CELTIC received a massive BR-Exit bonus of £9 Million from Leicester City this month for allowing Brendan Rodgers and three members of his coaching staff to leave with immediate effect to join the Premiership club.
According to a report in Thursday’s Daily Telegragh, the East Midlands side paid around £3 Million more than the initially quoted sum of £6 Million compensation to the Scottish Champions so that they could take Brendan Rodgers, his assistant Chris Davies, coach Kolo Toure and head of performance Glen Driscoll immediately.
With Leicester City prepared to write a huge £9 Million cheque it’s no wonder Pater Lawwell sanctioned the deal and allowed Rodgers to drive down the M74 under the cover of darkness that very night.
John Kennedy was promoted to Assistant Manager having worked as a coach under both Rodgers and Ronny Deila and Neil Lennon, available for free after his fall-out with Hibs resulted in a mutual consent parting of the ways, was brought back to Celtic as Interim Manager.
The Telegraph notes that the £9 Million compensation paid to Celtic by Leicester dwarfs the £4 Million paid by Everton to Watford for Marco Silva.
Celtic initially recruited Rodgers on a twelve month rolling contract and this had been the standard way in which Lawwell had worked with previous managers since the departure of Gordon Strachan.
But the club, delighted with his achievements in his first season, rewarded Rodgers just after he’d wrapped up the league title in April 2017 with a thumping 5-0 win away to Hearts, rewarded the Irishman with a new long term contract.
It was to run for four years and led to the supporters’ chant:
“This is how it feels to be Celtic
Champions again as you know
Brendan Rodgers is here for ten in a row
Ten in a Row…”
Had Rodgers & Co seen out the current campaign it is believed that the level of compensation due would have been significantly lower and Lawwell was minded to accept given the size of cheque he’d be banking as a result of Leicester City’s desperation to get the successor to Claude Puel, in place immediately.
The anger among the support was pretty much exclusively reserved for Rodgers and with Lennon and Kennedy hitting the ground running with significant wins at Tynecastle in the Scottish Premiership and Easter Road in the Scottish Cup ( a ground where Rodgers never won as Celtic manager), there was no heat on the cash rich Celtic board.
Rodgers is looking to make an immediate impact at Leicester City and after losing at Watford he managed a decent 3-1 win at the weekend against doomed Fulham. This weekend he takes his side to Burnley so it’s not been the hardest opening three fixtures for the Irishman.
“It’s the first steps of a really exciting journey for us. From the first day we’ve set up a clear vision of how we want to work,” Rodgers said (about Leicester, as he’d previously said about Celtic in May 2016).
“The environment is very important. I’ve found a really young group of players, which I was aware of, with some really experienced group around it.
“It’s a really exciting job here because of the improvements that I see we can make to the team. I think they have enjoyed the work so far but we still have a lot of work to do.”
With Lawwell aware that Rodgers would be leaving regardless in the close season, the January transfer outgoings were modest, yet highly effective.
Three loans players Oli Burke, Jerry Toljan and Timo Weah all added to a feel good factor and have been regular performers in a winning Celtic side. The one player who was purchased – Ivory Coast striker Bayo has been finding his feet in the Scottish game in the reserves.
The £2 Million spent on Bayo was modest and should mean that there is plenty in the kitty for the new manager, whether it’s Neil Lennon or an alternative candidate.
If Lennon can deliver the Treble Treble the job is his to lose – but will he be given the transfer budget required to bring in some quality recruits? If not that’s when the heat will be turned on the board who pocketed £9 Million from BR-Exit!