I was very pleased today to attend the Brendan Rodgers fan media conference at Celtic Park, the second time I’ve been to a managerial unveiling. And the tone of it was different, and the air of expectancy was different, but the overall confidence that the man in the chair exuded was the same.
Back when it was Ange Postecoglou’s unveiling I sensed a little anxiety in the room, and whilst one excellent question today expressed concern that we might “revert to type” in the transfer market, Rodgers himself smoothed that one over offering an unequivocal guarantee that this would not be the case. I thought the overall mood was excellent.
Prior to talking to us, he addressed the mainstream press and he got a lot of questions about what happened “back then”; his answers I thought put the matter to bed, and not because he grovelled or kissed the badge or anything like that but because he spoke about how there was now “clarity” where there had been, at first, an operation that was somewhat slapdash, where it wasn’t clear that a real strategy was being followed.
He did not offer an apology for leaving – I never expected that he would, nor thought it necessary, as most of us know there was more to it than just a manager bailing out on a club – but he did apologise for “the hurt that was caused.”
Which is good enough.
He spoke well, but then he always has. He’s a highly intelligent man after all.
Certain things were made clear, or as clear as he could make them. There has been a sea-change in the way the club goes about its business.
There is a new level of professionalism, an elite mentality, now at Celtic and that didn’t arrive with Ange nor did it follow him out the door. I said that this was the start of a revolution; Rodgers has as much as confirmed it, but it will be the sort that doesn’t take place on the surface but beneath it, where we can’t see all the machinery working.
But we will see the results of that, for sure.
Rodgers was asked good questions today. He gave us the answers we needed. He acknowledged, as much as he was capable of acknowledging without airing a lot of dirty linen, that things at Celtic weren’t too great the last time he was here, and that it’s the change in culture and the new way we do things which played the key role in bringing him back.
And that should put the past to bed where it belongs, and give us all the confidence to move forward. People at Celtic have put aside whatever grievances they had. They have put aside whatever concerns they themselves felt, and Rodgers has set aside his own worries and doubts that the club wasn’t in sync with his ideas.
We should all be very optimistic about this change in our fortunes.
In fact, we may come to view this as a genuine platform on which to build an even more formidable club. We might very well come to find that the best is still to come.