Last Night’s Revelations Have Cast The Celtic Manager In An Entirely New Light.

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Ange Postecoglou sat in front of the media on Thursday last week and said that he was focussed on nothing but the game on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon he told the fans and the media that he was going to take some time to enjoy the occasion and would be focussed on his family and friends. Amazing that this man has such focus.

Because according to reports today – and I firmly believe this is the first strategic leak out of Celtic on this issue – he told Dermot Desmond and the board on Saturday night that he wanted to go to Spurs. When I got up this morning, they had the broad outlines of his contract in the reports; two years with an option for a third.

So the deal was done. Everything but the signature on a piece of paper.

So whilst that man was invoking Tommy Burns his bags were already packed.

The question arises as to whether you believe the strategic leak, and I certainly do because not a single piece does not fit perfectly into the picture we can see emerging here.

Ange Postecoglou refused to commit to next season at Celtic.

Every newspaper in England was running the story that he’s going to London.

Yet, officially, Spurs hadn’t made an approach yet. We all know that’s a steaming pile of bullshit, because you do not crawl out on the limb and start sawing it merrily behind you unless you know the safety net is there.

This wasn’t a guy finding out he’d made the final shortlist and deciding to chance it, and I wrote that yesterday. The London press says this is a done deal and they are closer to the action with better sources than Jackson and this ragbag mob up here.

Signing a manager to a club is a complicated business. Even if you like the cut of their jib, negotiations aren’t done in a day or a weekend.

If he signs a contract at Spurs today or tomorrow, as is now virtually certain, the wheels had to be in motion before Saturday and so the implications of his informing the board on Saturday night are, of course, enormous as a result of that.

Our manager has been tapped, and he’s gone along with it.

For how long? Days? Weeks? We’ll never know that. But what we can be absolutey certain of is that Spurs “official approach” story is a despicable fraud, and I truly and sincerely hope that Celtic issues a robust response to that.

Their conduct here has been abysmal, but then so has the conduct of Ange Postecoglou.

How can you tell the board you want to go to a club which is yet to formally offer you the job? And how is it possible to make that decision in a single evening, during a party, with all the blanks filled in for you so you know there are no surprises waiting?

The logical answer is that you can’t. That’s not how it works. Daniel Levy has burned through a half dozen negotiations already and if you’re just another candidate then telling your current boss that you want to go down and work for him when he’s not made you an offer is an act of utter folly, and Ange Postecoglou, as we all know, is not a stupid man.

He’d have had to have known the scope of the offer.

He’d have had to have known that the terms were acceptable.

So serious talks have taken place already, way before the game, and our club was a secondary consideration, and so, by implication, was the treble bid because had we not been playing Inverness in the final it’s abundantly clear that the split focus of the manager would have imperilled us, and that is only multiplied if he’d already discussed this with his coaching staff.

If he takes the backroom team with him then that’s as close to the Brendan Rodgers scenario as you can get; those who say what Rodgers did was worse because he did it mid-season should be grateful, as we all should, that Spurs never put this to the test whilst we still had trophies to win because none of us knows what the manager would have done in those circumstances, except in one crucial respect; he left Yokohama for Celtic in exactly that fashion.

We have been royally grafted here, and in some ways this is even more egregious than the Rodgers escapade because although he left us with all the issues still up in the air and without even a coaching staff, few inside Celtic Park were surprised at the development.

That had been telegraphed so far in advance, in private and in public, that the shock of it was only about the timing and not the fact of it.

It’s the fact of this, not the timing, that is truly abominable.

Because yeah, this season’s business was done, but for the first time in my living memory our club has been one step ahead and planning in advance and all those plans are in ruins. The summer was just about sorted. The transfer business in and out was agreed on. The trip to Japan is set in stone, and he was to be the centrepiece of that.

Worse, by far, the season ticket campaign – laughably titled “We’re All In” was fronted by the manager and that is one of the reasons those tickets sold out in record time.

We are all entitled to be pissed off about those things, but inside the club?

People must be absolutely livid.

In normal circumstances I would say that issues that happened in our house would stay behind closed doors; I’m not so sure that will happen here.

There are too many things about this that frankly stink to high heaven. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if we don’t make an official complaint against Spurs for what is so blatantly an illegal approach, and I wonder if the club’s public response to this will be to issue a statement outlining their understanding of these events.

The people running our club aren’t daft, and they aren’t going to tolerate being taken for absolute mugs or Celtic being treated like this. They know that the on-the-record version of how this has all gone down is not worth a damn.

This morning’s stories are surely only the first step towards our getting a fuller accounting of this into the public domain.

The only thing that could prevent that is that those inside Celtic might see the principal task as repairing the damage that’s been done and getting on with that instead.

In many ways I hope that’s what comes about.

We learned something here.

The next manager of this club must not be of the badge kissing variety. We have to view this the way we view signing players from now on; we’re not hiring messiah’s, we’re hiring mercenaries … and if the shelf life of a Celtic manager is now to be two or three years, then so be it … just so long as they are successful ones.

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  • John Mc Guire says:

    Let’s hope that he just leaves and dosnt give us a long winded bulls hit story about how he loved thee club and the fans.

  • Charlie Green says:

    Great article. Good news is he might be taking Kennedy with him although I doubt he’ll go because they will be sacked by Christmas.
    If Ang can’t survive in Europe’s lower competitions he has no chance in the EPL.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    I’ve tried hard to give Ange the benefit of the doubt throughout this past week, but now like you James i realise we’ve been taken for mugs once again. I also agree with you that we’ll have to get it into our heads that the shelf life of a successful manager at Celtic is 2-3 years. Will the next manager at Celtic please not tell us how much he loves the club or he was “born into the club” or “I’m building something here”. All we should look for from any manager is that he is just a winner and if he wants to go to a larger and richer league then so be it, but for God sake don’t bullshxt us.
    If Spurs come in for Kyogo, as is already rumoured, then we should look for at least 30-40 million.
    Ange has taken a gamble, Guys like Kompany and Slot were Spurs 1st choices they both obviously looked at it and said not for me. We’ll watch with interest how things pan out for him and anybody else he takes with him.

  • Hans says:

    Without dwelling on the point, some of your eulogizing on the man left me feeling decidedly queasy. He came, he did a good job, and now he’s off. Thanks for the memories. Looking forward to hearing who his replacement is. As I’ve already said, in response to another piece, I reckon he’ll struggle at Spurs. Who wouldn’t?

    • James Forrest says:

      Well, as to your first point, I have a piece to put up on that later.

      • Hans says:

        Look forward to it. I wonder how Rogers feels at being overlooked for Ange. Some stories circulating that Rogers could be coming back!

  • Greg says:

    James, don’t you realize that these things are all mostly conducted by agents? and don’t you also realise that Celtic knew what was going on long before it happened? And Celtic will now also have been well down the road towards appointing another manager long before this event. It’s just business, mate. Hard business but business nevertheless.
    I’m a lifelong Spurs and Celtic fan and I’m long past the stage where I was expecting my own loyalty emotions to be replicated by those who run the clubs. I Will be forever grateful to Ange for what he did for Celtic and I also hope he can do the same for Spurs. If he leaves us for a bigger club we will still have to grin and bear it

    • James Forrest says:

      Oh I’m quite certain Celtic had an inkling of what as going on.

    • Robert says:

      Not a bigger club but 1 with more money and a better league not the size of our club and definitely not the support, we have the best fans in the world but thats just the way it works and we need to get someone in quickly but who there’s another question anyway that’s my tuppence worth hail hail.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Tbh and this isnae wishful thinkin, ah can see him comin tae regret it. Especially with Spurs and Levy. Looks like he disnae totally realize, just how good he has it here.

  • S Thomas says:

    Ange has been great for Celtic.. and although disappointed he will go with my best wishes. He will need to prove himself all over again in the EPL, which won’t be easy as there is a lot of good sides down there, and it won’t be as easy for him as it as been up here. I personally think it is far too good an opportunity to decline, it’s the best league in the world, and going to all the different grounds will be a great experience for him. I wish him well, as he has been great up here, and he has brought a terrific style of play, and I wish the big guy well.

  • John says:

    Contracts and all those other factors do not enter my thinking. I am very happy where i am and as long as the club want me to stay I will be around.

    Either a) tells lies or b) being pushed?

    PL has entered the building!

    • Henriksgoldenboot says:

      John. This HAS to be a strong possibility, and I think you are the first to really mention this factor. Has Lawell snr been overbearing in the background and this has been a motive in Anges decision. And btw let’s not forget, this is all still media talk and rumours. Nothing has been confirmed by anyone as of yet.

  • Effarr says:

    He only stayed until the season`s end because he never got the offer earlier. At least we know now that we had a manager who was nothing but a con-man. We certainly have been surprised at how long he would be at Celtic, a team he loved and would be with as long as he was wanted. He understood the history and the culture, being an immigrant himself, blah, blah blah.
    And, as they say, the band played on. He has at least left with less hair and a bigger belly.

    I felt the support gave him too much leeway at times. When Celtic struggled to beat THEM the excuse was a bug affecting the team but “we still beat them”. When they eventually took
    three off Celtic it was, “we took the foot off the pedal” or it was a dead rubber. When Hibs won, it was the same old excuse and it was the same against St Mirren and Motherwell. If players have any pride it is easy enough to put the foot back on the pedal. The real truth is that his football was running its short course and he would have been terrified to try it out in the CL next year.
    It is ironic that Old Firm Sevco can attract a manager from the
    EPL and Celtic can`t keep one away from the same league.
    However, he`s in the past now, as he will be this time next year in relation to the Lillywhites.
    You couldn`t even sell his song to the Spurs fans as they`ll
    never ever be on Top of The League looking down on anyone.

    • Robert Dickson says:

      Spot on ???

      • He’d mullen says:

        We’ve been taken for mugs again fed fed up with managers and players beating the badge and saying all the rights things then leave at the first opertunity

    • Jackson says:

      Have to agree with most of that “Effarr”…… I don’t think he was a “con man” but you are right about his style of football was coming to an end.
      Those defeats you spoke about were not good and those dead rubber excuses were not for me
      IF he takes Kyogo with him then I think our Japanese experiment is done no matter if Hatate (woeful ) on
      Saturday goes too. We need real steel in our team and maybe a new man will bring in players who will give us that

  • Gerald Millar says:

    A very well written editorial about the Ange move to Spurs,our board surely must have been aware of developments, if so,they should have given our fans due notice. YNWA?

  • Ian says:

    This is by far the most accurate piece I have read on the matter

  • B Brown says:

    James pal love your articles and agree with them All. Exempt this one where were we before he came and where are we now,I would except the next manager that comes in and give us what Ange has done all day long,including Brendin Rogers excuse the spelling I’m an old man.

  • Robert Dickson says:

    Brilliantly written and I concur with your assessment about Postecoglou,he used us as a stepping-stone that’s blatantly obvious now.lately managers are as trustworthy as their badge kissing players,yes,something definitely reeks of bullshit and it goes all the way to North London on a one way ticket!

  • Croftcelt says:

    Reality eventually strikes in the final paragraph of the article.

  • Joe Monaghan says:

    These guy’s are not like us we’re Celtic to the core outside your family they are the most important thing in our lives these guy’s are passing through done a brilliant job now he’s moving on good luck to him but spare us the pish talk. We’re a stepping stone for these guy’s btw would take BR back in a heartbeat keep on winning trebles
    Hail Hail the Celts are here

  • Hugh says:

    It’s true, however he did set us up for a future. We have a great team with good years left in their contracts.
    We will survive and flourish, we don’t need to rebuild and we haven’t died.
    We can and will be better.

  • Dolphin Boy says:

    I really hope he doesn’t have too many opportunities to stroll around the park thumping his chest. I know that may sound childish but I’m so disappointed in his actions throughout this whole business.

  • Tom Foolery says:

    I think if anyone was paying attention all the clues were there. Desmond turns up out of the blue. Ange says something along the lines of we wont lose the cup final and destroy his legacy at Celtic and finally did any of you even notice the faces on DD and PL at the cup final…they had the look of two men who had the lottery numbers up and then realised they hadn’t bought a ticket.

    I wonder about a couple of things though. What happens if there’s a break-down in contract talks between Ange and Spurs and if not will he take Kyogo with him and how much is Kyogo’s sell on clause?

    Anyway i wish the big fella all the best.

  • Peterbrady says:

    James no more articles on yesterday man time for the broony he has done his apprenticeship time to come home HAIL! HAIL!. We are CELTIC ??????

  • Edward Mc Graw says:

    Why are all our plans” in ruins”?, who’s to say our next manager doesn’t follow through with whatever those plans are, for me, he came, he totally sorted out some huge difficulties whilst winning trophies, now he’s moving on, it happens, and, if you’re correct in saying he left Yokohama in the same way Rogers left us,does that mean we behaved in the same was a spurs have?, if so, and I’m not saying you’re correct but, if you are, then are we guilty of the same “ bad” practices as Spurs?.

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