As Ange edges ever nearer to a season covered in glory, the debate over whether he should be named as manager of the year grows. To most of us, there is absolutely zero debate at all of course. To most of us, Ange is a stonewall certainty.
Or he would be if this was not a nasty, spiteful little country filled with people who first don’t wish us well anyway and secondly do not like to admit when they have made raging clowns of themselves with brash early season predictions about our boss’s demise.
Celtic fans have seen it all before. We recognise the signs. When Brendan became the first manager to win a back-to-back treble we were told that this was no big deal, that it was a small matter in the grand scheme of things, that this historical accomplishment was only what had been expected of him. Such garbage, of course. Such nonsense.
Back then, the media rushed to give accolades to those managers who had done it “without major resources.” The two candidates who took the gongs were Steve Clarke and, even more surprisingly, Jack Ross at St Mirren, who had won them promotion.
You could have taken these people more seriously except that they couldn’t wait to give the award to Gerrard last season, in spite of a genuinely staggering achievement from one of those feted under-resourced bosses, Callum Davidson, who scooped both of the domestic cups … something no manager outside of Glasgow has done since Alex Ferguson.
Yes, Alex Ferguson. That was the level of achievement here.
Now, as Ange masterminds the greatest single-season club rebuild in the history of the Scottish game, goes on a momentous unbeaten run and amasses for Celtic the best passing stats in the whole of Europe, the talk in some quarters of the press is not about his coronation but on who they can agree to put up to stop him walking away with it.
Two candidates have emerged as favourites. There is a third being talked about and even a fourth whose name is still being whispered. That name, of course, is Van Bronckhorst and it’s being whispered by a handful of hacks who think he could still win a treble, including the Europa League. Most of them don’t believe in that fairytale though.
Others are talking seriously about Dundee Utd’s boss, Tam Courts, a slightly more palatable choice – but still ridiculous in light of what Ange has done – than the other two options. There are hacks who are actually talking about giving the award to bigots.
It will be bad enough if our collective hackery decide that the “achievements” of Malky Mackay deserve that accolade, and a lot of them are talking about it. It will be worse, by far, if they hand it to Dick Campbell, he of the anti-Japanese slur from earlier in the season and a history of singing sectarian songs. And many of them are dying to.
What a weird game we have here, one where the media and various pundits have no problem branding the whole Czech nation as racists but are oddly reluctant to come right out and say what we know to be true about some inside our own game, and which condemns bigotry when it’s the province of the fans but makes pitiful excuses for it when it comes out of the mouths of their own mates. It is hard to take them seriously.
Ange isn’t this for piddling like prizes like the Scottish hacks manager of the year award, but he is entitled to be a little bit pissed off if he wins this title and doesn’t get it, because by the hacks own appalling logic he won’t be eligible for it next year even if he adds another treble because “he only did what was expected of him.”