A couple of years back, I read a remarkable story about the survivors of The Camp Fire which devastated towns across Southern California in 2018. They were living in temporary accommodation, some of them in a huge indoor sports venue that was filled with bunkbeds and tented areas. These people had lost everything.
But they were alive, and they focussed on that, and so they were planning ahead. They were discussing whether they would stay in the area or go. They were debating whether or not to rebuild their houses, their towns. They weren’t optimistic, not as such, but they had survived a terrible event and here they still were. “Life goes on,” said one.
Jesus, think on that. Think on the resilience it takes to be like that when everything has fallen apart. It’s as if, with the worst thing short of the death of a sibling having happened to them they have realised that life is still worth living, that even amidst the wreckage they’ve realised “hey, we can come back from this.” And I try to remember that, our incredible ability to cope, to overcome, to get through even the most horrible events.
So let’s put a little perspective on our summer, by remembering a couple of things; Celtic endures too. This club of ours survives. We, as supporters, have seen the worst that can happen in terms of our club. We lose trophies. In 2020 we lost a title, the one that was supposed to mean the most to us in our lifetimes, if you believed the media.
How many of us still care about ten in a row? Two years on the Ange Express reminded us of what our club was about, and the supremacy we’ve all been enjoying this past decade. With Brendan Rodgers at the helm, with his seven trophies out of seven, we’re in a better place than we’ve been in a long time … and so what are we worried about?
All the way through the first two years of the Quadruple Treble we were told that losing Dembele would be the end of the world. Then it was losing Tierney was the end of the world. Then losing Rodgers was the end of the world. What happened? We won another two trebles. We were then told that losing the league was the end of the world. That losing Howe was the end of the world. That Edouard and Ajer and Brown going was the end of the world.
Still, we surveyed the damage and found that worst coming to worst wasn’t as painful or as searing as we had feared. Ange Postecoglou won us five out of the next six trophies, and we were told that the minute he was gone the whole club would fall apart.
He’s gone. The club hasn’t fallen apart. They hired another A-Lister. The next team is being built before our eyes, and part of that will be players in the current squad moving on. You cannot look at the makeup of the team right now and just the names we’re linked with and not see that some folk have to go. Others will want to go.
So players – top players, players we’ve come to respect and even love in the past two years – are going to depart for pastures new and it is not just a small consolation that we’re likely to reap huge profits from their sales, it’s the whole point of the exercise. Rodgers will get the money. We have a list of targets, and a list of replacements.
If our village burns down, rest assured; the insurance settlement will more than pay for a new one, and perhaps one which makes what we’ve lost look humble. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show. No departure will be the end of the world. This team, this club, will be stronger when the window closes than it is right now … I genuinely believe that.
Let’s not panic about what might happen. Instead, let’s enjoy what will happen because we’ve seen it all before … and Celtic endures, stronger than ever.