The Great Unveiling was on Friday, and if you’ve followed the media coverage of it the thing you’ll notice most is that they are pushing a very specific line here, about how we are still some kind of “house divided.”
Almost every one of the reports cites a lack of enthusiasm for the appointment, or wants to focus on the lingering anger of a small section of the support.
There are times when the narratives being pushed by our media are shaky and confused.
This is not one of those times.
The idea that Rodgers’ appointment is not popular amongst the fan-base is being promoted very deliberately, to put him under pressure or make him believe that he’s under pressure right from the start.
The idea of Celtic as a divided club is obviously one that they take some pleasure in, and draw some solace from.
But it’s not true, no matter how much they might want to paint it as being so.
Rodgers will never again command the popularity that he did when he first walked through the doors of Celtic Park, but the idea that the Celtic support, as a whole, is simply waiting for him to fail so he can be hounded out of the club is preposterous.
Hugh Keevins – who really needs someone to sit him down and explain to him that he’s finished, that his career is finished, that he’s got nothing left to offer – has been pushing the line that Rodgers is angry at the fans, at having to explain himself, and that he might feel it’s not worth hanging around. Basically, Keevins is indulging in a little wishful thinking and he isn’t alone there.
Most of the hacks at the moment are singing a similar song.
Keith Jackson, this morning, talked about the “one man and his dog” who came to see Brendan Rodgers’ unveiling; this is miles from being factual. There weren’t thousands of people there on Friday but there were several hundred stood outside Celtic Park, and the fan-media guys like myself who were inside the ground greeted the manager warmly.
It was a Friday afternoon.
Most people had better things to do than come down to Celtic Park; nevertheless, I thought Brendan got a great reception.
The first time he was unveiled our managerial appointments had been Strachan followed by Mowbray followed by Lennon followed by Deila; suddenly we were putting an A-Lister in the Martin O’Neill category into the job, and so of course the fans packed the place out for him.
We’ve won five trebles since then. Appointing an A-list boss isn’t enough on its own to draw the crowds any longer. Wait until this guy brings the first trophy home.
I think the low-key way this has been done is perfect, actually.
The last thing the fans needed was a guy who was going to come out and kiss the badge and all that nonsense.
The last thing he needed was to be hailed as some kind of messiah.
Everyone knows the stakes here. Everyone knows the pressure, and it’s not unique to him,
Rodgers has been humbled by his sacking at Leicester. He knows that he’s luck to have a club like Celtic interested in him. He also knows that he has the talent and the personality to win the doubters to his side.
His “see you in May” comments were brilliant … because he’s saying “judge me when the prizes are handed out.”
Arrogant? Some will see it like that. I prefer to view it as confidence.
The truth is, this support is not as divided on the issue of the manager as the hacks would like it to be. I would be willing to bet that if you polled our supporters now you’d find a huge majority in favour of this guy, and that even groups like The Green Brigade have forgiven – if not forgotten – by the time the campaign proper kicks off.
This is far from being “a house divided” and the only reason some in the media want to pretend that it is should be obvious; they will cling to any crumb of comfort that they can get. This club is not where they expected it to be with the departure of the previous boss. A united Celtic is tough enough to deal with.
A united Celtic led by a top tier boss … that’s their worst nightmare.