We don’t often hear from largest shareholder Dermot Desmond, but he issued a statement after yesterday’s appointment of Brendan Rodgers saying, “In appointing Brendan we believe we have again brought that quality to the club. Brendan is a very talented manager, he has huge experience at the highest levels and is a man who knows how to win and do so in style.
There was no shortage of candidates for the role, but the first line of the quote tell the story of why Brendan was appointed. “Experience…. highest levels… knows how to win”. One candidate was not prepared to leave Norway, one could not speak English and several excellent prospects were short of experience at the top level. Brendan ticked all the boxes, the only candidate to do so.
When he arrived in 2016, he rang the changes. No disrespect meant to Ronny Deila or Neil Lennon, whose experience was limited to managing in Norwegian and Scottish football respectively, but Brendan had worked under Mourinho at Chelsea, then as boss at Liverpool, you’re just not going to get the same development opportunities at Stromsgodset. On his return in 2019, Neil Lennon was gracious enough to acknowledge the advancement made since he left five seasons before.
In the years since Brendan was last at Lennoxtown, Celtic have pushed ahead again, most crucially in recruitment. The systems and metrics used to evaluate players now are so far ahead of what Lee Congerton would recognise, it could be considered a whole new discipline. Brendan is clever, he has acknowledged and embraced the progress. He will also work with the prevailing financial and trading development plan – which is more expansive than it gets credit for. Nothing was changed to induce him.
We have a successful tactical strategy which needs to be further developed, not abandoned. John Kennedy, Gavin Strachan and Harry Kewell remain. Ange’s backroom team is now Brendan’s. His long-term partner Chris Davies went to Tottenham, but again, Brendan acknowledged and embraced the progress made in the coaching staff since his departure. As a result, I expect our style next season to be closer to that of Ange than it was previously under Brendan.
We are six weeks from the start of the season, bring it on.