Celtic because, well, it’s still the start of the season! Yet Commons believes that it’s time he was compared to Forster, arguably our best keeper in a generation or more.
In doing so, Commons provides oxygen to the senseless flames of many a tempered Tim who simply cannot comprehend why Celtic cannot win EVERY game. And he is getting paid handsomely for it either on Sky or with the Daily Record.
Rent Trouble? Gie’s Peace Kris!
The most obvious example of the selfish and pernicious character of Commons came in 2015 however. This was under Ronny Deila when Commons post-match comments attacked Celtic and his frustration at his lack of suitable new contract.
Fair enough, it does feel like Celtic have forever had the financial strings tuned tighter than a Yamaha Grand but in doing so he indirectly compared himself to ‘the common man’, as quoted on the BBC,
‘I have got rent to pay, so I need to get some money in.’
Gie’s peace Kris – talk about lacking in context or even compassion.
He made it sound as if he was in a normal job with a normal rate of pay who is enslaved in a normal fashion to a rent rate set by a fixed market manipulated by a minority. All very normal and grotesque. As opposed to his actual reality which is that he was being paid an elite wage for an elite occupation whilst having his pick of almost any type of semi luxury accommodation he so desired. All very abnormal and just as grotesque in my eyes.
I’m guessing that his post tax weekly wage in 2015 (£12-15,000?) could likely swat away 2 – 4 YEARS worth of the average man in the streets chokehold of a mortgage. And about 2-3 years rent also!
I’d bet my own mortgage that Commons wasn’t two paychecks away from a foodbank voucher and a Temporary Furnished Flat (TFF) either, like the common man in the street is. And I’d bet you even more he’d have no issue securing a loan from his choice of banks given his financial security and low risk status he would have had given his career earnings and weekly income. Again, this common man in the street would not have it so easy.
To have the gall to make such a hollow comparison for a decent post match soundbite, designed to get the fans on his side, displays either a thickness or an arrogant cunning. An arrogance which comes so easily with the territory of being a manipulative money man.
I think we now know that Commons ain’t no ‘Celtic Man’ and is also a shrewd individual when it comes to matters of the wallet. So I’d guess he was of the latter.
But he never did allow context to get in the way of a good, although false, narrative. Which is exactly why he is the perfect fit at Sky Sports and the Record where he gets another chance at being a money grabbing careerist who is quick to put the boot in – studs up – against Celtic.
Enjoy the King’s Shilling Kris.