2008 AUTUMN SEASON REVIEW
After missing out on the title by a point on the last day of the 2006/2007 campaign, a Geordie revolution swept into town in the shape of Matthew Watson-Broughton. The young goalkeeper was appointed head coach at Csepel and his impact so far his been nothing short of extraordinary, despite an utterly baffling first interview with the media.
Watson-Broughton’s first task in his role was to find suitable replacements for the exodus of players that left the club. Celtic legends Adrian Courage and Imre Varga took on new challenges whilst the Hoops own Mr November, American Christopher Pohald returned home to assist in Barack Obama’s subsequently successful US presidential campaign.
Watson-Broughton splashed the cash bringing in no fewer than sixteen new signings. The capture of Arick Trettel, Martin Abel, James Luby, the returning Paul Bartlett, Little Istvan and Dean Bailey, Abdullah Saleh Alghanmi, Paul Couling, Robin Hafner, Johny Bennett, Mike Hughes, Jack Pilot, Paul Kamondy, Martin Abel, Szilard Kardhordo and Mark Servatius meant that Celtic could call upon their largest and arguably most talented squad in the clubs history.
The Celtic squad was also severly depleted by injuries to key players Rob Longworth, Nigel Killeen and Heike Bult. Unfortunately for Celtic the flying Dutchman (copyright Neil Evans) Bult was unable to shake off a persistent ankle knock and he did not participate in any matches in what for the time being will be his last season in the hoops. His on and off field genius will be sorely missed.
New recruits Paul Kamondy, Mike Hughes and Martin Abel were also victims of the Budapest Celtic injury curse; however they are all on the road to recovery and will play their part in the spring season.
A gala season opener between Budapest Celtic and their sister club Celtic Kaledonian began with Istvan Muranyi showing off his unique bag pipe skills in front of an eager crowd. When the action began for real the Hoops ran out 3-0 winners. There were debut goals for Szilard Kardhordo and Paul Bartlett. Dao also got his name on the score sheet.
After their opening day victory Celtic then proceeded to win three games on the trot in the month of October. Dinamo Torpedo, Vezer FC and Athletico Match were all swept aside in spectacular fashion by a rampant Celtic squad firing on all cylinders.
Few people associated with the club will ever forget the heroic demolition of Vezer at Csepel on the 12th October. With two players seeing red for the Hoops, the Csepel nine (copyright Laurence Coen) as they have come to be known overcame the until then undefeated Vezer in easily Celtic’s best display of the season.
Away from the game, not to be outdone by Fergal Strumble’s infamous excursion into the music industry (see 2007/2008’s season review) Celtic’s multi-lingual full back Joe McCann and the bored Heike Bult launched their own attempt at taking the Hungarian pop charts by storm with distarous consequences. You can download the duo’s first and hopefully last ever single at Itunes for 1p, or alternatively you can watch the video here.
Although the Hoops displays were not up to the standard they had set earlier in the campaign, Celtic’s record breaking start to the season continued with two more victories on the trot. The revitalized Ratio Homini and Manager United were defeated after determined performances from the men in green and white.
The last league match of winter season saw Celtic face defending Champions The Vikings mid way through the month. A close match ended 3-2 with the Norwegians condemning Celtic to their first defeat of the season.
On the 22nd Celtic turned their attentions to the Duncan Shields cup and after another classic encounter they defeated Szigeti Source 4-2 in a penalty shoot out to keep themselves on course for a league and cup double.
The club would like to wish Irish legend Fergal Strumble all the best for the future as for the moment this season will be his last in a Celtic shirt. Newcomer Arick Trettel is also off to Hamburg in January and the hoops wish him every success.
Despite the defeat to The Vikings, Celtic’s form this season has been outstanding. Seven wins out of eight games is incredible by any standards and the club have made their best start to the campaign in their entire twelve year history. Perhaps the most unbelievable thing is Celtic can and will get better.
With a hugely talented playing squad and an imaginative and unrivaled coaching staff led by Matt Watson-Broughton, Laurence Coen and Neil Evans, it is entirely up to Celtic to decide how their complete season will end.
Budapest Celtic Midseason Player Report Cards
Has combined his coaching duties with playing occasionally extremely well.
Moment of the season: His save that defied believe in the Vikings match.
The Turkish veterans first real season at Csepel has been superb.
Moment of the season: Keeping Celtic in the cup with a last min save on Sunday.
Played only one match, the 5-2 win over Dinamo.
The lubster’s dodgy knee has meant his only appearance this season has been in a friendly match.
Having established himself as first choice center back The Rickster will now sadly head back to Germany in the January transfer window. His ability to bring the ball out of defence added a new dimension to Celtic’s play this season.
Moment of the season: His drilled through pass to Dao that led to a goal in the 8-0 win over Athletico.
Club captain Coen has arguably had his best campaign in a Celtic shirt.
Moment of the season: His outstanding forty yard pass that set up Stani in the Athletico match or his goal line clearance versus The Vikings.
Forced to adapt his style of play, Harsanyi has had a very steady campaign and is improving with every match.
Moment of the season: His terrific long ball for Dao to score in the Dinamo match.
The tall English center back has impressed any time he has been given a chance and he will push hard for a starting berth come the spring.
Moment of the season: One of his many long legged match saving tackles in the second half v Vikings.
After last years’s successful debut season, Joe ‘Everywhere’ McCann took further strides forward. Going from strength to strength, he has made the right back slot his own with a very consistent campaign.
Moment of the season: His outstanding last ditch tackle that prevented Ratio from equalizing in the Hoops 3-0 win.
Longworth has spent the entire season on the sidelines; the club knows Rob will return in time for spring stronger than ever before.
A modern day attacking full back in every sense, the Haf has slotted in nicely to the Celtic defence.
Moment of the season: His brilliant right footed goal v Vezer.
The Irish anchor man’s final season at the club has been a great success. His calming influence and precise passing will be missed.
Moment of the season: His midfield master class versus Manager United.
One game, one goal DB is now on his way back to the states.
Hasn’t kicked a ball due to an unlucky injury.
The versatile American midfielder has found first team opportunities extremely limited in his time at the club.
Another player whose game time has been cut short by injury.
Suffered a horrific injury at the beginning of the season and only had the chance to play one match.
After a frustrating knee injury, NK made his comeback in the final match of the winter season.
Moving on in the transfer window, Bult has spent the last few months trying in vain to get himself fit to make one last appearance in A Liga.
The Russian winger has added goals to his game and he always brings something different to the table.
Moment of the season: His Russian rocket in the 8-0 win over Athletico.
Another incredibly productive campaign for Fahy the Irish winger seems to get better with age.
Moment of the season: His cool and uncomplicated finish versus Manager United.
An absolute revelation despite his subdued performances in recent weeks, Szil displayed all his attributes in the win over Szigeti. Started the season spectacularly and on form is some player.
Moment of the season: His breathtaking debut goal versus Caley when he left the defence for dead and fired home.
Another player who has had little game time JB will hope to force himself into the first team in the spring.
Moment of the season: His delicious reverse slide rule pass that released Neil in on goal versus Athletico.
Still Celtic’s most naturally talented player Evans has set the standard for performance at the club. With five goals to his name in only seven games and just as many assists El Machino will surely be in the running once again for the clubs player of the year and goal of the season.
Moment of the season: His outrageous flying volley that burst the Vezer net.
Returned for his second spell at the club but due to other commitments he has only made 2 appearances so far this campaign.
Dang Viet Tuan
Man on fire has tied countless defenders in knots this season and his special brand of skill and goal scoring has dug Celtic out of many holes.
Moment of the season: His outstanding display versus Athletico that earned him the nick name Man on fire.
Barrlo or the reanimanator is the clubs top scorer this season and his presence was sorely missed in the defeat against the Vikings.
Moment of the season: His smash and grab effort versus Dinamo was reminiscent of Alan Shearer in his hey day.
Last season Panov got 6 goals for the entire campaign, this time around he already has four. Finishing was always the weakest part of Vlado’s game and it was always felt by this reporter once this improved then there would be little that could be done to stop the Bulgarian. That has proved to be the case so far.
Moment of the season: His second goal versus Vikings, what else could it be? For anyone else a shot from forty five yards would be considered a little ambitious, however in Vlad’s case it is all in a days work.
Only made two starts this season but the little speedster is still a crucial part of the squad.
The Dangerous Dane has spent most of the season on the left hand side of midfield and he looks as comfortable there as he does up front.
Moment of the season: His Beckhamesque cross that led to Vlads goal versus Dinamo.
Abdullah Saleh Alghanmi
After a goal scoring start to his Celtic career, Abdull’s season was cut short by injury.
The German made a remarkable debut on Sunday in the cup and he is already looking the part.