If charm brought European success, Brendan Rodgers would have left Celtic Park with the Champions League trophy yesterday. After speaking to the media he sat down with a small number of fans and immediately bound himself to the group by quoting the vernacular of the Celtic Park of his youth.
He spoke about it all. Paul McStay was his favourite all time Celtic player, “when we were in trouble you always looked to Paul to do something”. There was a special place for Anton Rogan, “flying down the wing” but it was Tommy Burns who made the most durable impression on Brendan.
“He went to Mass every morning before training [at Reading]. Family and people were important to him. He told me all about managing Celtic”.
There was a glint in the eye when he recalled stops in Baird’s Bar on trips to Glasgow before heading to Celtic Park, and of recounting his trips for weeks afterwards. The thought crossed my mind that this was a guy who had just picked up keys to kingdom he dreamed of ruling.
There was a short sentence: “I was 39 when I went to Liverpool”. He didn’t need to elaborate. The Liverpool job came when Brendan was still young enough to be play. He’s sure he is a better manager now than then, although he was a pretty impressive manager to be able to land the Liverpool job when he was still a pup.
Several of you have noted that the pickup in season ticket sales will pay the reported multi-million pound salary Brendan will earn. That will pale into insignificance compared to the money his family spent in the Superstore yesterday. They are a very proud family.
He wants his teams to defend aggressively. The responsibility to develop players remains, but he noted that it takes the right experienced players to properly bring on young talent. Oh, and no one needed to tell him the importance of the last week in August.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the newspaper advert fundraiser, the money is now in and fundraising closed. The Guardian and Tribune De Geneve have been paid, and the balance will go to Mary’s Meals.