Back in May 2012 I began this blog as a personal pastime. I had contributed to a few other Celtic websites before and after this, but I decided to go it alone.
Celtic had won the SPL and the landscape of Scottish Football was in the middle of a saga. To escape said saga, I wrote about two football managers ascending in the game south of the border.
Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert had each taken ‘bigger’ jobs within a day of each other. Their stock was on the rise so Liverpool came swooping in to take Rodgers from Swansea and Villa took Lambert from Norwich.
They had both managed to survive their promotion seasons with their Championship clubs finishing. They even finished next to each other on the same points separated purely by goal difference.
Despite having a similar path and success with each of those Championship clubs, it was not so fortunate following their moves. Neither achieved the goal of winning trophies and both were sacked, albeit in different seasons.
One of those men I have retained my admiration for. The other, not so much.
And whad’ya know? That man, Brendan Rodgers, is now in the Celtic hot seat.
Now, play this down all you like. This is by no means a minor appointment – it’s a bit of a coup!
In the days and weeks leading up to this announcement, there have been a several favourites. Getting Rodgers was seen as impossible.
The fact that he has signed on speaks volumes about Celtic’s ambitions. It is also a credit to the new manager and his interest in this club.
Celtic and Rodgers are in a similar place right now. The club require upgrading for Europe, a voice in the dressing room and a plan on match days.
The new head coach needs a club to repair his managerial wounds and a platform to rebuild his reputation. This could be the beginning of something beautiful for both parties.
As I said to a couple of friends, Rodgers should be aiming for somewhere on the scale between Gordon Strachan (WGS) and Martin O’Neill (MON). That means bums on seats, Champions League football and entertaining the fans again.
Now before someone bashes me and points out the differences between the two previous Celtic managers, let me explain something. We had no idea what MON would do but it changed the club forever.
WGS took things one step further in the Champions League. What Rodgers needs to do is pin the tail on the donkey somewhere between those two men and make his own story.
I think he is the man to take Celtic forward right now and I’m confident in his ability. He may well emerge as a man we cannot retain the services of further down the line, but right now Rodgers can do a job at Celtic and that is why Dermot Desmond has made this happen.
Like him or loathe him, we’ve snared a guy who two seasons ago was out of our league. Since being sacked by Liverpool, he has become more attainable.
To ensure his signature though, Celtic have had to invest. That means settling financial terms, projecting expectations and demonstrating what you are offering to make that happen.
In Scotland, money will always be the Achilles heel of the game. There isn’t the customer base, stadia or media that can flog this league to the outside world nor is there a significant TV deal.
So for Celtic to draw in Rodgers is quite something. Whatever terms he is on, Brendan is here and I am hopeful he will bring success to Celtic Park.
The club need someone to man manage, lead, make effective decisions and with any luck get the best out of this group of players we have accrued over a few seasons. It isn’t an easy task, particularly with sort of attention this job comes with and the limited resources to do it with but that is why Celtic have had to aim higher.
Celtic have significantly more funding than the rest of Scottish clubs. It isn’t nearly as much as some of these clubs in Europe though.
Still, Celtic have exited Europe against teams with smaller finances recently so it isn’t just about the money. This is about motivation, tactics, team selection and recruitment.
It is worth mentioning that of all the men mentioned for this role, Rodgers is by far the outstanding candidate. Furthermore, he was the man fans felt least likely to accept an offer given his growth in the game.
There aren’t too many men out there to have managed two of the world’s greatest clubs. Whilst Liverpool wasn’t an overwhelming success, Brendan came very close to winning the Premier League.
Celtic have shown their intent here and the timing is perfect. It isn’t even June and we’ve installed a big name.
Roy Keane was said to have turned the job down two years ago due to lack of transfer funds. If there is more on offer this time it is evident that whilst he may have been more interested this time around, he wasn’t number one choice as he was in 2014.
Does Brendan have the qualities we desire? I think so.
Can he do great things? We’ll find out.
Was there a better, more viable candidate out there? Not in my opinion.
So we are in for an interesting journey. I’ll say it again, I think this could be the best appointment since MON.
Welcome to Paradise, Brendan.