by John S - BBC Sport 26 November 2007
The suits at the English Football Association have been rightly impugned for their pitiful leadership as regards the appointment of Steve McClaren, but credit where credit is due - they appear to have steered well clear of the proposed Celtic Cup.
Which begs the question: what does that say of the leadership capabilities of Howard Wells, chief executive of the Irish Football Association, FAI chief executive John Delaney, Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith and Football Association of Wales general secretary David Collins.
These four wise men have put their heads together and mystifyingly “agreed in principle”, according to the FAI website, to give the green light to a revised version of an anachronistic tournament that was quietly put out of its misery in 1984.
Even Scotland coach Alex McLeish has expressed reservations about the tournament.
McLeish said: “I’m not 100% in favour of it but I can see the positives. I’d love to play England but perhaps they feel they have bigger fish to fry.”
The positives McLeish mentions we can safely assume are making a bob or two.
But the commercial men of the four associations involved will have to mount the mother of all advertising pitches to sex up an event for fans and television companies alike which, at first glance, has all the the allure of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
We are constantly told that there is too much football on television, that players are asked to play too much football, that tired bodies make them more susceptible to injuries and that they are never given enough time to rest.
So what remedy to cure some of these ills do Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland come up with?
A proposal that will see players involved in three more games every two years in a tournament that has absolutely no relevance unless you are the most blinkered of football anoraks.
Is playing the Celtic Cup really going to improve the quality of the international prospects of these four teams? Make them more competitive on the world stage? Help their qualification campaigns for the next World Cup and Euro 2012? More skilful?
Only last week Wales manager John Toshack was talking about the British game’s insularity.
“People abroad, I can assure you, do not have a high opinion of our game,” said Toshack. "They have of our Premier League because it is full of foreign players.
“We play too much 4-4-2 in straight lines and think that’s it, the way to play,” said the 58-year-old Welshman.
"Where are the managers who go abroad from the English game? Clubs in Europe don’t rate them and don’t go for them.
“We are not rated on the continent. Managers are not, coaches are not, players are not.”
Instead of playing these games why don’t these international players meet up and dedicate this time to a Coerver or a Futebol de Salo skills course to refine their technique?
How stupid of me - such a proposal is not a money-spinner.
Hold on a minute though, mabye I’m being too harsh about the “Celtic Cup”.
Perhaps it does have one aspect to recommend to it.
Given Ryan Giggs’ record for turning up for Wales’ friendly matches it will be interesting to see how many of Manchester United’s “Celtic” players will be able to join up with their respective nations when the tournament kicks off in 2009.