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Rat, fraud, bitterness off the scale- Daily Mail reporter just can’t cope with the return of Rodgers

Gary Keown is really struggling to come to terms with Brendan Rodgers returning to Celtic as manager.

As soon as the Irishman returned to Celtic the Daily Mail columnist rushed into print that Rodgers had failed first time around.

In response most Celtic fans were happy for a further bout of failure if it meant that the hoops were about to win the next seven domestic trophies.

True there were disappointments in Europe first time around but in among some sore ones Celtic drew home and away against Manchester City, won away at Anderlecht and got a draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.

The final 12 months of Rodgers first spell at Celtic will forever remain a strange time in the history of the club.

Suddenly the CEO stopped backing the judgement of the manager, most famously with John McGinn. Only a fool would think that Rodgers was the driving force behind signing Youssouf Mulumba, Emilio Izaguirre, Vakoun Bayo and Marian Shved. Loan signings of Filip Benkovic, Oli Burke, Timo Shved and Jeremy Toljan were the epitome of short termism.

Rodgers left, almost overnight ahead of matches against Hearts and Hibs, there was plenty of bad feeling in February 2019 but the reality of June 2023 meant that the former Leicester boss was by some distance the best candidate to replace Ange Postecoglou.

Keown seems forever locked in 2019, today in the Daily Mail he wants to keep on raking over old coals:

For example, the refusal of the punters in the ‘North Curve’ — you know, the Green Brigade and all those guys — to turn up for James Forrest’s testimonial in midweek had tongues wagging. Was it a protest against Rodgers’ appointment? Was it an indicator of future friction?

Word came out that the bedsheet-spraying revolutionaries simply don’t do testimonials. It was nothing to do with the return of a man widely labelled as ‘a rat’ (copyright, pretty much everyone who supported Celtic four years ago) when he went elsewhere.

Similarly, yesterday’s win over Ross County seemed to pass without incident. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that, when Rodgers completed his return in mid-June, that North Curve collective retweeted a photo of a past banner branding the manager ‘Never A Celt. Always A Fraud’.

There is much to  criticise about the modus operandi of the ultras at  Parkhead, but, for all the abuse they duly received, their reaction was in notable contrast to the falsity and self-deception currently being witnessed from the Celtic  support as a whole.

When Rodgers left, the bitterness towards him was off-the-scale. And from nice people. People you would happily take to tea. People you would employ on babysitting duties. People you would offer a mint imperial to on the bus.

It seems fair to guess, without having a YouGov poll conducted, that this was the feeling of the overwhelming majority.  Seeing them cheer the returning Rodgers to the rafters ahead of the Athletic Bilbao game during the week, then, was peculiar, like some mass suspension of reality.

It feels different this time between them and their manager. No unconditional love. More like an uneasy truce. And it feels like some of the old emotions surrounding his departure might easily have bubbled back to the surface if things didn’t start as planned.

Three factors are key to the way that Celtic fans have welcomed Rodgers back to the club.

The overbearing influence of Peter Lawwell on every aspect of the club came to the fore in season 2020/21 when his luck ran out. The dwindling core of players developed by Rodgers were overwhelmed by the expensive dross signed by Lawwell and Lennon, today the club are still trying to find ways of shifting Ismaila Soro and Albian Ajeti.

Postecoglou attracted incredible personal support, the fans had someone to identify with. It seemed to be reciprocated but three days after delivering Celtic’s eighth treble the Australian was in charge of Spurs. There were parallels to Rodgers and Leicester except that Postecoglou handled it all far better.

Finally, faced with Enzo Maresca, Kjetil Knetsen or Rodgers it was virtually a no contest. Go with a left field hipster or someone with a 100% record of delivering trophies in Scottish football?

The fact that Rodgers was prepared to talk about returning to Celtic was something of a surprise, there was indeed bad blood from February 2019.

Both sides have had time to review what happened, more than 90% of supporters are happy to have a proven winner in charge with the man himself clearly pleased to be in charge of Celtic, with or without a transfer war-chest.

It seems that everyone else has accepted 2023 reality, except the Daily Mail reporter that believes seven out of seven trophies is a failure. In more than a decade of trying a celebrated Tribute Act has achieved just two trophies- one less than St Johnstone.

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1 Comment

  • by Captain Swing
    Posted August 6, 2023 10:42 pm 0Likes

    Ask the fvckw1t how he felt about the recent proposed return of Sourness, who did a comparable midnight flit to Liverpool in 1991. Bet he was greetin’ intae his pillow back then but would have been bouncing about like a an excited schoolkid had he returned to the fold this summer after Sky booted him into touch.

    Just another terrified Orc who knows what’s coming. Trying his desperate best to stir up discontent where there isn’t any.

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