This is an article I never believed that I would write. I never thought I’d have to. We had moved so far beyond Brendan Rodgers that it would have seemed like lunacy not even a month ago. At that point we were all entitled to think that Posecoglou would go into next season knowing that he was on the brink of an historic third title in a row; only a handful of our managers has ever accomplished that. Brendan Rodgers should have been one of them.
That he isn’t is, of course, the whole crux of this issue. He sloped off like someone who had committed a crime, and whilst I understood that part of it was frustration and an inability to work with a certain person for even a minute longer, I also recognised what a low act that was. He imperilled our season. That he took the entire coaching team with him was appalling.
If you are going to hold Neil Lennon responsible for what went wrong in the Season Of No Fans then you have to accept that Rodgers assumes at least some of the responsibility himself, because it was the timing of his departure and the manner of it that led the board to turn to a man who should not have been near the club. Still, what happened next wasn’t his fault at all.
Lawwell and his dire predecessor should have been hounded out for the door for the Shower Scene From Hampden, the most awful thing to happen in such a location since Hitchcock filmed Robert Bloch’s dark masterpiece. Everything Rodgers built was dismantled, as most of us feared that it would be. It will forever be to Postecoglou’s credit that he accomplished what he did.
The loss of that guy hurts because we recognise that he was an elite level boss. Rodgers is too though, and if you take emotion out of this – and it’s about time we all did – then the move to replace one with the other makes nothing but good sense. I abhor what Rodgers did, just as I abhor what Postecoglou went on to do, and I know full well the guy can’t be fully trusted … except in one critical area and I look at this situation and think it might be the only one that matters.
He can be trusted to win things. His record at Celtic was outstanding. Outstanding, and all the revisionism in the world has never altered that fact one iota, and it never will. What that man was able to achieve here is unmatched by all but Stein. O’Neill got us to a European final, but the Invincible Treble was a staggering achievement and back-to-back trebles had never been done when he breezed into our game and upended the record books and did just that.
Rodgers would almost certainly have won 3Treble had he stayed long enough, and not only joined that small group of bosses who won three titles in a row but set a record which I have little doubt would have stood the test of time. We could play the game in this country for the next 200 years and never see a manager win three trebles on the bounce … and he would have had he stayed long enough to see the job completed. It is a disgrace what he did … but I’ve never doubted that.
We, all of us, have clear reservations about this guy and they are earned. There is little doubt that anger would still swirl around the Celtic Park stands over what he did. My own has never abated one bit. In a perfect world that man would never set foot inside the ground again, far less take a seat in the dugout as boss. But the most deeply divisive act in all of Celtic’s recent history was the hiring of Neil Lennon for the second time … and I will feel a lot less pissed off if Rodgers is unveiled this week than I did on the day that announcement was made, casting a long dark cloud over what should have been one of the best days in our lives as Celtic fans.
I will never understand what motivated certain people inside Celtic to do that. I will have no difficulty understanding the decision to reappoint Brendan Rodgers if that is what those in charge of this club decide to do. I will feel much, much angrier if we get forced to swallow the appointment of a rookie or some “project” manager when what we need is an experienced battle-hardened winner … and that is what we’d be getting by putting Rodgers in that post.
When we appointed this guy the first time I was one of the many, many thousands of fans who went to Celtic Park for the unveiling. He was my first choice for the job that year, and from the word go, just as Howe was my hoped-for manager the last time we were on the hunt for a boss. Rodgers is not in the top three choices this year … I would suggest that Knutsen is the outstanding individual here, and unlike some I would gladly take Marsch. My wildcard candidate would have been Marcello Gallardo but I don’t think he was ever seriously on the radar.
I thought Potter would have been a great choice, but I didn’t believe we’d ever get him when he’s so obviously still waiting for a Premiership gig. I’ve written about David Moyes already; I was thrilled for him in his winning the UEFA Conference League trophy because he’s been down a long road. But he has never wanted the Celtic job and his football can be uninspiring.
Others have interviewed for it. Some of the names are “meh” and others – Maresca being top of that list – inspire nothing but incomprehension and the thought that I might have to do the one thing I want less than anything in the world; to write my third article in a row panning the board’s choice of Celtic boss. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry in my life as I was when I heard that Lennon had been offered it in the Hampden shower room.
I was stunned by the Postecoglou decision because I saw in it my worst fears about a club in a panic reaching for a candidate simply because his name appeared in the Lawwell family contacts book. I still think that the way it came about was slapdash, panicked and desperate and I remain convinced that no-one involved in it should ever have a say in the appointment of a Celtic boss again.
Lawwell has made sure he’s hogged the credit for it being a success; it could so easily have gone the other way. That was a momentous, unpardonable risk … I have always compared it to someone boasting about how he put his mortgage payments on red at the casino and thought of himself as a genius forevermore when it came up. But I would think that most of the people in his life consider that the act of a reckless arsehole and adjust their relationships with him accordingly.
I will “back” the manager whoever that is, as I always have.
I swung around to Postecoglou very quickly because he impressed me the moment he was actually in the door and starting getting his ideas across.
On the day after I wrote the most excoriating article I’ve ever published – the Lennon one on the day the announcement was made – I read a despicable piece on another site accusing Lennon of being a drunk and having had an altercation with someone at a prior game, which had put Celtic off hiring him … that article had, of course, been written and published in the days before he got the gig.
The writer offered to quit blogging, although he refused to retract a single word of that horrific piece and indeed doubled down on his claims, which had no foundation in reality at all. As he’s a particularly nasty individual who has had launched many a personal attack on other Celtic fan media I hereby accepted his “resignation””… I was defending Lennon 24 hours after flaming him and I gave him every backing until that was no longer tenable.
And of course, this site lambasts the media every single day for their insidious behaviour, and their targeting of anyone at Celtic who looks like being a success.
So the very last thing I want to do is write another piece expressing my frustration and horror at a Celtic managerial appointment; let me make it as clear as I can. If Brendan Rodgers is appointed our next manager I will have concerns, but none of them will be to do with his ability or his record and I will not feel any need to get out the flamethrower.
It would be a gross exaggeration to say I will “welcome it”. But I will not be able to argue with it on the most fundamental level … which basically comes down to a simple question. “Do you believe that this man can do a job for us, and secure us more silverware?” And his record here is seven from seven, and so the answer to that is an unequivocal yes.