A Belgian football website has had a bit of a rant at Celtic, and it may even serve to annoy Rangers fans as the country’s football league is pretty much dismissed.
Celtic and Rangers have been in the world media a lot over the past few months, with world football fans happy to see the return of the Old Firm and watch, or read about, Brendan Rodgers and Mark Warburton sending their teams into battle.
Yet, Celtic moving for Henry Onyekuru, and specifically the player trying to force the move to Glasgow, has caused some annoyance in Belgium.
Anderlecht online have published an opinion piece querying why Onyekuru would want to leave Belgium, where he currently plays for Eupen, for Celtic.
‘We are the last to minimise the record and the history of the Green-Whites, but the truth has its place. Celtic stands 45th in the UEFA club ranking. Anderlecht 37th. Scotland’s league is 23rd in the UEFA ranking. Israel (22) and Norway (24) ahead, Belgium stands at nine.
‘Why would Onyekuru like to go to Scotland? For their sunny climate? Unless the Nigerian is a big fan of bagpipe music or the Loch Ness Monster, he just wants to Celtic because they are the only ones who showed an interest.’
Harsh, and whilst there’s no arguments over rankings, there are other things which make Celtic attractive. The battle with Rangers may not be what it once was, but is still considered one of the world’s biggest matches, and is covered in the world media as such.
When Moussa Dembele scored a hat-trick as Celtic beat Rangers 5-1, it got the young talent coverage everywhere, and brought him to the attention of many clubs.
Celtic’s average attendance is just over 55,000, and the closest in the Belgian league, Club Brugge, doesn’t even reach half of that. Indeed, 10 of the Jupiler League’s 16 teams don’t break 10,000 as an average, and Onyekuru’s current club Eupen have an average of little over 3,000.
Rangers are pushing on 50,000, but it’s fair to say that, like in Belgium, it drops off a cliff after that, however, Onyekuru would be looking to play every other week in front of the Celtic Park faithful. It’s a huge pull.
Then there’s the great European nights, with Celtic excitedly welcomed around Europe, and the odd result to hawk back to glory days.
Brendan Rodgers is also an attraction for young players, and Moussa Dembele has praised him repeatedly, which won’t have been lost on Onyekuru.
It’s fair enough that Anderlecht Online want young footballers to stay in Belgium, but to paint Celtic are some sort of dreadful destination is simply wrong.