Ange Postecoglou’s departure from our club was not an isolated incident but part of what’s become a troubling trend; a complete absence of even the most basic expectation of loyalty to our club from those which it employs. This has troubled me from the first.
iIt is now readily apparent that part of Ange’s thinking when he was telling players that they would be allowed to pursue their “ambitions” even if that meant only paying lip-service to contracts that they had just signed was linked to his own intentions.
I thought right from the first that it set a deeply troubling precedent although as long as we were replacing departing players with those who were as good as, if not better, than them I thought it was only minimally harmful.
But it’s now clear that we cannot keep ourselves locked into this cycle of constant rebuilding; it is equally clear that we cannot have managers putting in place what they claim are long-term plans only to depart at the first sign of more money somewhere else.
Celtic needs more stability than that, and whilst I have traditionally agreed that it’s better in principle that unhappy players are shipped out, I think the behaviours of certain people in our recent history, Rodgers included, justify a new status quo.
We should be calling out this kind of behaviour and demanding a little more, and as long as a manager makes this expectation clear from the start there ought not to be any issue with it at all. That’s how we turn this moment to our advantage.
Is was unconscionable that two players were allowed to leave in January having given us such a brief period of service. We out to have stamped on that idea … the manager clearly had no issues with it, and so we all presumed it was part of a plan. But in fact, it may just have been making a moral case for his own eventual departure … it’s ridiculous.
The first signs of this shift have already taken place.
Kennedy has been denied a move to Spurs, at least for the moment. If the manager speaks to him and he still wants to go then we should not stand in his way. I wrote about this the other day. But he will have to make that absolutely explicit and if the manager would rather fight that decision then Kennedy should be told his only other option is to quit … I wouldn’t support this kind of thing as a one off. As a change in overall policy it would be worth backing.
It would be worth backing because it would let us know – definitively – the state of the playing squad going into the next campaign. If the new boss comes in on a long term deal he can start convincing us that he intends to see it through by telling the players that all of them will be here next season and that if they want to leave next summer that’s fine.
But no more of this crazy one year/two year cycle where someone can come to Parkhead, give us the bare minimum of service and go off to England or elsewhere. Enough of acting as though we’re some feeder club for the big boys down south. If a player signs a five year deal we’re entitled to three years minimum out of the guy before he is allowed to move.
Unfeasible? Unrealistic? Have we ever tried it? There are some who’ll say that it will stop players coming here; that’s telling us we’ll miss the taste of a chocolate treat we’ve never had in our mouths in the first place. Some players will balk, yes, but everyone who hears it will take it seriously and take us seriously as a result. We’ll get the right types.
Celtic is about to undergo a major series of changes. It’s true that fans have become very cynical; so should the club as a result. We need to protect ourselves better and making sure that everyone who signs up knows what is expected of them is the best thing we can do for ourselves … and this makes creating a team an easier job. You cannot guarantee sustained success when three or four key footballers have to be replaced every year.
As I said, this is not just an appointment it’s a revolution and the thing with a revolution is that those who come out on top of it can decide what the future looks like. If Rodgers signs expect a long-term deal. That’s the first sign of commitment. The second would be to demand it of others instead of creating an environment where people think it doesn’t matter.
It’s precisely because Rodgers once did this to us that he’s the perfect person to come in and announce that the club will no longer tolerate it. People – Rodgers included – have taken the piss for too long. If things are to change, then let’s have everything change.