‘He took it very badly indeed,’ Gamboa on confronting Brendan Rodgers

CRISTIAN GAMBOA has been speaking out his rows with Brendan Rodgers and how the now Leicester City manager and the Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell took the huff after a transfer to the States fell through at the last minute.

Gamboa is another one of those Rodgers signings that resulted in Lawwell becoming increasingly reluctant to allow him anywhere near the club’s cheque book, given a proved track record of mostly underwhelming signings.

Rodgers had enjoyed tremendous domestic success on the park as Celtic manager but his Achilles heel, and it’s probably what cost him his job at Anfield – that and Steven Gerrard’s slip! – was his inability to spot a decent player or maybe more accurately to sign players who were clearly not up to the job.

Liverpool fans did warn us about that but amid the euphoria of his arrival that beautifully sunny day in May 2016 when 13,000 Celtic Supporters turned up at Paradise to welcome him (how many turned up at Leicester Brendan? One man and his dog if you were lucky), but we weren’t willing to listen.

Nor it seems was Peter Lawwell but that would soon change. Rodgers pointed to the upper tier of the Lisbon Lions stand, which had been covered during the previous season with huge banners, and said that it was his job to fill those seats with Celtic Supporters. He did that and it was clearly an indication of the brief that he’d been given.

Rodgers won 7 trophies on the bounce before leaving in the most underhand manner. He had a poor record in European football but it’s probably his transfer dealings that Celtic historians will judge him most harshly on.

Cristian Gamboa is a lovely guy and was always popular with his teammates and the Celtic Supporters. But, it has to be asked, and Gamboa was right to ask himself, what was the point in Rodgers signing him if he wasn’t going to play him?

And he was hardly a one off, think of the wage thief Compper, Jack Hendry and Dorus de Vries, who he even gave a contract extension too. Remarkable really when you think about it. In that Invincible season up at Inverness in the 2-2 draw, we were positioned in the perfect spot to see King’s curler going into the top corner via de Vries’ attempted save. Looking at De Vries he thought he’d saved it and was chuffed with himself, one for the cameras etc, then the smile wiped off his face as he realised he’d just helped it in. An imposter of a keeper, last seen in St Petersburg jumping out of the way of a hard shot.

Gamboa was always decent enough and always gave 100%. But Rodgers didn’t like to be challenge, it seems.

“I spent a year and a half at West Brom trying to get into the first team and then an opportunity arrived for me at Celtic,” the Costa Rican left back explained to the Media, as reported by Daily Record.

Gamboa, who now plays in Germany for Bochum, in total made just 16 appearances in his three years at the club. He continued: “Brendan Rodgers signed me and at first I was playing a lot of games, but then I wasn’t playing as much and my minutes on the park decreased until I was hardly even in the squad.

“So I went to see Brendan Rodgers. I wanted to talk to him and ask him why I wasn’t involved as much, but he took it very badly indeed. He did not like me challenging him at all.

“It got worse because I got an offer from New York City in the MLS and they offered me everything I asked for. I was all set to go with my family, but on the last day, the negotiations collapsed.

“From then on I felt like I was always fighting with the club. The manager and president at Celtic both didn’t like it that I didn’t take up the offer from America.

“My agent was also fighting with the club too and I felt like I was stuck in the middle of it.”

When Ten in a Row arrives Cristian Gamboa should come back and join in the celebrations. He’ll be assured a very warm welcome from the Celtic Support, unlike the manager who signed him.

Myself with Paul, Stripey Cat, Neil and Friends

Incidentally Liam Kelly’s article on his first away day trip European adventure following Celtic was published on The Celtic Star last night was a brilliant read and you can enjoy it HERE.

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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