Celtic family mourn passing of Dr. Jozef Venglos

By Euan Davidson

January 27, 2021

Former Celtic manager Dr. Jozef Venglos has passed away at the age of 84 [Guardian].

The nomadic Slovak manager took charge of the Bhoys for the 98-99 season, following the departure of Wim Jansen. In 1990, he had become the first non-British or Irish coach to manage in the English First Division, with Aston Villa.

Dr. Jo is known by Celtic supporters primarily for two events. Firstly, the signing of Lubo Moravcik, and secondly the famous 5-1 dismantling of Rangers in November 1998 [YouTube]. Although Dr. Jo couldn’t bring trophies to the club during his spell, he is still remembered fondly by the Celtic family.

Celtic statement

A statement from the Celtic website read:

“Everyone at Celtic is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of our former manager, Dr Jozef Venglos, who has died at the age of 84.

“Dr Jo was a legend of Slovakian football and had been the first manager of the Slovakian national side after the country regained its independence in 1993.

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“He had a wealth of managerial experience both at club and international level stretching over 30 years – he had also managed the former Czechoslovakia side and, indeed, was assistant manager when they won the European Championships in 1976 – by the time he was appointed Celtic manager in 1998.

“He was in charge at Paradise for the 1998/99 season, and memorably helped the Hoops to a 5-1 victory in a Glasgow derby clash. His fellow countryman, Lubomir Moravcik, scored two goals in that game, and it was Dr Jo who brought Lubo to Celtic, something that the Celtic supporters were always thankful for.

“Highly respected figure”

“He also brought in Johan Mjallby, another signing who would go on to be a great player for Celtic. At the end of that season, Dr Jo left Celtic, but always remained a hugely popular figure with fans.

“A highly respected figure in football, Dr Jo shared his knowledge of the game through coaching lectures he gave throughout the world, and from 1995 to 2013 he was president of the Alliance of European Football Coaches (AEFCA), subsequently being elected its honorary president.

“He is a member of the Slovak Football Hall of Fame and, indeed, is regarded as Slovakia’s greatest coach of the 20 century.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Dr Jozef Venglos’ family and the whole of football in Slovakia at this very sad time.”

Dr Jozef Veglos takes in the action at Paradise / (Clive Brunskill /Allsport)

Dr. Jozef Venglos’ remarkable legacy

Considered a gentle but determined leader, Venglos won the devotion of his players and staff during his managerial career.

Dr Venglos only spent one year with Celtic, but it was part of a magnificent coaching career. He led an un-fancied Czechoslovakian team to 3rd place in the 1980 European Championships.

He also coached in far-flung locales such as Oman and Kuala Lumpur. As well, he managed familiar club names like Sporting Club de Portugal and Fenerbahce.

Attack-minded coach

Although he was primarily remembered for his signings, his brand of football was also excellent. An attack-minded coach, his Celtic side were scintillating, especially in the latter half of the 98-99 season. Dismantling Dunfermline 5-0 and Motherwell 7-1 was par for the course under Venglos.

His affection to Celtic remained up to his sad passing.

In 2012, Venglos told The Sun:

“I have such a strong attachment to the club and it’s impossible not to feel passionate about Celtic when I watch the team. Most of the time, I watch European games as a coach. But when Celtic play, I am like any other fan.”

Like the rest of the Celtic family, we offer our condolences to the Venglos family. A true gentleman, who didn’t stay long at Celtic, he is remembered with reverence all over the world.