“I would have moved heaven and earth to keep him.
“I would rather have quit and got out of the game altogether than sold a player of his brilliance.”
The quotes belong to the late, great, Bill Shankly. They date back to the summer of 1977, and to more tranquil times.
Star Wars opened in cinemas, Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President of the United States and Elvis left the building, dying of a heart attack aged, just 42.
Shankly’s words were a reaction to Celtic’s sale of Kenny Dalglish to Liverpool for a British record transfer fee of £440,000.
Given his close relationship with Hoops boss, Jock Stein, it was a blunt assessment of a transfer that had been a couple of years in the making.
Remarkably, by the end of the striker’s first season at Anfield, it appeared Shankly – no stranger to hyperbole – had not gone far enough.
Dalglish had played 62 times and scored 31 goals for the Reds, including the winner in the European Cup Final against FC Bruges at Wembley.
While he was doing that, his old club back home were in free-fall.
They finished fifth in the league behind Treble-winners Rangers, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Hibs.
They exited the European Cup in the second round to Austrian champions, Wacker Innsbruck, and fell at the second hurdle in the Scottish Cup against Kilmarnock.
Danny McGrain, their other outstanding talent of the time, was injured, but there was no doubting the impact of losing their skipper and attacking talisman.
A few decades on, predictions about the potential impact of the transfer of Odsonne Edouard don’t come with understatement.
Chris Sutton, a former Hoops favourite turned pundit, has suggested fans would “burn the stadium down” if the French striker is sold ahead of the window’s close in October.
That’s how important, he argued, is the opportunity to win 10-in-a-row.
Like Stein before him with Shankly, Celtic manager Neil Lennon must have cursed under his breath at the public utterings of his former team-mate.
At this time, above all, the Hoops boss could do without the amplification.
The world will not end if Edouard is sold. Celtic Park will not be burned to the ground, and Lennon is philosophical.
“Whether it’s Edouard or any other player, in previous years we sold guys like Moussa Dembele and Kieran Tierney, so it’s not something we won’t be prepared for,” he said.
“It’s not something that we want, but there may be intense speculation surrounding a number of our players, so we have to plan ahead.”
Lennon’s argument makes sense.
The financial gulf between Scotland’s top clubs and those down south was underlined again in midweek with the playing of the “£160-million game” – the Championship Play-off Final between Brentford and Fulham.
Midway through the match, the camera zoomed in on the Brentford set-piece coach, which in turn brought the revelation the Bees also have a “sleep coach” on their books!
It is a different story north of the border, especially in a time of Covid-19.
As much as fans would not like it, a bid of £20m-plus from a top club in England, France, Germany, Italy or Spain would be tough for Celtic to turn down – even with 10 on the line.
By contrast, across Glasgow, the lack of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the probable sale of Alfredo Morelos is startling.
Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten have been brought in, and most Rangers fans seem content with that.
With Roofe having impressed with Leeds United, and Itten prolific in the Swiss Super League last season, where he scored 19 goals in 34 games, expectation is high.
Morelos has done well, but for £15-20m, most supporters will be happy enough to see the Colombian go – as long as Steven Gerrard’s squad is not diminished as a result.
There are, of course, differences between the Old Firm’s most-sellable assets.
El Bufalo has had problems with a lack of discipline, and his form dipped badly on return after the January window.
Edouard is two years younger. He has also made a big impact in the derby games.
Years of following the Scottish game suggests to me both will be gone by the window’s close, likewise that the Frenchman should find a more high-profile home.
Leicester City, under the charge of Brendan Rodgers, would look an obvious fit.
As for the question of what would happen to the Premiership in their absence, the answer is probably best summed up, not by another Shankly line, but one from Fergus McCann, the man whose financial savvy saved Celtic from bankruptcy in the 1990s.
“The dog barks but the caravan moves on.”
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