Rodgers Has Always Valued “Succession Planning.” Celtic Has To Back It For Once.

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When Brendan Rodgers was last Celtic manager, he spoke to the media about succession planning. It’s the smart thing to do in football, and all it takes is for you to look at a calendar to get started on it. The calendar will tell you which players are out of contract and when, and who is getting older and won’t be able to keep the pace with the style of play.

We’re fortunate on the second, though with Callum McGregor and Forrest you see players whose absence will leave us with real gaps, and real issues in the European registration. Our squad is young. There is plenty of energy left in these players of ours.

Rodgers knew that Scott Brown was not going to last much longer. He also knew the footballer he wanted to bring in to replace him; John McGinn. He was supposed to be our midfield iron man for ten years. The importance of that cannot be underestimated. Everyone knew how critical it was, including the man who was supposed to make it happen.

But he got into an ego-driven pissing match with Rod Petrie instead. John McGinn went to Villa. Rodgers was disgusted and made that plain. His other efforts at succession planning were equally in vain. He was in Leicester before the end of that campaign.

Ange Postecoglou knew the value of succession planning, and we saw a classic example of it in the January window of his first campaign. We knew we’d lose Rogic and Bitton, and so he went out that month and brough in Hatate and eventually O’Riley.

These were exceptional signings and we might have made them anyway … but we knew those players would go and he wanted their replacements in early and fully integrated into the side.

Our form last season is a testament to the success of that strategy, with both players playing a starring role. Succession planning works. It is the way to keep the team strong.

That is the best example of it we’ve ever witnessed, but perhaps that’s because at Celtic it’s as rare as the white rhino. We are, all too often, reactive and we never seem to build on the foundations from a position of strength.

It takes a crisis to give us a jolt.

I am not surprised in the least to see Brendan has been talking about succession planning again, and as he points out you don’t do it for just one player, you do it across the team. The guy in question is Joe Hart, but he knows the job doesn’t stop there. Succession planning is a process and one that you should get started sooner rather than later.

I’ve got no doubt at all that he has been thinking along those lines already. I have no doubt that he’s looking at the guys who we might get offers for and those who might not want to hang around, like David Turnbull whose contract will soon be up, and has thoughts about who might be capable of taking their place in the squad and the team.

Brendan can have all the ideas that he wants, though.

The board has to back those ideas and actually engage with him on them or the whole process is a waste of his time. This board has to get real about this stuff and support him, and work with him, and make sure that this time he gets who he wants. People keep on talking to me about Rodgers so-called bad record … but who exactly was in charge of transfer policy the last time he was here?

I know this; in that summer his targets were Timothy Castagne and when we didn’t get him he wanted James Justin. He bought them both for Leicester and they were excellent. He wanted Fabian Scharr. He ended up at Newcastle where he is to this day and is a brilliant centre back. He wanted McGinn, of course, and he’s at Villa and a star for club and country.

Those were four excellent players, and all were affordable for us.

They would have been great players at Celtic and eventually we could have made a healthy profit on them, or retained them to build the whole team around. He didn’t get a single one, and that was one of the reasons he left when he did and how he did. The man made plans and people inside our own club were the ones who second guessed those plans and thwarted them.

That cannot, that must not, happen again.

The people who should be doing the real succession planning are the board, about their own positions. Some of them have been at Celtic Park way too long as it is.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    That cannot, that must not, happen again…

    But, But, But…Mr Lawwell is back in the building !

  • John S says:

    Callan McKenna (GK), 16, first-team choice at Queen’s Park.

  • Paul Mac says:

    Dont forget that before Castaigne it was the Sporting fullback Piccini who was the target, who rumor has it was so far down the line that Rodgers went on holiday leaving Pistol Pete to simply rubber stamp it. Pete in his infinite wisdom moved the goalposts which pissed off both the player and indeed Sporting who ended up selling him to Valencia (who we would face later that season)

  • Pcelt says:

    The big problem is,the people in charge are more or less the same as before and I see no changes in their attitude to fulfilling these requirements.

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