Chris Sutton's demand for the Celtic board; thinks Howe has players lined up

By David Walton

May 15, 2021

.Chris Sutton has demanded that the Celtic board back Eddie Howe and allow the Englishman to take charge of recruitment.

Howe has reportedly agreed a deal to become the next Celtic manager. However, there is said to be a hold-up with his arrival due to him wanting two of his former assistants from Bournemouth [talkSPORT].

In the meantime, if Howe is to be the manager, it’s essential that he starts work early on identifying players to bring to the club. The Celtic board have been known to interfere in transfer dealings from time to time. From failing to bag top targets like John McGinn to signing players the manager didn’t want like Marian Shved, full autonomy isn’t always given to the boss.

Sutton, however, believes this has to change as he outlined his belief that Howe has players earmarked to come in.

“The manager has to be given the backing of those who employed him”

Speaking in his Daily Record column, Sutton said: “I can only hope – with 23 points separating them and Rangers after a disastrous campaign – he has the same clout as Martin did when he arrived on the back of a 21-point deficit in 2000. Martin knew what he wanted and got the players in that were required. Joos Valgaeren was brought in early along with myself and Alan Thompson and Neil Lennon soon followed.

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“It was a different era in terms of the market Celtic were working in but the fundamentals remain the same. The manager has to be given the backing of those who employed him in the first place. Eddie needs to make sure he has that backing.

“Eddie might not have the CV of Martin but he needs to carry the same sort of clout if he wants success. He also needs help, time and patience. From those in command and from the supporters. I’m certain he’ll have a few players earmarked to come in. If that’s not happened and Celtic haven’t been in a position to get in touch with targets then they are in big trouble.”

Celtic board have made enough mistakes; intruding on Howe transfer work would be a bad move

I can at times understand the need for a board to get involved in certain elements of player recruitment.

Firstly, if a deal isn’t viable then it isn’t viable, regardless of how much the manager wants it done. If it’s too pricey or isn’t great for the image of the club, you can understand board’s being a touch more intrusive.

The same goes for signing youngsters up for the long-term. If there are certain long-term projects that can be snapped up cheaply or for free and go straight into the development side, that’s also acceptable. If the board sees a deal that’s good for the club, they’re right to push it from time to time.

Eddie Howe needs to be given the freedom to make his own signings. / (Photo by CATHERINE IVILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

However, when it comes to millions being spent on players, that has to be the manager’s say. If we’re talking first-team regulars being signed to make an impact immediately, nobody but Howe should have that responsibility. It has to be down to the former Bournemouth man to identify who he wants for his time. After all, it’s a team being built in his image. It won’t be his team if even one deal is forced upon him.

The apathy levels reached by the Celtic supporters this season is incredible. The board have driven them away by a greater distance than we would’ve thought imaginable this season. To appoint Howe only to intrude on a key element of his work would be even more destructive.

But this isn’t something we should worry about too much. Surely, Howe has been given some big guarantees by the board about his autonomy. Let’s just hope we stick to those guarantees.

In other news, Kris Boyd has unsurprisingly decided to put a negative spin on Scott Brown’s Celtic departure.