Brendan Rodgers. Which true Celt doesn’t love the guy?
He swooned in to Celtic and swept us all off of our feet, with his cunning, attractive football, poised and considered PR and passion for the Bhoys.
It would be fair to say that, having gone a full domestic season unbeaten and being on the verge of a historic ‘double-treble’, as well as back to back qualifications for the Champions League proper, he has elevated the club to a level that, we as supporters, can be proud of.
But of course this all comes at a price: interest in our manager.
Now it seems, almost since Rodgers walked in the door, that he was leaving Celtic for pastures new. A lot of that, from my perspective, seems to be from surly Scottish Football figures who can’t stomach seeing Celtic doing so well. So much of the speculation seems to be more wishful thinking than genuine intuition. However, it is also fair to say that you have people like me: I fully recognise that Brendan Rodgers will not be at Celtic forever and his considerable talents will, eventually, see him move to another elite club.
But it won’t be this summer, and here’s why…
With Arsene Wenger’s announcement that he is to leave Arsenal this summer after 22 years at the helm, speculation is rife as to who will take over at the Emirates, and Rodgers name seems to be in the mix.
Brendan Rodgers has already been in charge of one of England’s top club’s in Liverpool, so he apprehends the task of managing a top English team. You may argue this adds more merit to the speculation that he will go, but from another angle, he’s already had a taste of it, so the curiosity may not be as ferocious had he never been at Liverpool and was making his mark at Celtic before having tested himself in England. Something the man himself has alluded to in previous interviews. He has been there and done that. Now that doesn’t mean he won’t do it again, but with the ever revolving door of managers in England, why would he be in a mad dash for the exit door?
He has consistently described Celtic as his ‘dream job’ but has also left the caveat that he will sail off into the sunset of Celtic fans minds, one day. But as a Celtic man, from a Celtic family who is at the helm of the club he loves, why wouldn’t he want to leave as a legend… A 10 in a row legend.
In terms of finances, I think it’s fair to say that Brendan Rodgers is on an excellent deal at Celtic, but of course managing one of the top clubs in England can be more fruitful (Pep Guardiola is on a supposed £20 million a year at Manchester City). Firstly, if Rodgers key driver was and is money, I’m sure he would have had other offers when he was approached by Celtic where more money was on offer, but he followed his heart as opposed to his wallet. Would it make sense to deviate from that philosophy after just two seasons at the helm? As well as that, Rodgers is independently wealthy away from football, with an extensive property portfolio seemingly bearing higher returns than his football income.
If we are being honest, too, Brendan Rodgers has an ego (I mean that in the best possible way). He loves being at a club where he is loved in return. At Celtic, Brendan Rodgers has the opportunity to go down in folklore. As well as a potential double treble, he could well be the man to do ten in a row. That would absolutely appeal to his loyalty as a Celtic man and his sensibilities of basking in the adulation of an adoring support.
An even simpler point is that at Parkhead, he is the football manager. That may seem like an arbitrary point, but it seems to be a system which is dying a death in modern football. We are seeing more ‘head coaches’ who seem to be an ever expendable cog in an ever expanding machine. With us, the board take care of the commercial ventures in which the club is engaged, whilst Rodgers has autonomy on footballing matters. That is a situation any manager worth their salt would aspire for and the boss knows that such agency may be more difficult to come across away from Celtic Park. Why would you give up your position as the controller of the machine to take up the role as a cog in another (albeit bigger) machine? It seems that Rodgers didn’t have the autarchy at Liverpool that he does at Celtic, and very much had to work with the tools that he was given by the purportedly imperious ‘Transfer Committee’. This was a steep learning curve for the gaffer and his learnings from that appear to be that this model is not sustainable and that greater control is required. Having acquired that control at Celtic, he will pick his next move carefully; what is the point in going to an Arsenal if you are doomed to fail?
With the Anfield board churlishly discarding him, Rodgers went on holiday to Dubai. Whilst there, he was awoken one night with tight pains in his chest and shortness of breath. At just 43, he thought that he was having a heart attack. As it transpired, it was a panic attack due to the stress from which he had just been released. Managing one of the top clubs in England, with no way to change course of a faltering ship, takes its toll on you both physically and mentally. When Rodgers does dip his toe in to Premier League waters again, which I am sure is going to happen, he will make sure he is at the helm to veer away from disaster should it be required.
Having said all that, he is fluent in both Italian and Spanish, so there is no indication his next job will be in England. The footballing world does not revolve around the EPL.
In managerial terms, Rodgers is fresh faced at just 45 years old. He has many, many years ahead of him as a manager, but we know that not all of those will be at Celtic. Notwithstanding, why does he need to rush? As it goes, he is at a football club with which he has a great affinity and has the potential to go on and become a legend; to be uttered in the same breath as the the likes of Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill. Rodgers fully comprehends the history behind Celtic and, as he is a Celtic man, I am not convinced that he would pass up the opportunity to become a part of that history.
Brendan Rodgers will stay for 10 in a row after which he will perhaps bow out gracefully, firmly cementing himself a Celtic legend in the process. But not before.
I am confident that we all will, but let’s get behind the Bhoys on this quest for history and enjoy the fact that we have one of the best managers in European football guiding our club to greatness. It won’t last forever, but I, for one, don’t see it ending any time soon.