BY DANIEL HAYES
Brendan Rodgers. The very mention of the name inevitably sparks heated debate amongst Celtic fans. A man who took Celtic to places we thought we would never see, before breaking our hearts with an obscenely timed exit.
It’s been a full year since the Irishman shocked Celtic fans everywhere by sneaking out the back door and heading down to Leicester in the middle of a title race. From a personal point of view, I genuinely felt that this could not be happening until I saw Rodgers hold the Leicester City top aloft.
Hours before his departure, Brendan Rodgers was an unquestionable hero for all Celtic fans. He made a unique type of history with the club that may never be repeated in winning every single domestic trophy each time of asking. Rodgers’ only real failure came in Europe (and possibly his pronunciation of “Broony”) but even that is something that was never really discussed amongst Celtic fans until his cowardly exit.
On his recent birthday, the official Celtic Twitter account tweeted a Happy Birthday message to the former Liverpool manager. It was of course met with outrage by many bemused supporters, who will never forgive Rodgers for abandoning the club in the middle of a huge season. However, it was also met by fans who have moved on from the Rodgers Revolution and are willing to accept the great job he did while in the Celtic dugout.
Now, for me, it really is a tough one. I spent May 2016 until February 2019 thinking that Brendan Rodgers was a gift from God. He could do no wrong. A perfect manager in every way and a guy who just got the club and what it meant to love Celtic. Therefore, when that proved to be a load of rubbish and Rodgers left for the first available job down south it really did hurt.
However, I would have to say that I have moved on and that I do forgive Rodgers. I’m not sure when I decided that. The Scottish Cup final? The 2-0 win at Ibrox? Topping our Europa League group for the first time ever? The point is, while Neil Lennon might not have been everyone’s cup of tea when the announcement was made, Celtic have been exceptional a lot of this season. Two thirds into the season, we were sitting on just two defeats and one draw in the league, first spot in our Europa League group and the League Cup already home in the trophy cabinet as well as a twelve point gap at the top of the table. Furthermore, we have done so with a fast paced, entertaining style of footballer that I’m sure Rodgers would applaud. However, tainted his legacy may be, Rodgers style has remained (and possibly been improved on) and therefore I can no longer be bothered staying angry at him.
Brendan Rodgers did a terrific job at Celtic and for that I am grateful. The timing of his departure was despicable and regrettably, it will always be what I think about when I hear his name.
Like I said though, I do forgive him…but that does not mean I have to like him.
If Celtic win 10 in a row, would you invite Rodgers back for the celebrations?