04 March 2019

Rodgers Exit Highlights Scottish Media Hypocrisy

It took just a few hours for Brendan Rodgers to go from hero to zero in the eyes of Celtic supporters, when he legged it out of Parkhead at the first opportunity to head for Leicester and the bright lights of the EPL. But it wasn't just Celtic supporters who turned on Rodgers.

Rodgers has always been something of a joke figure – a good manager no doubt but with a tendency to blow his own trumpet that has seen him regularly compared with Ricky Gervais' character, David Brent from The Office. Such was the focus on Rodgers' bizarre pronouncements when he worked in England, that a Twitter account called @DeludedBrendan amassed over 350k followers. Rodgers was regularly lampooned in his time down south but it was something that was never replicated in Scotland, where a fawning press pack hung on his every word.

So it was all the more extraordinary to see the speed with which the stories started to emerge following Rodgers' departure. As Celtic supporters scribbled banners and sung songs about him taking a bullet from the IRA, the press pack was busy too – suddenly becoming aware of, and highlighting, Rodgers' flaws. The protection afforded to anyone connected with Celtic had been lifted – the press and pundits started to savage Rodgers. Rodgers' transfer failures at Celtic Park, of which there have been many, were suddenly not a verboten topic.

Information emerged of how he made up an entire story about an interaction with Danny McGrain, which McGrain now says never happened. Rodgers told the story at an event, with hundreds in attendance, of how McGrain asked him if he still had a job when Rodgers first arrived at Celtic Park. Rodgers cemented his Celtic credentials at the time, by gushing about how McGrain had been "the reason I'm here." Apparently, the whole thing was made up.

When Rodgers revealed in his first Leicester press conference that he fancied a return to Celtic in the twilight of his career, he was roundly ridiculed by the same columnists and reporters who so idolised him during this time in Scotland. 'Brenton' was back following a 3 year absence as a protected species.

Of course many of those commenting on Rodgers in the media are also fans of the club he spurned so it is perhaps understandable they would take it as badly as those in the stands. Perhaps Rodgers should be thankful they didn't threaten him with the wrath of a terrorist group as well.

Neil Lennon can of course now expect the same protection. There will be no examination of the snarling bigot who spat on a Rangers scarf, called Rangers supporters orange ba*****s and who has a catalogue of domestic abuse behind him. His many faults will be ignored, his limited abilities accentuated. "Lenny" can pretty much do what he likes from now on, including goading opposition fans, throwing chairs at players and pontificating on sectarianism despite his attendance at IRA band nights in Northern Ireland with Anthony Stokes.

Rodgers himself will have to put up with a little more scrutiny. The English press pack are not quite so amenable to one club, especially one as low profile as Leicester. His new club won't be able to stop the press examining what he actually says and does. Deluded Brendan will once again be out to play.