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There Is No Crystal Ball
On May 20 2016, the nineteenth full-time manager of Celtic Football Club was announced as former Swansea City and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who hails from the picturesque seaside town of Carnlough on the north County Antrim coast.

On May 20 2016, the nineteenth full-time manager of Celtic Football Club was announced as former Swansea City and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who hails from the picturesque seaside town of Carnlough on the north County Antrim coast. He had became odds-on favourite with the bookmakers in the days leading up to the annoucement as the betting market changed rapidly with the names of Neil Lennon, David Moyles, Roy Keane and Paul Lambert filling the homepage of oddschecker.com in their ‘popular bets’ section. The price on the day before his announcement had drifted from 1/10 to 1/3 with Skybet but the man that most Celtic fans wanted, but many believed would not come, put pen to paper on a 12-month rolling contract.

The weekend came and went. There was a small matter of a Scottish Cup final which passed with little drama or incident and on the Monday Rodgers flew in from Spain, arriving in the afternoon to do an exclusive interview for Celtic TV later broadcast on YouTube as part of an expertly coreographed show which began with the press conference and later being introduced to the 13,000 fans who had filled the main stand to greet the new manager. There was such a feel-good factor in the wake of his appointment that people queued round the block when season tickets went on general sale; fans buying into the ambition and investment of the board and in return doing their part to support the team because for many, this moment is special. After the frustrations of years of the board showing little to no ambition, buying players on the cheap only to sell on, a brand of football at times only an insomniac would fail to fall asleep watching, there was light at the end of the tunnel.

The importance of the appointment of Brendan Rodgers cannot be overstated. It symbolises so much to the support. Many have argued that he was appointed due to another Glasgow club getting promoted into the top tier of Scottish football for the first time but one can argue that this is again an attempt by the new club and those that pay lip service to it to overestimate their relevance. Many fans of this club spent their four years in the lower leagues obsessed with our attendances on match-days compared to theirs. They had a siege mentality of being 'the people’ and 'nobody likes us we don’t care’ believing their problems were the fault of every other house of Scottish football except theirs, while Celtic fans were concerned with what was happening at our own club and the culture of distinct mediocrity that frustrated those who wished for more from the club.

Some accuse those coming back as glory hunters. Surely if these fans were guilty of said crime then they would have had no problem watching in the years when the league was won at a canter? There were people who voted with their feet and promised to return when the board wised up and went beyond their primary responsibility as a PLC to maximise the returns for the shareholders soley, but showed the same care for the people who invested hundreds of pounds annually in the club. Those fans that are returning are just honouring their promise and it is a delight to see the enthusiasm back.

Celtic need to return to the days when fans wanted to get on a boat at the crack of dawn on a winters morning and travel across from Belfast and Larne to support their team, to have fun and be entertained by the football on show. The European nights, those magical, special evenings full of memories of watching Planet Earth’s finest footballers visit, and on most ocassions leave Celtic Park with a defeat. Those are precious memories and the return of those nights while being competitve, are going to go a long way in determining the legacy of Rodgers.

There is no crystal ball so we cannot predict what will happen in the coming season. Will there be Champions League football? Qualification to the last 16? A domestic treble? An historic ten league titles in a row? All we know is today, when the players that are not involed in Euro 16 come back to training and begin preparation for an important season is that the support feels that the board finally get it. The new man in charge almost won the English Premier League for Liverpool in his previous employment and hiring him was a step in the right direction. It is now down to the surgery he performs on the squad and what they do on the park in the coming months. Ultimately, with Paradise back rocking again, we will have fun discovering what lies in store in the next chapter of Celtic Football Club.

Pints McLaughlin (@PintsMcLaughlin). Randalstown hoops

Posted by voc1967 on Monday 20 June 2016 - 13:25:00 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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