Yes, Brendan Rodgers Celtic Transfer “Clarification” Is A Surprise And A Concern.

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This is a day full of surprises.

Our club is finally doing something it’s never done before; demonstrating unpredictability. Just when you think you know what our stance will be on the Ibrox club and the ticket situation, it pulls the rug from under us and threatens to challenge the governing body and hold Ibrox to account for its behaviour.

I am stunned by that, because it would shatter years of precedent, but I cannot say that I am in the least bit concerned about it. I am glad that we’ve finally made a bold move.

The second surprise of the day is not quite so welcome, and it was delivered by Brendan Rodgers himself. He “clarified” our club’s transfer policy today and what it means is that he has, in effect, put himself at the mercy of other people’s judgement, people who won’t be held in the least bit accountable if they fail and fail utterly in their duties and responsibilities.

I can only say to that he’s a braver man than me.

This is his career he’s left in their hands. Ange Postecoglou ran this stuff. He was in charge.. “I will work with the players I am given” is the very last thing that our fans wanted to hear out of the mouth of Brendan Rodgers, or anyone in his seat, even if this is what he signed up for.

And I say that very deliberately … even if this is what he signed up for. If you think you can hear thunder rumbling in the distance … yeah, you’re not imagining it. I hear it too.

Look, we can sugar coat this and try to ignore it and we can tell ourselves what I’ve been telling myself all along here; “the window isn’t closed yet, let’s wait to see what happens.” But nobody who heard that today can believe for a minute that this is a positive development and there’s no point in trying to dress it up as one. Our transfer success rate was transformed when we had a guy who was the final decision maker, who assembled this team in a co-ordinated manner … every piece was bought specifically to fit a certain role and to do a certain job.

If someone other than the manager is deciding who we sign and where and what our needs are, then that’s a dysfunctional situation, that’s a cause for concern, that’s someone making a subjective judgement and wielding power without responsibility and perhaps even running counter to what Brendan Rodgers thinks that Celtic needs.

The football operation should be governed by one man; the manager. It should exist to fit his needs. He should not have to run the club to facilitate someone else’s priorities.

We’ve been down this road and if we’re back in a place where the people who thought the answer to our problems was Neil Lennon and who made such a mess of the quest for ten in a row, have suddenly convinced themselves that they are, in fact, the geniuses they said all along then we’ve got a big problem.

I am seriously concerned to hear those words coming out of Brendan Rodgers’ mouth.

Even if he means it, even if he’s willing to tolerate what he found intolerable the last time around, it still means that people at Celtic Park haven’t gotten the lesson; this club is at its best when the football department bends to the manager’s will.

It’s when the manager has been bent to someone else’s that we’ve traditionally had problems here, and especially when all involved are well aware that if it all goes wrong the guy in the dugout will be the only one who carries the can.

All the way through this window so far, I’ve defended the process on the basis that the manager was in charge of it. Now we know he ism’t.

Yeah, now it’s time to be concerned.

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  • brian cavanagh says:

    Hi James

    I hate to tell you that those who said ‘we told you so’ have been proved. I get no pleasure from saying it – it merely repeats a well worn pattern of getting ahead, but not putting the foot own. The strategy of incremental progress is not enough – to compete in Europe and indeed to be confident of winning the league in Scotland requires improvement in areas long identified by you. This statement is a psychological boost to our enemies especially the team that plays in paisley road west. A piece of self harm that will have long term consequences.

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    This doesnae sound good at all and ye just wonder, if a certain person who’s been re-instated at the top position has anythin tae dae wi this and what we all suspected would happen, is startin tae happen. Interference !? We’ll soon see.

  • Dolphin Bhoy says:

    Obviously I have no knowledge of what has caused this major change in BR’s attitude.
    Could it be due to a different position that the board have taken on his preference as to who the next signing should be. For example Prudon of Wolves may have been his next target who is valued at 1omil plus , just a thought I have, as this I believe is what caused him to up and leave us the last time.

  • Mark b says:

    It’s been clear something is up …again! We keep looking at wingers! We need DM Cf And LB and this assumes our new CHs are good or wed also need a CH too. Manager should be in charge I agree if not we may have a problem looming.

  • king murdy says:

    well….that’s that then…!
    rodgers ambition has lowered to meet the celtic fc board’s ambition – the spfl champions ! brilliant !!
    because celtic will do fuk all in the champions league with this lot…no way !
    i’m amazed at rodgers agreeing to yet another fukn lawwell pulling the strings…
    looks like he’s just an upgrade on lennon…not the fork tongued greek….
    what is it about celtic fc and the fukn lawwell’s…in the past it was the white’s and the kelly’s…ffs !!!

  • SSMPM says:

    That statement there explains so much

  • Matt says:

    Surely we’re not back here again? This is terrifying. Are we/our season about to implode?

    Does this mean the board lied to the manager when going through the initial employment process, telling him he’s in charge of signings/ football operations then telling him now he’s not?

    Is this terminado 2.0

    Is this real or am I dreaming/deranged?

  • Martin Orr says:

    In Germany, the structure in many clubs allows for a change in head coach without a massive upheaval of the footballing department. When Rodgers left the last time it ripped the absolute heart out of the club. Perhaps we have learned from that, and have installed a system whereby the head coach coaches, and the rest is left up to each individual department. Scouting included.

    • watsamatabooboo says:

      Nail on head mate, and Rodgers worked under exactly these circumstances at Liverpool, so it’s hardly gonna come as a surprise to him; the difference this time around is that we have a proper, functional, scouting structure in place with a constantly evolving portfolio of players in every position and the manager will rank the players in the positions he wants to fill in order of preference.

      Ange clearly had major control over transfer dealings in his first season as there was no scouting network to speak of, but the idea that Ange wasn’t working under the same conditions Rodgers is working under now in his second season show an alarming naivety in how people think recruitment happens at major football clubs. If anyone believes that, then by default they also believe that Bernabei, Oh, and Johnson weren’t identified by the club’s scouting network but were a product of Ange’s encyclopedic knowledge of every league & player in world football, and they should get in touch as I have many bridges available for sale…

    • Damian says:

      I completely agree with this. I genuinely think that this system, and Rodgers’ seeming acceptance of and comfort with it – is an entirely good thing.

      I think his “can’t compare” comment to the fan’s question, in comparison to the situation at Leicester, was also telling. Why would a manager who has spent the last four seasons in the Premier League – where the starting price for a first team player exceeds our limit – have an informed and in-depth understanding of the best markets from which we should be recruiting players? It is logical that he would not. It is therefore logical that he should be reliant on a strong scouting department. His press conference indicated his confidence in this process – and its clarity (unlike during his last tenure).

      There is no comparison with Ange, who took post at the point of a mess and who DID have in-depth and first-hand knowledge of those markets.

      For me, this is nothing but a strong indication that Celtic is finally doing exactly what it should be doing.

      Now, there may well be first-hand (likely PL-based) direct Rodgers targets. Those ones were always likely to go to the end of the window – as they almost always do, given that the players involved will always have strong options.

      We have a strength in this area, which we didn’t up until a year ago: we don’t need these players for qualifiers and so the end of the window is absolutely fine. On this, I’d refer back to James’s piece from a day or two before this one, where he appealed for calm and patience.

      What’s the worst that could happen? We lose at Ibrox? We have a points advantage already and it’s very early days. Not the end of the world. Rangers also don’t look exactly what you’d call ‘good’ (at least not yet – again, early days), so no real reason to worry too much about that either.

      • watsamatabooboo says:

        Completely agree with everything you’ve said here too mate, and you make a great point that potential ‘marquee’ signings aren’t going to sign for us when the window opens in June, but will wait it out til the end of the window to see all of the options they have available to them, so if there are offers on the table there any deals likely won’t be concluded until the end of the month.

  • Henriksgoldenboot says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Lawell should NEVER have come back. It’s like letting a bad prime minister or president back for a second term.

  • Auldheid says:

    A ma reads what he wants to read and disregards the rest.

    BR said ” “Picking the profile that suits us best and I play a part in that”

    I should bloody well hope so.

    That profile has to include footballing attributes i.e. technical ability, physical build relevant to position and personal demeanour, that players offered will have to meet to be signed


    BR thinks he can raise players offered to a level he thinks is acceptable, if those offered fall short of the ideal, in football attribute terms, of what BR would prefer we sign if cost was not an overriding factor.

    Players of the higher level who tick all the profile boxes might end up costing too much under the financial part of the profile and that as BR said wasn’t a factor in the EPL, so it is is a matter of doing the best in the circumstances that prevail.

    I imagine BR will be as pissed of as the rest of us that Celtic are not operating in the same wage market as he worked in in England.

    AP no more had the final word than BR has. AP came with personal knowledge of players football attributes that met Celtic’ financial profile.
    BR will have the same personal knowledge of players that can have an impact but they fall outside the financial profile, so what is needed is a searchable record of players with the footballing attributes that fit the football profile or have the potential to do so. Call it a database that churns out players becoming available which are offered to BR to consider either having matched the profile BR has set or have the potential to match it under his coaching.

    Recruiting a player is a team process not a one man job.

    The database Celtic used in PLs time was PL himself whose kpis did not put football attributes above a balanced set of books.
    If he were still personally involved to the degree he was in the past BR would not be at Celtic.
    Indeed he made a point of saying he was happy with changes in the recruitment process since he left but that process still has affordability as part of the profile and that is set by club policy.

    One of the problems Celtic face when being more transparent in how things work is that rather than clear matters, what is said runs the gamut of confirmation bias on the part of the reader, when a meaning is applied according to that bias.

    We have needs to bulk up in defence and midfield.

    One of the priority positions ie CB has been filled by 6 footers, then Welsh gets an injury that shows that footballing priority was given to filling that position, where football and financial profile could both be met.
    So it is possible but it takes time for for both to align and it makes sense to have a manager able and willing to bring “not quite ready but affordable as a result” players to Celtic.

    Part of that sense is BR playing a part in establishing the football part of the profiles that recruiters use to find signings.
    Managers come and go but the economical background that influences Celtic’s recruiting policy has not changed.
    What can change is how Celtic live with that fact and that change has been made to BRs satisfaction, but it has not changed why Celtic cannot recruit like say Leicester, a point BR made in that interview.

    Be alert to going back to the future but be aware the lack of signings in MF or LB so far does not mean that we are.

  • Dan Cowie says:

    I have had the feeling for a long time that since Rangers came back and post five way agreement that Celtic will only strengthen on a moderate level even when they have a massive financial advantage. It’s as if they keep wishing to preserve the Glasgow derby games and not get that too far ahead where we could win them comfortably. Something stinks. Losing the 10 in a row was also well dodgy in my opinion. Really, how was that possible, the chain of events that led to that were frankly astonishing

  • John Paul Watters says:

    Modern football has changed. Rodgers is a modern football coach and relies on staff to help him do his job while he moulds players to fit his teams. That’s how many modern coaches work. I also don’t believe for 1 second he has no input on the players coming in, but he has some players thar he inherited. Hence the statement, be careful not to see too much between the lines.

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