I was away from home when Brendan Rodgers left, so absorbed the news in isolation. I didn’t feel any of the betrayal that others seemed to. Maybe things would have been different if I was in the middle of things. Maybe feelings of betrayal are contagious?
For me, feelings towards Celtic heroes leaving goes back to two players: Kenny Dalglish and Charlie Nicholas. I was 10 when Kenny left and 11 when he came back with Liverpool, and the European Cup, for Jock Stein’s testimonial. He was booed by some in the home support, which I found incredible. He was our everything for so long and still a hero to me.
By the time Nicholas left in ’83 I felt differently. I’d bought a “Charlie Nicholas” scarf and told myself that’s the last time I hold up a player’s name. Even now when I walk past the vendors outside the ground I think back to that scarf. It was sore. Kenny went for the European Cup, Charlie when for the parties and the Tories, and cannot bring himself to speak generously of Celtic. He is forgiven for leaving but his scarcely disguised resentment toward Celtic means I am finished with him.
As for Brendan, would you or I leave Celtic for a three year contract worth over £15m? Of course not. It is fair to say some have rejected fabulous offers to stay at Celtic Park, so maybe we really wouldn’t, but most go, even fans like you and me.
It was clear Brendan was working his ticket since he decided to create disruption in August. He could have waited until the end of the season, but working with a disruptive influence, who refuses to cooperate in planning decisions, but will not admit why, it not an ideal scenario either. I was not unhappy to see a clean break.
But for me, he is in the same column as Kenny Dalglish, not that nyaff Nicholas. He won us an incredible invincible treble, then another treble and another League Cup. Europe aside, he was magnificent. There are no comparable candidates because few have his sheer presence.
He is part of our history, and when we hopefully look back on 10-in-a-row, you will want to remember all of it with a smile. It’s Easter, forgive.