‘A Sort of Homecoming’ – A Resurrection apology and a warm welcome back, Brendan

The soap opera to beat them all is all but done and dusted. Now, we simply await the quill to parchment moment, putting the seal on the most unlikely comeback since Lazarus.

However, the resurrection of Jesus’ great and beloved friend may well be viewed with the same incredulity as the ‘new’ Celtic manager who is receiving mixed reviews from a sceptical faithful.

The Jerusalem miracle left no one in doubt about the how, why and wherefore of a happening which occurred before their very eyes. The elated audience were on their knees giving thanks for the second coming of their loved one before killing the fatted calf and cracking open the ancient equivalent of a bottle of Boli.

The Carnlough resurrection is very different; we’re now observing the return to a family who were, not grieving over an unavoidable death, but callously jilted as love of our lives, Brendan Rodgers upped and scampered off to Leicester in the middle of the night. It was widely perceived as flitting from a bustling joyous mansion to a boring soul-less bed-sit in purely footballing terms, crowd, stadium and Trophyroom.

The records show that Brendan subsequently self-vindicated by pointing to the fact he had taken Celtic to the brink of an uncatchable Title, delivered the League Cup and had the Bhoys in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals-and on the cusp of another Treble.

“I am coming home….”
And you know it’s time to goThrough the sleet and driving snowAcross the fields of mourning to a light that’s in the distance.
And you hunger for the timeTime to heal, ‘desire’ timeAnd your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape.
On borderland we run.I’ll be there, I’ll be there tonightA high-road, a high-road out from here…

This, he proffered, was just cause to bolt before dawn, cramming his backroom staff into the trunk of his getaway Limo, Goodfellas-style. Rodgers left a stupefied Celtic support in shock, but not awe begging the question, ‘What have we done to deserve such an ungraceful and unprofessional desertion from someone we put on a pedestal, and from one whom we offered cult status?’

Unlike Lazza circa 30 A.D., he did it behind our backs. There is no escaping this, (no pun intended), it was a blow of cataclysmic proportions and the hatred and vitriol, which came Rodgers’ way in print and song became folklore, but in a similar vein as the horror perpetrated by, ‘he who shall not be named’ when he pulled on a Celtic shirt in the Cup Final before releasing his Kracken at Ibrox.

Yes, it was that bad, and the Celtic support were making effigies and such like things to vent their public displeasure, for both miscreants. Bad Bhoy Brendan would never be welcomed back at Parkhead, they said, yet here we are on the verge of that very scenario, back to a divided and confused support.

“He’ll walk before Christmas, never mind sacked!”

And “Why should we trust him again – a snake is a snake for life!”

Conversely, “Well, we can forgive if not forget.”

Or “If he wins us Trebles, we should allow him back.”

Both sets are right, just ask them! So, for what it’s worth, here’s my opinion. The global footballing fraternity has changed beyond recognition in the last decade or so. Obscene amounts of cash is readily available to clubs with a penchant for Arab Sheiks and American sports oligarchs.

This in turn propagated vast amounts of greed, and high-hopes for players and managers who, previously, would have had to work their ticket before being propelled into the golden handshake brigade. Now, it’s on a whim of impatient Chairmen or CEOs.

Nothing is real anymore. It’s all smoke and mirrors with greenbacks swapping from greased palm to greased palm under the counter, or openly by the seemingly untouchables. There is little, or no faithfulness in the sport and allegiances are now purchased by numbers, not heart. Just ask the most recently departed Celtic manager.

Brendan Rodgers is no different. I personally have no doubt he has an affection for Celtic. Most families with his background do, especially coming from a region in the north of Ireland which is 83.86% Catholic. I have a knot in my stomach having to write this stat in a footballing column, but life is such in the north-and perhaps closer to home.

However, money talks, as so does ambition, highlighted by the lure of Leicester which was too much for the Irishman. Of course he had a desire to manage a top flight club in England again, and he had the minerals to be successful as his stint at Liverpool proved being only a slip from his captain away from a remarkable Championship Title and a superb F.A.Cup achievement with the Foxes. But the way he left was unforgiveable. Or was it?

We absolutely must put aside politics and long-ago heartbreak and we need to move on. Rodgers’ record with Celtic was second to none, Europe aside. The fact his charges hammered the Ibrox side time and again is being questioned due to the fact that the new Govan club was in its infancy.

The McCoist/Caixinha/Breadman/Murty-led outfits were populated with substandard players. Not a ‘Slim Jim’, a Gazza nor a Laudrup in sight. But…Brendan’s record before joining Celtic for the first time was superb. That’s why we bought him; that’s why thousands turned up at his grand opening.

We’re buying his services again, and by the looks of things he is signing a ‘Long term’ contract (5 years I understand), which will be, this time, watertight. He has been promised a King’s ransom to fill in the gaps and prepare for a tilt in Europe-hopefully several. I’m happy with that. I’m willing to forgive AND forget for the sake of the long-term future of the Club, and the well being of our vast support.

We cannot live in an environment in which we chrome the putrid, poisonous fumes of unrelenting resentment. It’s over. We have acquired new-ish manager with a new vision. We have a better control of our internal situation and the have the prospect of enjoying a few seasons of a unique version of ‘Brendanball.’

But first…I feel it would be appropriate, prudent even for him to say a few words in the direction of the Celtic support, something in the ballpark of, “I’m sorry about the way it happened! I maybe misread the room”. He does not have to grovel; he does not have to roleplay a sackcloth and ashes scenario. He simply needs to say the magic words, utterances which would go a long, long way to restoring his fragile relationship with his paying customers.

Demonstrating an understanding of the hurt he caused would satiate vast numbers of his doubters and begin the healing process. Brendan needs to unite the fans and hit the ground running, not away from, but towards them with open arms promoting forgiveness.

Should he do so, he would become a giant once more in the eyes of many. It would be a class act and would demonstrate the humility Celtic fans love to see in their own. Will he do so? I hope so for the sake of unity, and for the sake of Celtic. Personally, I offer my best wishes, and I desire success for our new manager the second time around. Welcome home Brendan!

Eddie Murray

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About Author

Eddie Murray – I Grew up with the Lions, coming from a Celtic-daft family. Played against Jinky once! Paradise was my second home and Dalglish was my hero. A long term Brisbane Bhoy for many years and have been blogging here for many years. Written a book on Ange/ Brisbane Roar/ Celtic which awaits publication. Writing on other genres as I speak. Top moments? Interviewing Cesar, Wispy, Cairney, The Maestro, Alan Thompson.


  1. Eddie,

    Thanks for that, great points.
    I always feel sorry for the fatted calf.
    The good life then the wayward son returns.
    Also, Lazarus’ wife, she was counting on that insurance !

  2. I will always put the majority of the blame for his departure on Lawwell … his ego was ( still is ? ) the greatest barrier to ultimate Celtic success . The man who lost the “ Ten “

    Sure , we have been utterly dominant domestically… but how difficult was that when your closest challenger dies .

    Out focus from then should have been on European progression year on year after the death of the Ibrox occupants , re investing the earnings in quality , not being happy with a few million from domestic successes , just to stay ahead of existing rivals at home .

    If you gradually build a team to compete , say 3rd in a CL group , then quarter finals , semi finals of Europa’s , that squad would still have won the SPL year on year … and we would have found ourselves far stronger today than we are .

    What I did read between the lines in your article , was the possibility of Desmond building this type of squad now … but the cynic in me says it’s only to be able to sell it on in 4/ 5 years time to a wealthy Arab nation when the European CL or World Club CL may become a thing .

    Lawwell knows more than we do what the future looks like ; how things are unfolding at the very top … so I’m sure a few more million in his account when the price of a Celtic PLC is 4/ 5 times it is today , will soften the blow .

    Who will be the snake in 2027 ?

  3. The man made a mistake, it’s not as if he done a Maurice Johnston…..

    For me, what’s best for the club will ALWAYS come first and any personal feelings become irrelevant…..


  4. Excellent piece, we were all angry and disappointed at the way he left “like a thief in the night”. There will always be that thought in the backs of our minds, about how he scarpered the last time. However he is, and always has been, a Celtic supporter. Will he dare to pull the same stunt twice? Who knows. The club is bigger than one man, be that Rodgers or Lawell. I will support him while he is here. COYBIG

  5. Just heard rodgers is back, dont know what to make of it. But i will never believe a word he says.