Another weekend, and we got another ridiculous story about the manager being linked with a club south of the border. This one might have been the stupidest of the lot of them, because nothing about it stood up to even the least examination and yet still it ran through sites and forums and across social media like a new strain of some awful disease.
No sooner than Wolves dispatched their manager but there it was; Ange was “being discussed” inside Molineux.
This was the story by people who could not possibly have known it if he was.
If their directors had made him target number one, and literally stuck his picture up on the wall, and had decided to move heaven and earth to get him there is literally no way any of the people in our media who were writing that would have been privy to that information; still the stories were out there, and still those stories spread.
Even those writing them tipped their hats at the ridiculousness of it all by pointing out that Wolves have a thing about Portugal and Portuguese bosses.
Recognising that Ange is Greek and spent much of his time in Australia, they acknowledged that he was an unlikely fit. So they pushed a story that they knew full well had more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
But of course, that story got picked up and ran everywhere even by people who should have known better than to give it the slightest credence. That’s part of the problem though; this might be throwing darts at a board, but in spite of the big guy himself professing himself happy to be here there is a grim expectation that he will depart.
I have news for people; he will depart. Just as Henrik Larsson was once going to depart, and Scott Brown was going to be too old to continue playing football. Ange is not here forever, and whichever way he leaves this club there will be sadness and disappointment … but Celtic will go on, as it did when every other individual connected to it moved on.
Because we all know that, because we recognise it as a reality and as a fact, some people jump at the sound of every door banging. Every time a club in England fires its boss there will be murmurs of disquiet, and the media will capitalise on it by making mischief. That is what they excel at and for a lot of our fans they have an anxiety-ridden willing audience.
If you believe, as I do, that Rodgers was going to leave Celtic the first time a major club in England fluttered its eyebrows at him, then perhaps you also understand that it was Leicester he went to instead of waiting for something better because he saw the situation at Parkhead as untenable, as his relationships with key people had essentially collapsed.
Other than the breakdown of those relationships, I do not believe he would have left us for Leicester. He was disloyal and self-interested, sure, but he was also pretty pissed off with a lot of people who thought they knew better than he did about what his team required. He wasn’t prepared to tolerate that any longer.
Ange is not in that position. His relationships with the key people inside Celtic are apparently excellent, and the backing he has had in the transfer market is second to none. In those circumstances, and with Ange firmly in charge of his own destiny, this job is far more appealing than a Leicester or a Wolves or a Villa or a Leeds or a Brighton.
I have to think he will not leave Celtic for such a post. If a top six club loses its boss, and they express an interest then he would be mad not to go and we would be mad not to know it. He doesn’t owe us. We are lucky to have this guy at all; he should have been snapped up by a massive club years ago, and only snobbery stopped that from happening.
Curiously, that is our best advantage because “Australian manager plying his trade in Scotland” is not the CV a top six club will go for. Ange is ambitious, and he’s not daft. He will not go somewhere where qualifying for Europe is seen as a lofty goal, but he has to realise that he might never have the profile that a Manchester United would require.
So with that in mind, maybe we should all relax and stop getting so stressed out every time one of these stories appears. They will appear, of course, because to the hacks this is all part of the game, and fair cop. It’s all gravy to them. If they destabilise the club, then it’s mission accomplished. If they do not harm but get some traffic, that’s all good too.
The Wolves story was like a bad joke. I didn’t have to read it to know that. I did read it because it’s part of my job to know what these people are saying about us. The last thing I would have done was promote their nonsense for them. None of us should.