A recent episode from Go Radio vividly illustrates the bizarre spectacle that unfolds when passion, nostalgia, and, frankly, a bit of delusion, collide live on air.

A caller, presumably fueled by a mix of hope and desperation, floated the idea of Martin O’Neill, the revered former Celtic manager (2000-2005), returning to the helm as an interim solution should Celtic and Brendan Rodgers go their separate ways.

O’Neill, whose tenure is fondly remembered for a heroic run to the UEFA Cup final, has since navigated managerial waters far and wide, from Aston Villa and Sunderland to the Republic of Ireland. The suggestion itself, while a heartening nod to past glories, borders on the fantastical in today’s context.

Martin O'Neill
Soccer Football – Championship – Nottingham Forest v Bolton Wanderers – The City Ground, Nottingham, Britain – May 5, 2019 Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill before the match Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Rangers legend Craig Moore, caught in the moment, initially heralded the suggestion as “what a shout that is,” only to promptly tether his enthusiasm back to reality. Moore highlighted the financial impracticality of such a move by paying Brendan Rodgers off, especially given Celtic’s apparent reluctance to splurge in the transfer market.

Adding a layer of credibility to the discussion, Celtic icon John Hartson, who played under O’Neill, expressed scepticism about the feasibility of such a reunion. “I can’t see it happening. “But Michael has thrown the cat among the pigeons there. Celtic fans, get in touch, would you like to see Martin O’Neill back?”  Hartson’s insight gently ushered the conversation from the realms of fantasy back to the harsh light of day, questioning not just the likelihood of O’Neill’s return but the very premise that Brendan Rodgers should be shown the door due to a season’s shortcomings.

Celtic John Hartson Michael Stewart
26th February 2023; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland: Scottish Viaplay Cup Football Final, Rangers versus Celtic; John Hartson and Michael Stewart

The call to axe Rodgers and beckon O’Neill back to the fold is emblematic of the knee-jerk reactions that often pervade football discourse. It overlooks the complex web of decisions, strategies, and, indeed, failures that contribute to a club’s fortunes. Blaming the manager alone for a poor season, without scrutinising the roles of those orchestrating the club’s recruitment and overarching policies, is simplistic and unjust.

it highlights the absurdity that football phone-ins can spiral into. The platform, while a valuable outlet for fan expression, frequently veers into the territory of baseless speculation and wishful thinking. The call for O’Neill’s return, with all due respect to the legendary manager, is a case in point.

As entertaining as these spectacles can be, they also reflect a broader longing among fans for instant solutions and fairy-tale comebacks. The reality, however, is invariably more complex. Football, for all its magic, is grounded in the hard truths of strategy, finance, and long-term planning.


  1. I believe we don’t need Rodgers at all.
    The players themselves can do better without him in the short term.
    Let Hartson come in until end of season with some ideas and renewed enthusiasm, he can pick the players, the players can put forward the style and tactics they would like to play.
    Failing that put Lawell directly in the hot seat, see how he fares with his team choices.
    Rodgers is to slow negative and boring, with minute chances being created.
    I feel the season has been blown with our continued deterioration, so nothing to lose, maybe just maybe without Rodgers it’s salvageable.


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