Just a note for those arriving late: we’re talking about Glasgow Celtic, not the Boston Celtics. Ljungberg signed for Celtic last week and looks set to make his Celtic debut in the Scottish Cup against Berwick this Sunday. It all seems like ancient history now, but this is news for Sounders’ fans because, as I noted here, Ljungberg was traded to the Chicago Fire for a couple of seat cushions and a blow-up mattress, and also something to do with future draft picks. The Seattle Times Sounders blog just about explains it here.
The end result: Ljungberg’s failure to re-sign with (and instead resign from) Chicago means we get their second round pick in the MLS Superdraft (27th overall), rather than their first round pick. Seattle now has the following picks in the first two rounds: 11th, 21st, 27th, and 29th. See my MLS Nuts and Bolts post for more information on the Superdraft, which is scheduled for next Thursday in Baltimore.
The Guardian reported last week that Ljungberg had this to say about Seattle:
When I went to Seattle, it was quite a quiet town and we made it the biggest soccer following in America. We didn’t have the paparazzi, though, and I needed that at the time. I realise it is massive here in Glasgow and I missed that passion.
Seattle is a quiet town? How would Ljungberg know he lived in a mansion in Kirkland. But he’s obviously right about the soccer following part. And the passion in Glasgow. Celtic had the 9th highest average league game attendance in Europe in 2008/09, 57,000 versus 36,000 here in Seattle. The other half of the old firm, Rangers, came in 15th with an average attendance of about 50,000. That’s a lot of attendance for a city of 580,000 or so, suggesting that on average almost 20 percent of the city of Glasgow is at the game when both teams are playing at home.
The Guardian also reports that Celtic’s manager, Neil Lennon, had this to say about Ljungberg:
It’s a huge signing for us and we are very, very pleased. It’s not just the name we are signing, it’s the quality, charisma and experience he can bring to the team as well.
In other words, the same things Ljungberg brought to the Sounders’ first season in the MLS. It will be interesting to see if he lasts more than a season or so at Celtic.