The Biggest Mystery At Celtic Right Now Is Why Brendan Rodgers Came Back.

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About 20 odd years ago, so long now that it seems like a lifetime, I went to an interview for a sales job down in England. I had never done sales in my life, but I aced the interview.

I killed that day, because I thought I’d read the setup perfectly. They kept all the candidates in one room for hours; they wanted to find out who would be chatty, who would get frustrated, who would complain, who would get up and walk out … they watched every move we made.

I had brought a book with me and I sat and read it.

By the time of the interview they knew what they needed to know; I’d presented as calm, patient, resourceful enough to have brought something to pass the time. I gave a good account of myself and they offered me the job on the spot, a job in England which meant moving away from Glasgow.

There were things I wasn’t prepared to do. Person to person door-stopping was one of them. I was explicitly assured that these would be business to business sales where all the “are you interested?” work was done in advance. Training would be tough, but the money on offer was nice and I liked everything about it. Before long, I was on the train to Southport.

And when I got there I found out that they’d misled us over the job description. Because of course there would be cold calling involved. When I told them I wasn’t sure about that they basically presented me with a cold ultimatum.

Then I took a shot in the dark; I told them I had travelled down without the money to get back to Glasgow again.

I wanted to see what they’d say, because that would definitively tell me exactly the kind of people I was dealing with, which I was half sure about already.

And so when they told me I pretty much had no choice but to get with the program until my first pay cheque I knew I was out of there. Thankfully I’d taken the precaution of buying a return ticket just in case. By the end of the night, I was back in Glasgow.

Even two decades on, the thought of those people still manages to piss me off.

When Derek Adams sat in front of the media recently and openly admitted that he hadn’t done his “due diligence”, stating that he would have had second thoughts about taking on the Ross County job if he had, I think most of us initially thought that this was just a guy working his ticket.

In fact, it was a solid admission that sometimes managers do not know what they are getting into until they are actually doing the job. It was a man speaking from his gut, with honesty and, yes, even integrity. Brendan Rodgers would not be a smart man if he was not, currently, harbouring very similar doubts about having returned to Celtic Park.

From the outside, it must have looked like a lot had changed. Even if you didn’t view the team built by Ange Postecoglou in the way I’ve described it, as one where every piece was chosen specifically to do a certain job, you could not have missed that the success rate with signings was phenomenal. On some level, I think maybe Rodgers just trusted that.

Maybe he even trusted the words of Ange himself when he praised Mark Lawwell. Maybe he really did believe that our chairman was in a hands-off role. It is, after all, a non-executive position. How was he to know what was really going on until he was in the building and doing the job? How was he meant to know that Lawwell junior was not going to operate the way whoever ran Ange’s first and second transfer windows did?

The summer must have been chastening. This window might be even more disturbing for him because I’m sure he did try to impose some kind of order on the place. He got one player, for good money, and maybe he believed that because that deal was progressing well that he was back in with a chance of putting his mark on this side.

How wrong he was. And when he spoke yesterday that sense that this is a guy who feels like he’s wandered into someone else’s movie was stronger than it has ever been. He knows why the people in the stands are frustrated. He knows that the frustration extends into his own dressing room too; it was not that long ago (16 December) that our captain, Callum McGregor, laid out the need for better players in stark and unequivocal terms.

How must he and others view all this? Footballers, like fans, want to know that the club is ambitious and that it is well structured and that all the pieces knit together. They want to know everyone is singing off the same song-sheet, that the various departments are not running counter to one another. What do they think of ten dressing room arrivals but no obvious improvement in the quality of the starting eleven? Nothing good would be my bet.

People wonder if Rodgers has lost the spark. Wouldn’t you, if you walked into something you thought was tailor made for you only to find that it wasn’t? Have you ever changed jobs thinking you were moving to something better, saying farewell to all your friends and colleagues and then turning up at your new workplace to find out that your bosses were dictatorial toerags and your department wasn’t allowed to hire the best people? How long until you got sick of the gap between the job you had been expecting to do and the one they actually wanted you to do?

Would you cope well, in really high profile role, with having to face the media, every one of whom knows you’ve been made a mug of?

How long would it take before you dreaded showing up every morning?

I wake up every morning and I sit at my keyboard and think “How do I best serve Celtic today?”

I won’t lie or do spin on the club’s behalf; I don’t think that serves the club well.

The manager gets up every morning thinking the same thing. Most of the players do as well. The problem with those above them is that they think they are Celtic … and so they have locked themselves into a belief system that says whatever they do is automatically right.

The manager has to work alongside that mindset. If their views run counter to his he’ll be pretty much ignored. If we wonder what he’s doing at the club, is it really hard to believe that he was sold on one version of what the job would be and has found that inside the walls it is very different? I find that quite easy to believe.

But what can he do about it? He’s given one enormous hostage to fortune; he sat at his first press conference in front of the fans and committed to three years here. He said the words. They were not ambiguous in any way, shape or form, and I suspect he feels rather trapped by them. So, those above him know he can’t walk, at least not yet, not this season, and not without alienating the fanbase in a way that might never be recoverable.

They have him by the short ones. They know it. They know they can make him dance to whatever tune they play. He’s the perfect human shield on top of that, he’ll be the one whose head swings if this all goes wrong, and we all know that’s true.

So, what can he do about it? They can call his bluff if he makes the threat or worse; they can hold him to it and tell the world that he’s chucked it, that he’s broken his word. I think that there might be some of them who wouldn’t cry if that was the outcome.

Is there anything he can do?

That answer is obvious; he can talk direct to Desmond.

He can tell him that this situation is serious, that the fans are on the brink.

Because we are.

He can tell Desmond that regardless of their bluff that he is on the brink.

I suspect he is.

Desmond has never been put to the choice between the right manager and Lawwell, and maybe that’s what needs to happen here.

Maybe there is no mystery about what Rodgers came back for.

Maybe it’s just as simple as this; he was promised one thing and given another. It happens, and I should know. He can either sit and take it, swallow it back and accept it or he can fight.

If not, he’ll be the one they hang out to dry.

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  • Jack o Brien says:

    Fed up listening to so called Celtic supporters moaning about everything.Get real no point signing people for signings sake. We’re top of the league and bottom heavy with players. I’m 65 and fed up listening to negative Celtic supporters.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Yip – But a helluva lot of these ‘projects’ are contributing the square root of fcuk all to The Celtic Cause !

  • Bob (original) says:

    DD could also go for the ‘nuclear option’?

    Win or lose the league:

    PL, CN, ML and BR get punted at season end!

    A clean slate.

    Incredibly unlikely to happen of course, but who wouldn’t want a

    major shake-up? Where could it take us?

    A new, ambitious leadership to complement a new, ambitious / hungry manager…?

  • Chris says:

    All of their incompetence and egos will result in us losing the league
    One signing,a midfielder wheres the LB,CF.The huns must be laughing their cocks off at the shambles these maggots have inflicted on us.
    They are only interested in lining their pockets.BOYCOTT,EFF THE BOARD.

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