Yesterday The Independent published a truly remarkable piece on Brendan Rodgers, as he prepared for his first trip back to Anfield as a manager since he was fired from the job there.
The article does not hold back.
It reveals Rodgers to be a blow-hard, a flatterer, a deceiver, a man who cannot be trusted and who will not hesitate to throw his bosses under the bus.
Towards the end of the piece, it says that Rodgers was telling people he was eyeing up his next club from almost the moment he was appointed at Celtic. I find it easy to believe in the context of what we now know of him.
The way he behaved in his final season at the club was deplorable; this is no longer news.
What surprised me were the echoes from his time at Anfield.
Rodgers has always been a problem for his bosses. The article makes it clear that he has consistently done his own thing and even undermined them.
When Liverpool tried to sign Daniel Sturridge the first time, the deal was done until Rodgers over-ruled it. He then sold Andy Carroll, against the board’s explicit wishes as they wanted a replacement in before they agreed to let him go.
Then when his own signing targets didn’t materialise he blamed the board for the Carroll sale.
The American directors were stunned … and accused Rodgers of “chucking them under the bus.” It wasn’t the only time he pulled that stroke.
The article opens with Rodgers giving a press briefing in the closing weeks of what was to prove his last full season at the club, where he extolled his own virtues as a manager and talked about how “sleepless nights” had produced a solution to bad form … but none of it was true.
The players he credited with having drafted into the team had been forced on him by the directors who had signed them. The tactical changes, he had copied from Basel who’d beaten them in the Champions League. And his “return to form” didn’t last the week.
Days later Manchester United rolled into down and beat them 2-1, a score that in no way reflected their dominance over Rodgers team.
He finished that season losing five of the last nine games … closing it out with a 6-1 beating at the hands of Stoke. The writing was on the wall.
But it had been on the wall for a while.
Fenway Sports Group, who own Liverpool, grew less impressed with him as time went on.
They found him boastful, all too ready to sacrifice their good name if it kept his own shining and bright, and believed some of his motivation techniques to be bizarre – such as the time he drew a crude drawing of a man wearing a crown to convince Balotelli that “we are all kings” and that a king must command his own destiny.
And he moaned, constantly, about the transfer strategy … even when it was, in large part, of his own design and instigation. An Anfield source is quoted in the piece summing up his ever changing attitude and tendency to complain. “Pay too much for a target and he complains we used too much of the budget on a player he didn’t think was worth it. Pay too little and lose the deal, and he complains that we aren’t big enough to compete.”
I can’t be alone in finding that maddeningly familiar.
I’m sure there are those on the Celtic board who would have found it haunting in the way it summed up his last year at the club.
The article doesn’t say Rodgers is a bad manager; you won’t find one that says that or even hints that he might be.
But the writer doesn’t think Rodgers is as good a manager as he reckons he is, and paints a picture of a man who nobody should trust.
It drops a big hint about his being interested in the Spurs job, although they still have a manager.
So did Leicester when opened talks there though.
We know how little store he places in loyalty.
These small matters have never particularly bothered him. He’s above them. In his little world there’s no-one better or smarter … the Anfield board disagreed. The Leicester board are probably quite happy … for the moment. We’ll see how long it lasts.
The CelticBlog is your site, and it thrives with your support. Please share our articles on social media, and subscribe to receive updates whenever we post a new piece. Remember, we have a Facebook page for all the articles and a Facebook Group for discussions about the pieces and other issues, and you can follow us on Twitter and on Celtic News Now.