Keith Jackson hasn’t appeared on this blog for a while, but what a way to come roaring back to it, an article of such idiocy and bias and twisting of facts that you would swear you were reading a Boris Johnson piece in The Telegraph. It was a shocker, or it would have been coming from anybody else.
With this guy let’s just call it “business as usual.”
The article is, of course, on Brendan Rodgers and the current situation at Celtic Park, one that I am told went some way towards being resolved before the team headed off yesterday. Other talks will follow, but more important than them will be the response of the board and how they meet the needs of the manager in the next two and a bit weeks.
They have to get it right, that’s the bottom line.
Jackson writes with all the pig ignorance of somebody who has no idea what he’s talking about but pushes on relentlessly anyway. The article is full of contradictions. It reeks of all the biases you would expect from one of King’s former glove puppets.
That he stepped outside that circle to offer faint criticism of the South African tax crook is the only good thing one can say about his journalistic endeavours, but of late he has at least stuck to badly written tosh. Today he’s right back to his usual form and that’s not a compliment.
Headlined, “Timing of Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic fallout is poor but will be justified if he gets his way” the piece is every bit as bad as you might expect.
Let’s do it section by section, so you can get the proper flavour of what he’s shovelling.
“They should teach it on the very first day of managers school. Don’t go looking for a crisis. Invariably one of them will find you in the end. Which is what makes this simmering and unseemly spat between Brendan Rodgers and Celtic all the more inconceivable as well as utterly intriguing.”
Even if I have serious issues with the grammatical structure – which I believe they should teach on the first day of journalism school – I can’t argue with the content, not of this particularly paragraph anyway.
The next paragraphs could not be grimmer if Jackson, in his glee, added, “The end of the world is upon you. Bring out your dead.”
“When the curtain came down on last season this was a football club which was celebrating back-to-back Trebles, singing about 10 in a row while rolling around on a thick carpet of Champions League cash. Now, in the space of a few short weeks, an increasingly agitated Rodgers sounds as if he is threatening to do a runner out the back door, players are withdrawing labour and agents are chaining themselves to the gates of Lennoxtown to get their clients out.”
First up, we are still singing about ten in a row and still have last season’s Champions League money tucked up neatly in the bank account, which means that we are more than able to survive even if we’re knocked out of the competition this week.
But that’s small beer next to what comes after it, of course, and that’s about as ridiculous as it comes.
Let’s start with this; Rodgers only sounds like he’s “threatening to do a runner” if you twist some of his words, which Jackson and his paper have already done, and ignore others – those where he explicitly says he’s going to do no such thing – entirely.
The “players withdrawing labour” is one player, but Jackson would happily turn that into the meltdown of the whole squad.
And that story is only to be believed if you accept the word of his lunatic agent who I wrote about yesterday.
And yes, I use the word “agent” and not “agents”, an agent with one client on our books, not “clients.”
This is what’s known in the profession as Just Making Up Crap.
“Celtic have got themselves into an unfathomable state and most baffling of all, for no apparent reason. This is a crisis they have brought crashing down upon themselves.”
We’ve got ourselves into “an unfathomable state” have we? A “crisis” no less?
Says the writer who never uses those words about the colossal shambles’ which frequently unfold at Ibrox; everything from shirt sale fiascoes to managerial merry-go-rounds. How can we be expected to take this guy seriously when he’s so nakedly biased?
“It’s easily resolvable too. There’s more than a fortnight left before the transfer market shuts which gives chief executive Peter Lawwell all the time he needs to pull a couple of appropriately priced rabbits out of the hat. A nine or 10 million pound capture or two will make John McGinn feel like yesterday’s man quickly enough.”
Oh my good God. Did he actually write that? Did an editor actually publish it? There is not one person in Scotland, nee the world, who believes Celtic should, would, or could go out and sign “a nine or ten million pound” player or two. That is sheer nonsense. Brendan Rodgers has asked for no such thing and no sane board of a Scottish club would sanction it. Easily resolvable, says this halfwit. Yes, as long as George Soros is bankrolling it.
“If Rodgers gets what he’s looking for then perhaps the end will have justified the means. He’s certainly not the first manager to make demands of his employers but the spectacular manner in which this has blown up feels a bit unnecessary as well as poorly timed.”
No real argument, except that Brendan will be more realistic in his needs that the previous, lunatic, paragraph.
“The question is, what is motivating the Northern Irishman to toss his toys from the pram in such a public show of dissatisfaction?”
Is this the part where Jackson pretends to know the mind of Brendan Rodgers?
You’d think after posing such a question he would have an answer, right?
But of course, all we read is even more speculation.
“Rodgers insists it’s all in the interest of bettering Celtic which is all well and good but if we take him at his word then it also suggests his relationship with the board was already a lot worse than anyone – including those sitting around the table – had previously realised.”
Eah? What? Where the Hell does that come from?
If you can work out what Jackson means there then please, answers on a postcard.
“So bad it left him with no option but to go rogue and press the big red button as a last resort. If that is indeed the case it’s an incredible state of affairs given the magnificent work Rodgers has carried out in the club’s name over these past two years. So incredible it’s hard to believe.”
A bit like Jackson holding a job at a national newspaper.
Incredible. Hard to believe.
“Rodgers talks about an obligation to service the wishes and demands of the club’s supporters while slipping in, now and then, that he is a supporter himself. All very noble but it’s also pretty calculated.”
Calculated? Lawwell has been known to say much the same thing.
I believe both of them. This is about competing visions, and perhaps egos, but both have the same over-arching goal.
“If there was to be a popularity contest at Parkhead between the manager and his CEO, Rodgers would win it on a landslide.”
Of course he would. But that’s not what Brendan was shooting for.
“Effectively, he’s painted a target on the back of Lawwell’s blazer knowing full well, if he was to walk away from the job now, the mob would soon gather at the bottom of the stairs with pitchforks and torches. This seems an odd way of going about serving Celtic’s best interests especially when timed to coincide with two legs against AEK Athens which could set the mood music for the club’s entire season.”
Yes the timing was bad. He may have been trying to push the board in a direction of his own choosing, but painting a target on someone’s back? Hyperbolic guff. And he repeats, again, the suggestion that Rodgers is set to quit, denied by the man himself.
“Purely on this basis, Rodgers undermines his own argument. By choosing to make an issue of this when he did, he was acting in a manner that seems contrary to Celtic’s best interests. It could even be argued that, should Celtic fail to dig themselves out of a hole in Athens, Rodgers has bomb-proofed himself ahead of the accompanying blast. That he has already absolved himself of blame by dropping it all on Lawwell’s doorstep.”
Some of the blame does lie on Lawwell’s doorstep; Brendan Rodgers did not need to put it there.
It is there. It belongs there.
Rodgers was certainly not “bomb-proofing” himself against failure; fans can look at our transfer business and know it’s not been right and that he hasn’t been properly supported.
Whatever this was, it wasn’t that.
“Not that Lawwell is faultless in all of this. Far from it. No matter how awkward Rod Petrie might be to deal with, had Lawwell been prepared to meet his cash demands for McGinn this entire situation might have been avoided.”
Absolute nonsense of the purest kind. The one area where I will give Lawwell and the board 100% backing here is in that they did not give Rod Petrie £4 million, a ludicrous sum of money for a Hibs midfielder in the last year of his contract.
“In turn, had McGinn been in Celtic’s midfield on Saturday, rather than Eboue Kouassi, Celtic might have got out of Tynecastle without suffering their earliest league defeat in 12 years.”
Speculative garbage, I’ve read it 100 times already since Saturday and it is completely immaterial to where we find ourselves. All the “coulda-woulda-shoulda” in the world does not alter the situation and so I see no need to indulge in it.
“Why did Rodgers take such a gamble by changing half of his outfield players for one of the most notoriously treacherous fixtures on the top flight calendar? It could be Rodgers was prioritising European progression by allowing some legs to rest in the knowledge any damage done or points dropped could be made up somewhere down the line.”
When it’s so obvious that Jackson can answer his own question it makes you wonder why he ever bothered to ask it in the first place, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what the manager was doing, as anyone and everyone knows full well. And we almost got a result regardless.
“Or it could be that he was also attempting to send out a message his squad is neither deep enough nor robust enough on its fringes. Given he signed Kouassi and Jonny Hayes in the first place, this argument would seem a little flawed.”
Yeah well since that’s not the argument he was making there’s no flaw to speak of, is there? And the constant attacks on Kouassi … tiresome nonsense already. We don’t know what we have there yet and neither does this lazy media so lacking in any knowledge of the game beyond these shores that they constantly embarrass themselves slobbering over Sevco signings of unproven quality whilst writing stupid stuff like this.
“Rodgers points out his squad is weaker than it was 12 months ago as Patrick Roberts and Stuart Armstrong have moved on. Lewis Morgan, Scott Allan, Marvin Compper, Ryan Christie and Daniel Arzani have been added but none of them even made the bench at the weekend never mind Celtic’s shadow starting 11.”
Where even to start?
Let’s try this; Morgan is a good player, but along with Compper is injured. Allan is on his way out the door. Christie might yet have something and Arzani hasn’t signed yet. So out of five players he mentions there only two could have been selected for the team or for the bench.
His point is utterly ridiculous as a consequence.
“Jack Hendry and Scott Bain were also recruited in a January shopping spree at the end of which Rodgers declared himself satisfied with Celtic’s business. Again, this mood swing seems hard to comprehend – especially as Celtic knocked back £9m for Dedryck Boyata on the manager’s say-so only a week ago.”
January was eight months ago. Rodgers “mood swing” is about not having gotten the players he wants in this particular window.
This particular window.
This. Particular. Window.
January has damn all to do with this, but whilst we’re on the subject, Commper and Morgan were January signings as well, albeit one of them went back on loan to his club.
“Boyata is now in such a huff he refused to board Celtic’s plane to Greece yesterday. As a result of it all, Rodgers finds himself at the eye of a perfect storm in Athens. An away win tomorrow would help keep the next crisis at bay.”
Boyata might or might not be “in a huff” but his agent certainly is. What else do we know for a fact? Oh yes, he’s also injured. So what, exactly, would have been the point on putting him on a plane to Athens, except as in-flight entertainment?
And “the next crisis”?
Has Jackson gotten into fortune telling as an adjunct – or perhaps an alternative – to his so-called journalism?
This is where I would normally advise “don’t give up the day job …”
Except, in this case, yes, please do give it up.
What a putrid, clownish article that is.