Sammy has always been one of my favourites and I’m sad to see him go. While unarguably not the most consistent player we’ve ever seen at Celtic Park, he had some moments of true greatness and had a massive impact on the club. His winner against Spartak comes to mind, as does his last minute overhead kick winner against Aberdeen last season – one of the most exciting games since the demise of Scotland’s Shame. And of course the only consolation we got in the 6-1 shafting at the Nou Camp this season came from Sammy. As far as I’m concerned Sammy has proven himself at a European level and I felt that European teams recognized Sammy as a threat this year. My brother made the point that Zlatan was getting shit for being passive at Juve. Sammy’s style of play maybe isn’t suited to the Scottish league, and he doesn’t fit into a lot of people’s preconceived notions of what a footballer should be. His relatively low work rate could frustrate supporters who wanted 10 Scott Browns on the pitch but few would deny the options he offered.
Earlier this season, Sammy said that he had always wanted to stay at the same club for a long time, he wanted to love them and to be loved back and that club for him was Celtic. At the weekend he spoke out saying that he had wanted to stay with Celtic, and Lennon wanted him to stay too, but that people higher up had made the decision for them. It’s obviously worrying to hear a player suggest that the board aren’t backing their manager: if Lennon wanted Samaras to stay the board should have facilitated that. There’ve been rumours all season about Sammy getting a wage cut for next year and him not being happy. We don’t know exactly what went on. If they forced him out when Lennon wanted him to stay that can only be a bad thing for the club though. The Porto development philosophy would suggest a player like Sammy being eventually sold on but the impression I’ve got is that it was more about getting rid of him and securing his wages for reallocation.
The zeitgeist since January at least has been generally against him with folk saying his head was down. I mind Hullbhoy on the Celtic Underground podcast saying he was actually worried that no one would want Sammy, Celtic would feel like they had to put another offer in for him and he’d end up staying. If only. I think it’s clear to most that Samaras isn’t a conventional striker and his contribution to the team shouldn’t be measured purely statistically. There was an element of inconsistency with him, but weighing it up though I think he did a great deal more good than bad for us. What’s more, he seemed like a thoroughly decent guy, and seemed to genuinely love the club. It would’ve been one thing if he or the manager had felt it was his time to move on but seeing him go out like this is upsetting. Some may remember him for his inconsistencies but I’ll always remember him as a favourite, the times he was untouchable, and the threat he posed in Europe.
Greece in the World Cup!