Brendan Rodgers has admitted that ‘the timing wasn’t ideal for some people’ when he quit Celtic for Leicester City in February.
The obsessed Leicester City boss was speaking to the Daily Record in one of his regular Celtic pieces, it seems that he hasn’t been able to move on with the hoops enjoying greater success in Europe with Neil Lennon’s credibility on that stage eclipsing his predecessor.
Timing is everything in the case of Rodgers, the day after he was appointed Leicester boss, the day before Celtic faced Hearts at Tynecastle The Times reported:
Leicester’s Thai owners did not balk at a £6 million compensation package for Celtic and had been willing to wait until the summer for the Northern Irish manager. However, Rodgers, 46, was willing to move back to England immediately and take over at a club that are 11th in the table after a poor run under Claude Puel.
The timeline was as follows:
Sunday 24th: Rodgers takes charge of Celtic against Motherwell, late in the morning Leicester sack Claude Puel. He is pictured at Lennoxtown in the evening apparently dropping in on an u-14 training session (probably clearing his desk out).
Monday 25th: He takes Celtic training as normal, a big week ahead with Hearts on Wednesday and Hibs in the Scottish Cup on Saturday. Scott Bain is put up for media duties to preview the Hearts match.
Tuesday 26th: Word emerges early in the morning that Rodgers is in Leicester about to become manager- with his coaching team of Chris Davies, Kolo Toure and Glen Driscoll having failed to take John Kennedy and Steve Woods. Kennedy takes Celtic training to prepare for the Hearts match. Rodgers and three coaches disappeared overnight never to be seen again, posing all smiles later in the day as Leicester’s new look team. A statement in the evening confirms that Rodgers has left with Neil Lennon coming in as caretaker.
Rodgers likes nothing better than to portray himself as the centre of attention. The timing of his departure was an issue for Celtic fans but the manner is at the heart of the hostility that he will always face.
Well within 24 hours he had taken Celtic training then turned up at Leicester with a ready-made coaching team. If it hadn’t been for the loyalty of Kennedy and Woods he would have stripped the club bare on the eve of a match at Hearts and four days before a Scottish Cup tie at Hibs.
Did Rodgers take the Celtic players training on the Monday knowing that he was going to join Leicester the following day or did the approach come after training with an instant decision taken to go with three of his backroom team?
Rewriting his departure Rodgers told the Daily Record:
I felt I had taken it as far as I could in that time. I then had a decision to make about going into a new project at Leicester where there is an ambition there and there are challenges that I would be excited by. We were 27 games into a league campaign. We were clear at the top of the league, we had already won a cup and I felt I was leaving the club in a good state.
OK, the timing wasn’t ideal for many people but I felt the club was in a really good place, the players’ mentality, everything around the club was healthy. But, because of how quickly it happened, it was probably difficult for some people to accept. But we’ve both moved on since then. Celtic moved on and won the treble which was brilliant. Three trebles consecutively which is incredible.
Tellingly in the interview Rodgers doesn’t explain when he was first approached by Leicester and why he never had the courage to tell the Celtic players face to face that he was leaving ‘after three incredible years’.
Should Rodgers shut up about Celtic and move on?
Yes, sick of him, can't be trusted
No, good to see that he still cares
No pictures emerged at the weekend of Rodgers with Kieran Tierney who was an unused substitute at the Leicester v Arsenal match.