Brendan Rodgers. Miracle worker.
Brendan Rodgers. Manager of the year.
Brendan Rodgers. Unbeaten conqueror.
Call him one of these things. Call him all of them. They are all true. They are all valid. He has done an incredible job, and although it’s not quite finished yet there are no doubts. There are no questions. It will succeed. He will succeed. And then what?
Next season, that’s what.
No club has ever gone two unbeaten league seasons in a row. It’s just not done. Anywhere. Brendan Rodgers will not be the first. It’s a cliff-face too great to scale. At some point, this team will lose games. When it happens I expect to feel hurt, as if a favourite friend had forgot a birthday or something. I expect I will want answers as to how it happened.
I imagine I’ll blame the board.
I am sniggering as I write this, because I know all this sounds crazy but I know I’ll do it anyway.
I usually find a way to blame the board whenever something at Celtic goes wrong.
The board is a Thing, personified in Peter Lawwell who I’ve had a long-time issue with which persists even today, even when I freely admit that this season he’s played as big a blinder as Brendan has. I don’t want to continue with this grievance; it seems petty now, with so many good things going on, but there’s a part of me that’s loathe to drop it now, when I’ve invested all this time in it.
Am I being serious?
Yes, and no.
This is tongue in cheek, to an extent. My issues over Peter Lawwell come down to something that happened ten years ago now. The last 12 months have answered a lot of questions, and buried a lot of doubts. All we ever asked for was that the club demonstrate vision, a plan for going forward. That plan is now visible to us, as it must have been visible to the board all this time. We just didn’t see the wheels turning.
So yeah, I believe these guys know what the Hell they are doing and that the next twelve months will show us more of their intent, and the club will take further giant strides. I do think we’ll lose domestic games but not a lot of them, not when it counts. If everything goes as planned I won’t blame the board for them.
These things happen from time to time.
But in terms of European football, we are entitled to expect the club to make progress.
The only way we can do that is if we spend money.
Which does bring me to the serious part; I think we would, all of us, have issues if the board didn’t give Brendan the kind of cash that would, at the very least, maximise our chances of reaching the Groups.
Brendan is the miracle worker. But that should be no excuse for expecting him to perform miracles. If the board thinks our impending clean sweep means that the manager doesn’t need a sizeable kitty, they are dead wrong. To think the fans would be happy – that Brendan himself would accept it – would be a grievous mistake.
I have to think it was part of the contract negotiations. That he knows what he needs and has been promised it. So I am encouraged by that, and believe we’re going to have a right good summer. But it rather begs the question; what will the size of the kitty be?
I figure around £10 – £12 million. Net spend.
It’s not a huge sum of money. But then it doesn’t have to be. We’re not talking about a Sevco style wholescale rebuilding job here. We’re talking three or four players at most. We can offset some of it with the sale of fringe players, like Bitton. I think we might see one first team footballer go; I expect it to be Erik Sviatchenko. I am guessing here, but I think there’s probably something in the stories which popped up during the last window about his having itchy feet.
Brendan has talked about wanting another centre-back. My guess is this is why. Boyata looks much improved. Jozo is our first choice. Ajer will be back. We can deputise Lustig if need be, and one more on top of that would give us the basis of a good defence.
We need at least one midfielder – Brendan wants an attacking player. Which suggests a winger more than a guy who plays centrally. Obviously the hoped for signing would be Patrick Roberts; that would be costly, but worth the money. He’s looked at young John McGinn. I think that’s a goer, which helps Brown out in the midfield holding role.
He’s also talked about a striker.
Given how good he was at spotting Moussa you have to think he knows the kind of player he wants. Consider too that Leigh Griffiths isn’t anyone’s third choice forward and that Scotty Sinclair can play up front at a push and you have to think that with Dembele already in the team we’re not going to spend £6 million on a Chris Sutton.
This is all speculative, of course, but it seems logical. It makes sense. Brendan wants three or four players who can come in and make a difference. For £12 million net you could have those, if you know where to look, and augment the team.
There’s no doubt that kind of spend would give us an even greater edge in Scotland; it’s likely to be three or four times what Sevco can afford, even with director loans. Quite how they plan to close the gap with that kind of spending differential I do not know.
Qualify for the Groups again, and there’ll be plenty in the piggy bank for January, if need be.
It would be good to get a debate going on this.
What do you all think yourselves?
What kind of “net spend” would move us forward?
What will it take to give us the best chance of reaching the Groups and winning a treble?