gezzam78 sends his his thoughts in this Guest Posting…
May you live in interesting times!
The next wee while could be very interesting times at Paradise; the continuity that many Celtic fans, myself included, bought into has been lost and while many may claim to have the inside scoop the rest of us will have to just wait and see.
For the record I think Brendan Rodgers is a prick; not because he has no right to find another job but because of the following:
- The timing of the move was ridiculous
- The destination was disgusting
- He didn’t front up and tell his players like a man
Now I think any one of those make him a prick, all three makes him a total prick!
That said I do admire his skills as a coach, and therefore want Celtic to find as good a replacement for him as possible. If the Board think that man is Neil Lennon I for one will have no problem supporting a man I have a lot of love and respect for.
The problem is I’ll be doing it knowing full well that we’ve taken a step back. We’d be taking someone who is the best we can get, not better than what we had.
And I can accept that fact, that’s why I’ll have no issue getting behind a great Celtic man if that’s the decision. During this time of uncertainty though, that is where we the fans get to discuss the matter, and discussion is good as you get different perspectives that might influence your position. Unlike the Solskjaer situation at Man Utd though I don’t think Lenny is quite knocking it out the park in the same way and is therefore not as easy a decision to take.
Lenny has had some vocal supporters, particularly on this site, pointing to his European record and winning percentage as manager. Some arguments are not so watertight though, and show just what statistics are like when they can prove what the exponent wants them to prove. The fact is that Lenny managed domestically in a period where there was no Glasgow rival, and even some of the other teams who had been more than capable of giving us a bloody nose in the past, found themselves courting the Championship.
As for the European record of Lenny, and WGS for that matter? We have participated in the Champions League nine times, and qualified three times with the latter coming under Lenny. Brendan didn’t manage it in his two attempts, so does that make Lenny (or WGS) better than him? The evolution of European football over the last 15-20 years makes comparison difficult, but perhaps we should look at the Groups we managed to qualify from:
2006/07 Man Utd, Benfica, Copenhagen
2007/08 AC Milan, Benfica, Shakhtar
2012/13 Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak
I guess we should cross our fingers we get a group with Benfica next time?!
In all seriousness though you’d bite the hand off anyone offering those three groups, there’s only one team from the big 5 leagues. Compare that to the groups Brendan got:
2016/17 Barcelona, Man City, Borussia
2017/18 PSG, Bayern Munich, Anderlecht
At least two teams from the big 5 leagues each time; that is what they call the luck of the draw!
Now I’m not suggesting that Brendan would have been entitled to throw his toys out the pram and complain that he had no chance; we as Celtic fans have that inner voice that suggests in any one-off game, home or away, there’s always a chance. It’s up to a manager to approach a game in the best way, to motivate and organise his players to achieve the best result they can, and allow the fans to support those players and walk away after thinking “they’ve done the best they can”.
I will not try and defend the performances Brendan oversaw in Europe as we were embarrassed repeatedly; I’d say of those twelve games you’d be happy with Bayern and Man City at home, and Anderlecht away (Man City away was good as well but the game was irrelevant). And if you question why would I be happy losing to Bayern at home, my point of view is that I was proud of the team giving all they could, the manager being offensive in his thinking, and the fans made our venue the best in Europe that it can be that night; despite the defeat I was proud of my club that night and that’s all I ask.
Lenny has been far more pragmatic in Europe, achieving the wonderful 125th anniversary victory of course, and only an injury time winner prevented a resolute defensive performance earning a draw in the Nou Camp that same season, with the Spartak away victory being another highlight. All I’m saying is had Brendan been given a group like that it might have been interesting to see what we could have achieved.
What cannot be taken away from Brendan is his domestic success, achieving 7 out of 7, and he’ll probably get a medal for the league as well I’d imagine as it WILL happen. Despite the fantastic winning percentage Lenny has, his team didn’t always turn up, perhaps taking the wee teams for granted which is one of the major requirements a Celtic manager must not allow; Brendan was fantastic at it obviously and that level or professionalism is what is needed this time around.
So until a decision is made I’ll want the best we can get; once the decision is made I’ll back whoever it is, and any player that person asks to wear the hoops.
I just don’t want it to be Neil Francis Lennon.