Gary Rowett has told Sky Sports programme The Debate that he understands Brendan Rodgers’ decision to leave Celtic and join Leicester City – but he made an astonishing claim about the fans.
Rodgers has come in for huge stick from Celtic fans since leaving Parkhead. Indeed, supporters are angry that the former Liverpool boss opted to leave – less than a year after stating it was his “dream job”.
The Celtic fanbase even held up a banner during Wednesday night’s 2-1 win over Hearts that read: “You traded immortality for mediocrity. Never a Celt, always a fraud.”
However, former Stoke City and Derby County manager Rowett understands Rodgers’ decision. He also reckons the outrage from Celtic fans is testament to Rodgers’ work at the club.
“His win rate was 80 per cent and he won seven trophies,” Rowett said. “I understand. Celtic fans are devastated with him leaving, but I think that is a veiled compliment to him that he has done so well.
“If they’re not going to spend and help him compete in Europe, I can understand it. They haven’t done as well as he would have liked in Europe, and finances dictate that.”
Rowett’s view is misplaced. Celtic fans are not angry that Rodgers has left – they knew that a manager of his quality, and a disagreement with the board was always going to end in his exit.
But the majority of fans are more aggrieved at both the timing of his exit, and his past comments. In April 2018, Rodgers told TalkSPORT that he was “so happy at Celtic” and that it was his “dream job”.
Leaving halfway through the season with a treble treble on the cards, Rodgers has thrown away his legacy in the eyes of fans. Staying until the end of the season would have left things more amicable.