Yesterday, the club started the process of season ticket renewals, and now that we’re under way it’s clear that the preparations for the new campaign have begun. The email that was sent out links to the official club site, and on the page is an open letter to fans from the boss himself. He says nothing terribly remarkable, except for the tone of it.
The tone of it is of optimism and the theme is of all being in it together.
Those are not the words of a man who is going anywhere this summer, no matter what insanity reigns down in England over the next few months. There will be speculation – and plenty of it – and there are clearly several clubs down there looking to do summer appointments … but that man would not have put his name to any message of solidarity unless he meant it.
At the same time as the email went out, The Guardian had an article on him and not by their usual Scottish sports writer Ewan Murray, he of the “Ange’s job is easy cause he’s at Celtic” school of journalism, which reigns up here. This piece is respectful, and suggests that Ange is a trailblazer who could do a lot for managers from unfancied nations if he got an EPL job.
That’s all very good, and all very true, but in the eyes of a lot of people he’s done that already, and it’s not like this guy hasn’t been on the radar in England and elsewhere before now. If Celtic is a spotlight big enough to “get him noticed” then it’s big enough that he’s set that example and blazed that trail regardless of whether he goes there or not.
Still, the article shows the esteem in which Ange is now held south of the border and elsewhere and the writer is correct to say that he faced a lot of doubt and prejudice when he arrived in this country and has done superbly to overcome it. I appreciate the tenor of the piece without necessarily agreeing with the central thrust of it.
The big man has come to Scotland and done incredible things.
He has raised the profile of Asian football to the highest point it’s been in a long, long time and his football ideas are first rate and are set, I believe, to be widely copied here and beyond.
That man has already re-written the book on how coaches from that part of the world are perceived and whether he goes to England or not they will find it much easier to get jobs in Europe as a result of his efforts.
On top of that is just the man himself.
And the man himself is “all in” for next season, as the email we all got makes perfectly clear.
He is here for the next part of the journey, here for the next evolution of this team, here to make it three in a row … and perhaps take us over a certain other club’s alleged trophy haul.
There is plenty to play for … and that man is up for it and going nowhere.