Have we seen the last of Glenn Loovens in a Celtic jersey?
Born in Doetinchem, a city of approximately 50,000 people in the east of The Netherlands, in October 1983, Glenn “Glenda” Loovens has proven himself to be a little bit of a footballing enigma. As a youngster, Glenn learned his trade as part of Feyenoord’s famous youth academy, at the same time as the likes of household name, Robin Van Persie.
Although he made his debut for Feyenoord’s senior team as a teenager, he was later loaned out to Dutch sides Excelsior and De Graafschap, before being loaned to Championship side Cardiff City in 2005. He impressed to such a degree during his loan spell in Wales that he was soon snapped up by the club for a fee reported to have been somewhere around the £200-250,000 mark.
In the 2007-2008 season, Glenn was an integral part of the Cardiff City team that reached only the second F.A. Cup Final held at the newly built Wembley Stadium, having played in every tie on the club’s route there. In front of almost 90,000 supporters, Cardiff lost 1-0 to Portsmouth thanks to a goal from Nigerian, Nwankwo Kanu. Joe Ledley also featured in the starting line up that day alongside Loovens, as they faced a side which featured the likes of David James, Glen Johnson, Sol Campbell, Lassanna Diarra and Niko Kranjcar, as well as the previously mentioned Kanu. However, this would not be the last time the Dutchman would feature in a cup final.
In the summer of 2008, Glenn was the subject of immense speculation linking him with a move away from Cardiff, to Glasgow, as both Celtic and Rangers battled for the defender’s signature. Walter Smith publicly declared his interest and, after the Ibrox club had a bid rejected by the Bluebirds, Glenn Loovens signed for Celtic on a four year contract for a fee of approximately £2,100,000.
He made his debut for the Hoops only months later, as Celtic defeated Falkirk 3-0 at Celtic Park in August 2008. During his first season in Glasgow, Glenn struggled to cement any sort of regular place in the starting eleven, as Gary Caldwell and Stephen McManus were most people’s first choice central defensive pairing. In time though, he would get his chance.
In March 2009, Glenn once again stepped out onto the field for a domestic cup final. Celtic had not beaten Rangers in a cup final in about twenty years, but the 15th of March 2009 was to be their day. The match itself ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, but two extra time goals from Darren O’Dea and Aiden McGeady meant the Scottish League Cup would be returning to Celtic Park with the team. By all accounts, Glenn had one of the best appearances of his career that day, something which many people forget, as they remember only the goals from the two Irish internationalists.
In light of performances like this one, Loovens soon became a regular starter for Celtic under new boss Tony Mowbray, as he looked to cement his place in the side for years to come. He was rewarded with one of only two full international caps at this point in time, as Holland defeated Japan 3-1 in a friendly. Sadly though, after some less than fantastic performances and the occasional notable mistake, Glenn appeared to lose confidence and faded out of the side in 2010.
Recently though, as the Dutchman began to reappear in the Celtic side under Neil Lennon, Glenn has looked more like his old self, delivering solid, if not particularly flashy, performances in the Hoops’ defensive line. Now, as his contract runs out at the end of the season, it looks like we may have seen the last of Glenn Loovens as a Celtic player. Having suffered an hamstring injury in the warm up at Tannadice yesterday, he looks unlikely to feature in the last game of the season on Sunday against Hearts.
He may yet be rewarded for his efforts with a new contract, but it appears rather unlikely. In all, he has featured seventy three times for Celtic over his four year stint, scoring eight goals in the process. Some will perhaps remember him as a fairly reliable centre half, while others may remember him in a less flattering light as a result of the occasional mistake. In truth, he has indeed been a bit of an enigma. His talent, in my mind at least, is undoubtedly there. However, he has rarely been able to produce it as consistently as I’m sure he would have liked.
If we have indeed seen the last of Glenn Loovens as a Celtic player, we must all thank him wholeheartedly for the effort he has given to the club over his time here, and we do, of course, wish him all the best for the future. “Glenda” will certainly not be a name forgotten by the Celtic support any time soon.