Why the farewells of Ange & Jota were sudden but perfect

Sometimes you cannot help but look back. Sometimes the past comes up and annoys you like one of those insufferable fruit files that hang around bins. You try to swat it away, you feel your hand hit it but they then come back mob-handed, like bored teenagers outside the Co-op on a Friday night wanting you to buy them a carry-out. 

Sunday and Monday of this past week have been like this. 

Firstly you have João Pedro Neves Filipe dialling in from his new five-star hotel suite, with the look of a man being held hostage, asking for the ransom to be paid in used untraceable notes to be left in a bin-bag behind Costa Coffee. 

The lack of servants delivering a silver platter containing a roast suckling pig upset those who think that is the way players who take the blood money should behave. That Celtic has taken this blood money and the stadium isn’t now just a pile of smouldering ash being used as a litter tray by hundreds of East End cats has also annoyed those who think the board really care who they do business with.

Think about it. They felt no shame doing business with Rangers for many a year. A brutal, despotic regime is only slightly below them on the list of who we shouldn’t do business with. 

Seriously, I want modern football to crash and burn under its own bloated greedy horribleness. It won’t happen; we are too far gone now and we now just need to let football recalibrate itself and decide what we want to do and watch as it careers headlong into its filthy-rich, decadent destiny where our only entertainment will be the bleating of the EPL spivs. 

But Jota, the lovely Jota? We are the greatest love he ever is going to have. Any supermodel girlfriend that swoons through his plush Arabian Palace will only be second best to us, the Celtic fans. Let that sink in. We never even got to the tickly bit with him. We had so much love to give him but sometimes if you love someone you have to let them go. Fly free our sweet Saudi prince and thanks for the cash.

All farewells should be sudden

Then, on Monday, we had Ange Postecoglou, now wearing the chicken badge of Tottenham Hotspur, facing questions about why he jilted us at the altar after living with us and our dogs for two years. We had planted flowers that he will never see grow, he never got round to power-washing that decking, and now he is gone to the moneyed mistress of London town. 

As he sat there with the look of a PE teacher taking a school trip to Madame Tussauds in Blackpool, fed up of answering questions about when it is lunch-time, he answered the Celtic questions with all the skill and eye-burning-now-always-held-passion of our sweet Saudi Prince, like I knew deep down he would because he has done nothing less since we were introduced to him. 

We are family and a bucket-list club, but he felt Chicken Badge FC presented an opportunity to do what he was best at – rebuilding a team shot of confidence and quality. It was the sound of a deep-voiced man who loved us but needed more than what we could give him.  

There is no difference between the leaving of Ange and the departure of Jota. Both were offered life-changing opportunities and the chance to leave on a high before any arguments started. The chance to leave on as good terms as football will ever offer.



Destiny calling

Jota scored the final goal of Postecoglou’s reign at Hampden. It now seems destined and fitting. He celebrated with the fans in the corner. There was no fakery in his celebration, it was pure joy, spirit and love. The player wandered about, caressing the Scottish Cup, taking selfies as if he was drinking in all that happiness – wanting to get drunk on the moment and for it to never leave him. 

Postecoglou’s name was ringing around Glasgow’s south side at the final whistle. We, the fans, decided to serenade the manager into possibly staying using the only power we have – our voices. Choking with drunken or youthful emotion, sending him an out-of-tune message. Love reigned down on him like confetti that was soon to be fired behind the team photo. Every roar, song and cheer he prompted on his walk round the Hampden pitch is stored in a chamber of his heart forever. 

We gave both men the perfect send-off and we didn’t even know we were doing it at the time. 

All farewells should be like this.


Leave a Reply