Brendan Rodgers was paraded in front of the media at Celtic Park yesterday. Over ten thousands of the Celtic faithful swooped to Paradise to see the unveiling of the man we all hope will take the club forward.
Like his predecessor, the Celtic way was to be the staging area of the fans welcome. However, Celtic rightly predicted large crowds and opened the south stand to house everyone.
At his press conference and his address to the fans, Brendan said all the right things. You could forgive Celtic for preparing their man for speaking to the media for the first time as Celtic Manager, in fact it is very much part of today’s game in general, but the new manager is already in touch with all things Celtic.
When speaking, his words sounded genuine, honest and true. These days we are too smart to be fooled by guys who supposedly stood on the terracing etc.
The only item on the agenda here is how much success Brendan can bring to Celtic. He has already stated the differences in finance between the Premiership and the Premier League and that it is the club that was the attraction.
As he said himself, he is here to continue Celtic’s “domination of Scottish football” and “make an impact on European football”. There is as much pressure to do that at Celtic as there is to get even a whiff of success in England.
They are two different leagues – “they’ve got their game and we’ve got ours” – Jock Stein once said. The pressure is every bit as great given the high expectations at Celtic and those of certain teams south of the border.
For Brendan, this move means domestic success, European progression and as he stated himself, filling the Lisbon Lion Stand again. I’m confident he has already achieved the latter and a ball hasn’t even been kicked yet.
He took on the questions from the media, finance central to most of their agenda. He acknowledged his comfort with what was on the table and what could be achieved.
To be fair to Celtic, they would not have got their man if they could not agree on a way forward that both parties were comfortable with. Celtic have already invested by bringing in Brendan and the next step will to take this current squad to the next level.
Some players will leave, there is no doubt about that. I wouldn’t expect too many to come in though.
To shape the team their must be key targets. Three at most but I would expect these to be impact players rather than squad fillers.
Martin O’Neill inherited a pretty good squad and it is no different for Brendan Rodgers. The new manager doesn’t have Henrik Larsson of course, but there is the nucleus of a very good team and a batch of youth to go with it.
O’Neill brought in Chris Sutton, Alan Thomson, Joos Valgaeren, Didier Agathe and later on Neil Lennon. These were all impact players for Celtic who added to a team that already had Paul Lambert, Johan Mjallby, Stylian Petrov, Eyal Berkovic, Alan Stubbs, Tom Boyd, Jackie McNamara, Lubomir Moravcik and of course, Henrik.
For Brendan he has a slightly different task in that his squad is too big. Downsizing will not be a problem though, it will serve us better.
These are interesting times for Celtic and this is an exciting time to be a supporter. I have high hopes for Brendan and what he can achieve.