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I never wanted to leave- Chris Sutton on the Strachan clash that ended his Celtic career

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Chris Sutton has spoken out about the silence that ended his Celtic career.

The striker will forever be associated with Henrik Larsson and Martin O’Neill during a golden era for the club following his £6m transfer from Chelsea.

Sutton was bought with the transfer fee from Mark Viduka with the commitment of the Englishman never in doubt as he threw himself fully into life as a Celtic.

In the summer of 2004 Larsson left for Barcelona, a year later O’Neill stepped down with Sutton inheriting Gordon Strachan as his new boss.

Sutton and Alan Thompson signed contract extensions in April 2004 but pretty quickly it became evident that they weren’t going to be central to Strachan’s plans with just the manner of their departures to be determined.

No-one will forget Strachan’s first match in charge, away to Artmedia Bratislava, least of all Sutton who suffered a broken cheekbone as Celtic lost 5-0. He didn’t know it at the time but it was the beginning of the end of his Celtic career with a move to Birmingham arranged in January 2006.

I never wanted to leave Celtic. Not even when Strachan came in. I was happy carrying on. New ideas, new methods, that’s fine. I didn’t necessarily have an issue with Gordon up until the first day.

I injured my cheek, it was a bad injury. My vision was impaired. We had a disagreement about that. He didn’t really bother his backside with me and didn’t speak to me much. I was angry with him.

I was sitting upstairs one day and he was talking to me, he started to try and joke. I just ignored him and carried on eating my soup. Then we had a conversation in his office. He asked what that was all about and that ignoring him wasn’t on. I told him he ignored me for six weeks. He said he called me. We agreed to disagree because he didn’t call me. We got on and it was fine after that.

Then he pulled me in before Christmas and said he wanted to change the terms of my contract. I said if you want me leave, I’ll leave but if you want me to stay those are the terms. He said I’d been injured a lot. There wasn’t a lot I could do about that. In the end, we fell out. I didn’t want to leave and I felt I was wronged in that instance. I didn’t want to leave Celtic.

Sutton moved from Birmingham to join up with Martin O’Neill at Aston Villa but after nine appearances he was forced to retire at the age of 33 through an eye injury.

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2 comments

  • Joe says:

    As much as I love big Sutty, this is garbage and I don’t buy a word of it!
    His attitude was a disgrace under Strachan. He was like a spoiled child, going in a huff if he was substituted oron the bench to start.
    Three of my favourite Celts, Sutton, Petrov and Hartson all thought they were bigger than the club, and proceeded to demonstrate it until they all moved on.
    Let’s face it, no-one was ever less welcome as a choice of manager, (until the idiot we have in place today), than Gordon Strachan. But he shut the mouths of his critics by recovering from a poor start to win three league titles in a row and leave a legacy few managers could.

  • Ange Baby says:

    Pretty much summed up WGS poor man-management style.

    Won 3 in a row but should have been 4 but for his personal dislike of McGeady clouding his judgment as he left him out of a vital game at Ibrox which we lost.

    Couldnt cope with the Seville big personalities, Agathe, Thompson, Sutton, Hartson, Big Bobo, Petrov all left in less than harmonious circumstances.

    2 of the most embarrassing defeats in our history to Artmedia Bratislava & Clyde happened during his tenure-not saying his time was a disaster but lets not forget the failures.

    I never took to his smart-arse demeanour which may well have suited a smaller club looking to gain publicity but was unsuitable for a Celtic manager.

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