On the 26th of February 2019, Brendan Rodgers turned his back on Celtic FC and Scottish football for a new job down south with Leicester City FC on a three year deal. The Foxes are currently sitting 11th in the English Premier League following a series of defeats which lead to Claude Puel’s sacking. Rodgers has been replaced by former Celtic player and manager Neil Lennon as interim manager until the end of the season.
There was no doubt in every Celtic fan’s mind that Rodgers would someday leave Scottish football and return to the EPL. Whenever an English manager was sacked, Rodgers was always the bookies favourite to take over making his highly anticipated return to England. When LCFC sacked boss Puel, once again Rodgers was tipped to take over. Speculation arouse on the following Tuesday that Rodgers had already signed a contract with Leicester. Later that morning Celtic released a statement saying they had given Rodgers permission to speak with Leicester’s bosses, but no formal agreement had been made. As the day progressed, video’s leaked of Rodgers being showed around King Power Stadium confirming every Celtics fan worst nightmare. It was officially announced on twitter that night that Rodgers would be the new Foxes boss and Neil Lennon would replace him as interim manager at Celtic and he would take charge of the next day’s game against Hearts. Rodgers believed he had achieved everything he could have with the Celts, winning three League Cups, two Scottish Premier Leagues and two Scottish Cups. Rodgers was on his way to the double treble before deciding to call it quits.
Rodgers exit mid-season has left the Celtic faithful fuming. The former Hoops boss has received backlash on twitter with fans branding him as ‘rat’ and ‘snake’ for leaving without seeing out the season. In a video released by the Daily Record, one fan got emotional and said Rodgers “had done the dirtiness for a so called ‘Celtic Man’ …Brendan who?”. Rodgers had joined the table of greats after winning the clubs third ever treble, following in the footsteps of Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill and created his own history by winning the double treble in the 2017-2018 season. However, he will not be remembered for his trophies by Celtic fans. He will be remembered as the man who walked out with fifteen games to go, “what legacy? He doesn’t have a legacy” another fan said. Rodgers decision also didn’t sit well with former Celtic player and BT commentator Chris Sutton. Sutton who is very vocal on twitter slammed Rodgers and slammed him for walking out on his “dream job” and for leaving the club in a “tough situation with all the loan signings”.
In the Christmas transfer market Rodgers failed to sign any permanent signings apart from Bayo who since being signed has only played five minutes in the Hoops. He did however bring in PSG’s Timo Weah, Oliver Burke from West Brom and Borussia Dortmund’s Jeremy Toljan all of whom will make their exit in the summer. Last August Rodgers also signed Filip Benković on loan from Leicester and he too will return to his parent club in the summer. Rodgers has left the club without a concrete backline for the 2019-2020 season with Boyata’s contract ending in the summer.
Brendan Rodgers criticised striker Moussa Dembélé over his departure last August. At the time, Dembélé took to twitter and posted cryptic messages about Rodgers and the truth. When the news broke on Tuesday night, Dembélé took to twitter again retweeting the story with #interesting and #IToldYouSo. The current Celtic players silence was deafening as none of them posted heartfelt messages thanking Rodgers or wishing him the best of luck on his new venture.
Rodgers left the club the day before Celtic’s crucial clash with Hearts at Tynecastle leaving Lennon in charge of the dugout. Prior to kick-off the Green Brigade unveiled a banner displaying their feelings towards their former boss ‘You traded immortality with mediocracy. Never a Celt, always a fraud’. Celtic took the lead through James Forrest in the first half. Hearts scored from penalty in the second half making the score 1-1 until the dying moments of the game. Captain Scott Brown passed the ball into Odsonne Edouard who put the ball in the back of the net making it 2-1. From the celebrations, one would never have guessed the manager had just walked out on them. Defender, Kieran Tierney took to Instagram after the game to post a series of pictures including one of him hugging Lennon with the caption ‘Quality’. This poses the question; was Dembélé right all along? Was there bad blood in the Celtic that people were unaware of?
The future is very unclear for Celtic. Will Celtic win the treble treble? Will Celtic win 10 in a row? Will Lennon stay for the 10? If not, who will? Will Rodgers try to buy any of Celtic’s key players like McGregor or Tierney? There is no doubt that Peter Lawell, Celtic’s Chief Executive will have to take out his chequebook in the coming months.