Celtic fans have every right to start feeling a little bit uneasy about the Eddie Howe situation.
We all continue to await his appointment with bated breath. We’re all desperate to see him come through the Parkhead gates and see the images of him holding the Celtic scarf above his head. Only then will we all see confirmation of the dugout change we all wanted.
However, it’s undeniable that this is taking a touch longer than we would’ve anticipated. The latest on Howe to Celtic came on Monday night. The Scottish Sun reported that Howe’s demand for his own Director of Football had complicated matters.
Howe is said to want Richard Hughes in the door – the current Bournemouth technical director who he worked with during his time at the Cherries. If Celtic want to secure him, they’ll have to pay the Championship club compensation.
But that’s not the main reason this deal is stalling. It’s the direction of the club that’s at risk here, and that’s why Celtic have every right to take their time and drag this out if they need to.
None of us are privy to negotiations, so we won’t pretend to be. But from the outside looking in, the Director of Football decision is a colossal one for this football club.
The Sun reported on Monday night that Celtic were open to Howe’s demand. But at the same time, it’s led to them ripping up their own plans that they had in place.
Celtic can only appoint Eddie Howe if they agree to his Director of Football demand
Celtic have to look at the long-term regarding the DoF appointment. It’s great to see that they’re ready to give Howe full autonomy. However they also have to make sure that Hughes himself would be in this for the long haul. They have to ensure he has both the credentials and the commitment to control our footballing operations.
There will come a day, if Howe is appointed, when he ends up leaving. Celtic don’t want to leave themselves in the same position they were back in 2019 when Brendan Rodgers left. That had the club on its knees and desperately scrambling for a quick successor. Look at how that turned out in the long run.
The idea of having a DoF is to stop all of this. To ensure that, when a manager does depart, the club isn’t too rocked by it. That there will be a long-term plan and place and the head coach can be suitably replaced without taking the entire footballing operation with him.
Celtic must ensure Bournemouth’s Hughes is capable of doing that. It’ll be the biggest job the retired Scotland international will have had in football. The club is entitled to do their own due diligence before agreeing to Howe’s demand.
Because the fact is we need Hughes, or whoever the DoF will be, to be here long after Howe leaves. He can’t just be suited to the next Celtic manager – he must fit in with the club’s ethos. It will be his job, after all, to build something that stands the test of time in Glasgow. To build up a footballing culture at Celtic Park that isn’t destroyed by one managerial departure.
Preferably, it would actually be the DoF helping the board pick the new manager. Not the other way about. The fact that it has come about this way isn’t ideal. Mainly because this is what it all leads back to – whether Hughes is capable isn’t just in the job to team up with Howe.
So Celtic are right to take their time and make sure the right decision is made. The last thing we need as a football club is to rush into an appointment we may regret a couple of years down the line.