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Ange Postecoglou Is Celtic’s Great Unfiying Force. We Are Lucky To Have Him.

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Regular readers and I often disagree on certain issues. I know that a lot of you hate it when I write about politics; I make no apology for it though. Disagreements and debates are healthy. In the end we are all united by our love for this club, above all else.

Celtic is a Family, and there are disagreements within every family. As long as they don’t become divisions they are to be welcomed and even encouraged. I know that argument and debate are how I clarify, for myself, the things that I believe in.

There are some debates which are fearsome to get into. The poppy debate is one of them. Not everyone agrees with me on it.

Yesterday I found myself taking two argumentative positions for the price of one; on one hand, I disagreed with the way the minute’s silence was ignored by a section of our fans. It was egotistical nonsense and utterly disrespectful.

But on the other I also managed to piss off those who observed it by arguing that the poppy doesn’t belong on a football shirt.

There are fans who disagree with the appointment of Higgins and others who don’t care.

There are some who support it because their criteria for anybody working at Celtic is “can this guy do the job?” The board are widely viewed as taking the piss in selecting him, and I am afraid I have to agree that they are either being deliberately provocative or utterly reckless.

I have many disagreements with the club. I have many disagreements with my fellow fans. But as I’ve said already, it all comes down to that simple thing when everything else is said and done; we are here because this club binds us all to this family.

We are here because we all love Celtic.

At a time like this you are grateful that there is at least one cool head in the room, and even more grateful that his is a voice that everyone stops and listens to. The more you see and hear of Ange the more you realise that he is the perfect man for this moment in time, that his is the presence which pulls our club closer together.

I am starting to believe that he is unique amongst our recent managers in the way he handles things.

When Rodgers was put on the spot over something controversial you always got the impression you were dealing with a guy who measured his steps carefully, who was always as worried about his own image as he was that of Celtic.

Lennon would speak recklessly without thought as to who or what was being damaged.

I remember Ronny getting caught out by the media a few times.

Martin O’Neill was polished and highly intelligent; he always knew what the media was up to but was courteous and polite most of the time.

Strachan treated them with undisguised scorn and even contempt, but then he treated us the exact same way, and it always made some folk dislike him a little.

Mowbray became famous for being totally disengaged. He took everything on the chin, including the savaging the media seemed determined to give him from Day One.

This guy has a little bit of all of them in him, but all in moderation.

He is as smart as O’Neill. He is as polished as Rodgers. But he has the quick wit of Strachan and the temper of Lennon, although he can keep his in check. He is a laid back guy, like Mowbray, but push him too hard and he will bite back. He has the decency of Ronny but that steeliness they don’t mess with.

Ange talks straight, and when he talks what comes out of his mouth is nothing but good sense.

When he was asked about the protests yesterday he said nothing with which a single person could disagree, as much as they might have wanted to … but he didn’t ride the middle of the road at all, which is what others in his position would have tried to.

Think of the skill it takes to speak truthfully and from the heart without doing it in such a way as to offend anyone.

Christ, if I had that talent I’d have an easier life.

Ange isn’t trying to be everyone’s pal; he simply has a way of putting things that everyone comes away thinking they heard what they wanted to.

God, that is a neat trick. And yet, he isn’t trying to fool anyone.

The hacks wanted him to condemn. Instead, he reminded them that people have a right to protest.

But when they asked him about the silence he suggested that people register their displeasure with respect, as the club would want them to. He shielded the Green Brigade whilst also chastising them, but there was nothing over the top either in his defence of them nor his criticism of what they did. All he really asked was that fans understand that the one thing he won’t tolerate is something that affects the team and the “sanctity” of the 90 minutes.

Ange has defended the rights of our fans to protest.

He’s defended the rights of the fans to boo.

He has done this without necessarily taking their side.

But there will be people in the boardroom who wish he wouldn’t say these things, and be seen to encourage it.

But Ange remembers what it was like to be a fan. He knows how much individuals in the stands sacrifice to follow their clubs and he has true empathy for us. That is one the rarest things in the game.

Yesterday he said enough to keep the press sweet without giving them a mega-headline.

He said enough to please the fans who thought he had to make his disappointment clear to those who they thought had let down the club.

But he was not gratuitous in making that point and in fact showed a proper level of understanding for their anger.

What class that man has.

What skills he brings to the job aside from those as a tactician and a football strategist.

Think of how he must be in a dressing room, dealing with conflicting egos and all those different personalities.

How has this good man, this genuine man, this warm and decent man brought the team together so swiftly, from those who were here already to those he brought in, without knowing him or each other?

You can see it in days like yesterday.

Ange Postecoglou is Celtic’s unifying force. He is the head of this Family, and though we might bicker and fight and fall out from time to time he is determined to keep us together, because that’s when we’re at our strongest.

Did this board really know what they were getting when they hired this guy?

Surely they realise it now.

We are lucky, damned lucky, to have this man.

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4 comments

  • Roonsa says:

    Don’t ever stop writing about politics mate. We are the good guys. Whilst the history is not blemish free, Celtic fans, by and large, hold traditional Socialist principles and abhor oppression of the many to benefit the few. This is a good thing.

    Social justice is being eroded by ever expanding elite conglomerates with governments either unable or unwilling to stop them.

    The Irish heritage which a large percentage of the Celtic fanbase can lay claim to provides us with a background to informing others about oppression. We can equate the brainwashing / whitewashing / greenwashing which big business orchestrates today to the anti Irish / Catholic / whatever “minority” group propaganda from the UK Govt which took place and they have since tried to eradicate through revisionism.

    Objecting to things that are wrong is part of being a Celtic fan in my opinion. As much as I dislike the Green Brigade, their Palestine protest was absolutely beautiful and showed me what they could achieve if they forgot all about making everything about them.

    The fact we have so many fellow fans who are not from a Catholic or Irish background who “get it” shows, I believe, that we are doing something right.

    If people don’t like reading about politics in relation to Celtic FC, go and read the Celtic View.

  • SSMPM says:

    It seems to me that everything in life nowadays has political connotations so really its impossible to avoid. Your opinion and contributions are as welcome as anyone else’s. We develop as individuals through debate and consideration and I’m proud of our club’s stance on difference and diversity.
    As for Ange he has a way about him no doubt. A way that is reflective and considered, insightful, inclusive and dignified. We are honoured. HH

  • Jorge says:

    I agree that we got very lucky with the appointment of Ange.
    Do we know how good his contract is? I would hope we have secured him on a good long term contract, as we cannot afford for him to do a ‘Rodgers’ (and there are a few openings in the EPL) and set us back just as we are making some genuine progress.

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    Aye definitely James, we are indeed very lucky to have Ange as our leader. Celtic have stumbled upon a man of real worth and someone who puts everything in simple terms; but he is of course speaking with Scottish sports ‘journalists’ who we all know aren’t the brightest.
    So, I suppose you could say he’s helping them too in respect of that simplification.
    Either way Ange doesn’t mince his words and like you say, his replies may not answer the specific question but it he says enough to make them feel as though he has.
    Great work James… 😉
    HH

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