Chris Sutton dismisses Crystal Palace; backs Eddie Howe to choose Celtic and snub England

By David Walton

April 14, 2021

Celtic great Chris Sutton has taken a pop at Crystal Palace as he claimed Eddie Howe will go to Celtic “if he has any ambition”.

The Howe to Celtic saga appears to be on hold for now. The latest being that an agreement in principle is reportedly in place for him to take charge [Scottish Sun]. Howe’s agent, of course, has stated that he isn’t close to signing for anyone and that he won’t take charge of a new club until the summer [Daily Mail]

Meanwhile, Celtic aren’t the only club that has been linked with an interest in the former Bournemouth manager. Crystal Palace are said to have him on a shortlist should Roy Hodgson depart the London club this summer [Daily Mail].

Sutton was today asked about who he believes Howe would go to. And as he compared both clubs, the former Hoops striker laughed off the idea Palace could pip Celtic. Speaking on the Record Celtic Podcast, Sutton said:

“Why would he go to Crystal Palace? If you’re talking about size of club to really create an impact then there’s only one place where he’s going to go.

“Crystal Palace, if they finish in the top half of the Premier League it’s a big ‘wow’, everyone’s high-fiving each other. Where can he take Crystal Palace in his current position to? Palace aren’t going to finish in a top-six spot as far as I’m concerned.

“The position Celtic are in – they’re at a low ebb. They have nearly hit rock bottom this season and there’s the opportunity there to take his name into another stratosphere if he goes to Celtic and turns it around. If he has real ambition, of course he’s going to choose Celtic over Crystal Palace. Anybody can see that – it’s an easy one.”

Crystal Palace vs Celtic for Eddie Howe? There’s no thinking time needed

Perhaps you can forgive Howe for wanting to take the time to figure out where his future will be. It’s not as if he has any previous connection with Celtic, which means he likely doesn’t understand the magnitude of the opportunity that sits in front of him.

Sutton isn’t wrong in anything he says here. With all due respect to Palace, and they’re a brilliant, well-run football club – they aren’t Celtic. The only two things they can offer Howe is Premier League football and money. But money isn’t everything, and it’s not as if Howe would be struggling on Parkhead wages either.

But outside of the financial aspect, Celtic carries several unique carrots. They can make Howe a winner for a start, and finally allow the Englishman to add to his 2015 Championship title. As well as that, he could potentially have European football on his plate too – something he’s never experienced throughout his managerial career.

Former Celtic star Chris Sutton / (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Not to mention he has a glorious opportunity to put a stop to Steven Gerrard and his own managerial hype. There’s a greater focus on Scottish football from down south these days. Much of it has been down to Gerrard’s arrival at Rangers back in 2018. If he can halt his momentum and send him packing from Scotland, it would do Howe’s reputation wonders back home.

Or he could join Palace, bag a top 10 spot and get a nice pat on the head. All the while he wouldn’t actually be increasing his stock much or tasting that winning feeling.

So no wonder Sutton is so firm in his answer here. If Howe has the ambition, he’ll be signed up at Parkhead for next season.

In other news, Stephen Welsh sounded buoyed heading into this weekend’s clash at Ibrox.