Desmond Kane

An open response to Legia Warsaw’s poison pen letter to Celtic

Desmond Kane

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To: Dariusz Mioduski (Legia Warsaw chairman)

Dear Dariusz,

Since we are suddenly in the business of discussing honesty, ethics and how people should carry themselves, you might want to give this a quick glance in addressing your open letter to Celtic of Sunday, 11 August.

There is a way to handle adversity in life while maintaining your dignity, but unfortunately you decided to opt against fraternising with such decorum by berating the wrong people after you were demoted from the Champions League to the Europa League.

Nobody is disputing the fact that you were far superior to Celtic over the two legs of your recent joust in the penultimate round of the Champions League qualifiers. A 6-1 winning margin over the two legs probably flattered Celtic, but there was a way to react to the misfortune that has visited your door.

In continuing to wail loudly like a child not getting its way in lamenting your club's plight, you have exhausted the vast reserves of goodwill Legia stockpiled in the aftermath of UEFA's harsh, but ultimately fair decision to award the tie to Celtic on away goals due to the second leg being null and void.

This is all only an "injustice", as you call it, in your own mind.

In sending what amounts to a poison pen letter to Celtic and going public with your grievances, however ill-advised they are, you lost the moral high ground. It could be argued, you have brought the game into disrepute by your actions.

Celtic nor UEFA have anything to do with the decision. If you are frustrated and angry with Celtic, then you can join the club. Celtic have plenty of haters out there. Another one to the list will not make much difference.

Whether or not you can stomach the thought, your elimination from the Champions League is all down to your own self-harming.

Read: Celtic not to blame for Legia Warsaw’s incompetence on and off the pitch

If the administrative side of your club had put the proper procedures in place to ensure an unregistered player could not face Celtic in the Champions League, you would not be lashing out wildly at innocent parties in all this furore.

It stinks of sour grapes, and you have to move on. All this pent up frustration is only going to bring on an ulcer. And we don't want that ahead of your forthcoming Europa League campaign.

Celtic played by the rules, and lost. You did not play by the rules, and won. Whether or not you benefited from a substitute Bartosz Bereszynski being on the park for the final four minutes of the second leg at Murrayfield, is neither here nor there.

He was suspended and ineligible for the tie, and therefore the match was declared null and void because of your own stupidity. By the rules, your 2-0 win turned into a 3-0 win for Celtic, and you were emptied out of the tournament on away goals. Tough luck. Worse things happen at sea, but you have to accept such hard knocks in life for not adhering to the rules.

As I pointed out the other day on these pages, if Ivica Vrdoljak had not missed two penalties in the 4-1 win in the first leg you would have won the tie. So get over it.

Your ongoing vitriolic and unwarranted attack on Celtic is as unhealthy as some of your fans attacking a posse of visitors in Warsaw a few weeks ago. It serves no purpose other than to sully your own standing in the European game by trying to tarnish the name of the former European Cup holders for no apparent reason.

Bringing the names of the former Celtic managers Jock Stein and Willie Maley, and European Cup-winning captain Billy McNeill, into your letter suggests you may be in danger of spontaneous human combustion. It is worth asking whether you have recently visited matron? It wouldn't be the worst idea.

Celtic do not need to meet you, speak to you, skype you, sword fence or have a dance-off with your Legia side.

This tie has already been settled by the rule book, by UEFA's letter of the law. It is the end of the road for Legia in this year's Champions League due to poor work by your club's clerical staff.

The sooner you accept it is over, and move on, the better it will be for your health.

Celtic are in no position to relinquish their Champions League place as a plc. How would they explain such a course of action to their shareholders? Your comment sounds romantic, but what club in the world would give up potentially £20m when they have been told by the governing body that it is legitimately theirs? Think about it, Dariusz.

Celtic would face an enormous backlash from their own followers even if they were in a position to award you the Champions League trophy tomorrow.

All this stuff about ideals is utter tosh. There are only rules and regulations in football. The rest is blurred lines, and all about perception, and opinion.

How would Legia react if they were faced with the same dilemma? Would you want to "settle the matter honourably?" Whatever that is supposed to mean.

Of course not. Like fielding an ineligible substitute, what you are asking just doesn't make sense.

If your staff had spent as much time checking the eligibility of players for matches as they do at writing elongated, ill-advised letters, they would still be in the Champions League.

This did not need to turn into an international incident. You referred to Celtic as friends in your open letter, but what sort of friend tries a form of emotional blackmail on another friend? The Glasgow side can't give up what they don't have.

In continuing to be a bad sport over your own errors, you are detracting from your side's terrific win over Celtic that unfortunately was illegal due to the rules. The team's performance should give you heart moving forward if not your performance.

Good luck in the Europa League. And keep taking the tablets.

Yours in sport,

Desmond Kane
Eurosport

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