Howe? Where? Why?
The next few days are shaping up to be rather interesting for Celtic fans.
On Sunday,there is the Scottish cup tie at Ibrox,where the officials will be the only fans allowed into the ground,with the rest of us either coughing up our tenner to a minnow tv broadcaster for the privilege of watching it on a buffering broadband stream or linking into it elsewhere-and probably getting a better delivery! We go into it on the back of perhaps our best two performances of the season-with the caveat that the opposition didn’t really turn up on either occasion-and with the hope that Eddie decides that every chance he gets,he’s going to put it away,that every goal between now and the end of the season could be worth thousands a week in contract terms at his next club.
Clutching at straws? Maybe-but I don’t think so. He has no love for that mob and he knows what is at stake-for him,for the club,for the fans. If he wants a decent contract at a decent club,he has to remind them that he is worth it. I’ll be looking out my I WANNA BE EDOUARD t-shirt anyway,and I hope it is not the last hurrah for it.
Monday sees the long-awaited arrival of Dominic McKay as our new CEO. He will initially be working in tandem with Peter Lawwell,fine tuning the details of the post and its requirements. I’ve little doubt that Lawwell will show him all the secrets of the office,the scouting reports,the “black museum” of staff misdemeanours-always good to know what to watch out for,you don’t want to be hoodwinked about otherwise common knowledge because nobody thought to tell the new man!-the combination of the biscuit tin,and of course the number for the Dudu Hotline.
I know very little about the man professionally,though he did go to my Alma Mater of St Andrew’s Academy and later worked in my home town. He left Pernod Ricard HQ there to join the SRU-and here’s a bonus,it was to work in their Communications Dept! At last,we might have someone who knows a bit about PR and will improve at the very least on our woeful performances in this area over the last (far too many) years. I suspect that one of his first tasks will be to respond to events on the field the previous day,and possibly to abuse received by our players from a screaming mob as they alighted from the bus prior to the match. I doubt though that it will be news to him,and he can get himself off to a flier here.
His most important task though is obvious. The hire of a new management team within a restructured football operation which will also require a Director of Football/Technical Director. There have been various names bandied about for the latter and if I’m honest it is such a specialised backroom role that I have no real preference. I simply don’t know enough about the candidates! So be very grateful I’m not in charge of recruitment,I suppose. In an ideal world though,the DoF would be working with the CEO on this appointment even before the decision had been made about the previous manager. This is Celtic,we work in mysterious ways our wonders to perform! It may well be that the new manager is in place before the new DoF and that he may in fact insist on a DoF of his own choosing.
I am not in favour of that. As I’ve said before,the DoF should be able to work with the CEO and with the manager,act as a liaison between them when necessary. But he should be independent of both,beholden to neither. This is a new direction for us,and we shouldn’t be undermining our chances from the off.
Which brings us to the vexed question of our next manager. It will be six months since we couldn’t get a shot on target against the huns,playing them at Celtic Park without a recognised striker on the pitch. That was just the latest in a long line of shocking team selections,and it was the last straw for many of us. I believe that a proactive and professional board and CEO would at the very least have started investigating possibilities to fill a managerial vacancy should they feel the need to pull the rug. Six months later we are no further forward,the epitome indeed of a well-run club.
What is worse is that our “preferred” candidate in Eddie Howe seems to have retreated to his luxury pad on the south coast,distinctly unimpressed by the overtures from our club. There is only rumour and conjecture to go by in this particular regard so you’ll pardon me if I refrain. However,taking Celtic out of his decision altogether-as I’ve said before-leaves him with a narrowing range of suitors in England. So let’s examine the possibles as I see them.
Newcastle. I can’t see Bruce being in the job for next season. Ashley will get rid of him if the appeal to the FA over Fit And Proper status for his Saudi buyers falls through. Frankly I would rather work for Lawwell than Ashley. If the Saudi takeover goes ahead,Howe is unlikely to rate a mention.
Brighton. Handy enough for him. But their ambitions are effectively limited to staying in the EPL. Why leave Bournemouth to join them? Plus,they are unlikely to sack their current manager.
Southampton. See Brighton.
Crystal Palace. Unlikely to renew the contract of Roy Hodgson. Otherwise,see Brighton.
Now,he could get a better job than these via the managerial merry-go-round if one of the top teams parts ways with their manager,but of those top teams only perhaps Everton would employ him at the moment. And they aren’t going to fire Ancelotti for him! Others,like Arsenal and Spurs,just might take Rodgers from Leicester or Espirito Sancto from Wolves which would leave the door open for him. But I doubt those clubs will make a move much this side of Christmas-and the managers might get it right in that time!
Howe might be looking at the Leeds job. Bielsa has been there for three years now and hasn’t renewed his contract. I think he will though,so again Howe is onto plums.
Eddie Howe has always struck me as an intelligent and thoughtful guy. He must know all of the above,and at 43yo with a wife and young family,I don’t think he will yet have made enough from the game to be comfortable for the rest of his life. So what is the hold up? If both sides have gone into the negotiations with the same red line-that THEY are responsible for the appointment of the Director of Football-then we have a huge problem. I’m not even sure that a relationship should begin at all when one side has been railroaded into giving up such an important point in the negotiations.
I believe Eddie Howe is the best man for the job from those realistically available. I don’t think he will get a better offer than Celtic anytime in the near future,if at all. But I don’t think that he should dictate who is the Director of Football. His loyalty to those he was worked with before,people whom he trusts and values personally and professionally,is admirable. But he has made his point and I expect that Celtic have agreed to most of his other requests,but we should not agree to this one. If he can’t see that,if he is willing to refuse the role on this principle,then I admit that I respect him all the more for it. But I will no longer view him as an intelligent and thoughtful guy.
And besides,bigger fish to fry and huns to skelp. Roll on,Sunday!
Above article by BMCUWP