Words: Liam Divers
Images: Offside Sports Photography
Cheers Brendan, see yer later Brendan, don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out Brendan. I used to stick up for him you know! Used to get raging when folk would make fun of him on television or podcasts. Would ignore all his daft wee sayings; his cheesy, Hallmark card pish. His smug, side of mouth grin when absolutely lording it over some poor hack from the tabloids was hilarious and made you so glad you had a manager who could see through all their crap.
Now? Now, he’s done the equivalent of not turning up for a Sunday morning game when he knows you have no subs. He’s all warm and toasty in his Leicester bed, drifting off to the sound of the rain battering against the window with his freshly pressed Leicester City club tie hanging from the doorknob. The Celtic support are out in the rain, taking a battering off a team who have five subs and fancy warm-up jackets. Brendan knew they had five subs and fancy jackets and he still didn’t turn up.
So where does this leave Celtic now? Once we’ve dried off and had a nice bowl of soup, these are some of the potential routes forward.
WE WIN THE TREBLE TREBLE AND APPOINT LENNON FULL-TIME
✅ A winning return for Neil Lennon!— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 27, 2019
Passion level: 💯 pic.twitter.com/QV4QIQSdzo
Neil Lennon has been brought back on an interim basis until the end of the season. It’s not a decision that’s largely excited or surprised the Celtic support, but he’s a safe pair of hands and was available. Basically what you want from an interim manager. He knows the club, he knows the league, he has a knowledge and understanding of how we have been playing under Rodgers and all going well won’t try tinker too much. Like OGS at Manchester United this, in theory, should prove a successful combination. Everyone’s a winner.
The issue we may face (much like Man United are facing at present) is that should Lennon come in and successfully guide Celtic to the treble treble there may be a clamour for him to be given the job full time. And it’s at this point that things become really difficult because now the idea that he’s a “safe pair of hands” or that he “knows the league inside out” are suffixed with “and he won us the treble when Rodgers bailed on us”. The argument for giving him the job full time then carries weight and will awaken a certain faction of the Celtic support who have been desperate to have him back since he left.
However, I can’t help but have my reservations. Lennon being given the job full time can only spell disaster. This is a man who allegedly left his most recent job at Hibs because he pinned a player to the wall because said player took umbrage at being continuously told he’s shite. I can’t help but feel that wouldn’t work well with Timothy Weah. Lennon’s made enemies before, but I reckon the President of Liberia might be a step up from your common or garden bigot who doesn’t like him blessing himself. There’s also the issue of his attitude to modern footballing practices. This weekend previous a Hibernian player noted that it was nice to be seeing video analysis of their opponents before games as they’ve never had that before.
Which leads me to my main concern—Lennon might try to get the band back together. I can see it now up at Lennoxtown. Kris Commons has somehow managed to squeeze himself into some training gear and has resorted to kicking balls into an empty net because he can’t keep up with the warm-up jog. Joe Ledley is happy to be back playing football and keeps trying to tell Odsonne Edouard about the flat he’s renting just off Sauchiehall Street. Georgios Samaras stands under the now derelict video analysis tower chain smoking menthol fags and asking James Forrest if he fancies going out tonight for a bevvy. It’s all a bit “teacher’s off sick, and there’s nobody else available to watch us” and, honestly, it scares the living daylights out me.
WE NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN
Oh, he was smooth wasn’t he? With his blinding white grin, well-fitted suits, and soft little accent. He told us nice stories about supporting Celtic when he was a kid, how his family had all phoned him from back home and were proud as punch, how he was humbled to meet some Celtic greats in and around the club. We lapped it up, we really did. We sang songs about him leading us to ten in a row, about how he heard us calling in the night and came home to lead us. I mean, I skipped out of work early to go see him on a platform in the stadium on a Monday afternoon. My boss was raging.
How does he repay us? By slinking off on a Tuesday morning, right down the M6 with his new blue tie in the glove box. Well guess what Brendan, you’ve ruined all future managers for me. Think I’m going to love some slick, well-spoken advocate of free-flowing football now? No chance. I’ll view them all with an air of suspicion, waiting for the moment they up sticks and leave because Bournemouth have tapped them up. I’ll wait for it and I’ll wait for it, expecting the inevitable statement thanking us for our “tremendous support” and banging on about how “you’ve left a mark on me”. I’ll never truly trust them. So our only option now is never to love again, doomed to view all new managerial appointments with an air of cynicism and resentment. It won’t be their fault though, oh no. No, it’s all your fault Brendan, look what you’ve done to us!
WE DO ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT WE WANT
Let's hear how you're feeling this morning, Celts... 👂😄 pic.twitter.com/mPSWXbi9Hv— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 28, 2019
It’s not all doom and gloom. Sure, this summer will be the biggest rebuilding job we’ve faced as club in years, with a squad that is likely to be dismantled/given back to their parent clubs and we don’t have tons of money. Admittedly, that bit is grim.
But now all focus must now be on securing a manager that can continue the good work we have seen at the club over the last two and a bit years, while also putting their own stamp on it. I mentioned previously about not wanting to fall in love again, but I’m already over that. That is the curse of football fans, doomed to do this forever. I’m ready for it. Ideally, I want a charismatic German geezer who’s going to give mental interviews, look like he might combust on the touchline, and makes me feel all warm inside when he embraces a player. Essentially, I want a Klopp-lite. If only there was someone just like that who recently left a job in England…
To be honest, I just want someone who will continue to have us playing good football and winning trophies. We have enjoyed unbridled success over the last few years, and I’m not quite ready for that to change, not before we do ten in a row anyway. After we secure the ten? Hire whoever you want if I’m honest; give it to Hoopy the Huddle Hound for all I care. Imagine a guy in a big dog costume, hastily made three-piece suit over the top of it standing in the dugout at Ibrox. That sounds brilliant actually. Can we just do that now?
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