I have to thank E-Tims for their diary this morning; their revelations on what Mark Warburton said to the Graham Speirs podcast, on how he was treated by the press, crystallised something that was on my own mind when I heard Ange slap down the media over the weekend.
Warburton’s comments will not have come as a surprise to most people who heard them, but I think they well worth exploring in detail just the same.
Upon landing in Glasgow for the first time, Warburton said that a journalist told him that in this city there is always a good cop and a bad cop (a crap analogy by the way, typical of a Scottish hack) and that in his case he’d have no trouble with the media because across the city was Ronny Deila.
The inference was that the press had made up their minds about him.
Which, of course, we all know they had, and their narrow view on his has never changed one bit although he won two titles and laid the groundwork for the Quadruple Treble which followed.
“I couldn’t understand it Graham,” Warburton said. “(We’d) beat Kilmarnock 1-0 and it would be ‘Rangers storm on again’ and Celtic might win 2-0 and it goes ‘Host of chances missed by Celtic in embarrassing display.’ Anything was negative.”
And so it is right now, of course, as the media attacks us relentlessly, day after day and Ange is undermined and second guessed at every turn by people whose knowledge of the game could be put on the back of a postage stamp.
The difference is, this time the “bad cop” is not in the least bit interested in playing their role. He isn’t in the least bit interested in “going along to get along”. If he thinks he’s being unfairly attacked, he will come out swinging. The press is like a pack of jackals; they prey on weakness, and that’s something they will never, ever get from this guy.
In some ways too I may be starting to understand the silence from the club.
It’s clearly about maintaining a façade of “business as usual”.
I’ve said that this isn’t a tenable position, to pretend everything is alright and that there’s no mess behind the scenes, but honestly … isn’t it working?
The media doesn’t even ask about the shambles that exists over the head of the manager. The club’s silence gives them nothing to piggy-back on and those hacks who do write about it don’t have the readership to make it more than a flea-bite.
Nobody at Celtic is playing the game the media expects them to.
There is no sign of panic.
There is no sign of self-doubt.
This is why I am delighted that nobody offered the manager support over the last month; that would have been a sign that questions were being asked, and instead all the media got was the magisterial silence which spoke to total conviction.
It’s arrogance, yes, but it’s also a sign that nobody inside the walls is second-guessing the decisions made.
None of it would be worth a damn of course if the man at the helm was the sort to wilt under pressure or under scrutiny, but from the moment he took over Ange has not given any impression of being such a man. Quite the opposite.
The media has already felt the sting of his temper more than once, but there was a beauty, a controlled fury, to his weekend dig at them which had some of them laughing nervously and others shrinking back in their seats.
Like all bullies, these guys are fundamentally gutless; why do you think it’s only now, that they don’t have to face him at press conferences, that some of them – like Jackson – are finally taking shots at Gerrard and his overall record?
Ange has them at sixes and sevens. He was supposed to be an easy mark, a guy from a backwater who they could piss all over from a great height. He won’t allow that. Whatever role these people thought he was going to play in their wee sideshow, they already know that it’s a bust.
Ange Postecoglou will not play the fool for these people, or anyone else.