Imagine you were Celtic interim boss John Kennedy.
Your playing career was cut short by a horrendous tackle. All of your hard work and potential, just gone with one challenge. You retire, you do your coaching badges, and build on the interpersonal relationships from your career. Rising up the ranks at your boyhood club, your responsibilities increase. You earn the trust of managers like Brendan Rodgers, and rise to an assistant role.
Then, you take so much blame when it goes wrong, even under someone else’s name. That’s the position he’s in; what was once a dream has become a thankless grind. You could probably count on one hand the number of Celtic supporters who want Kennedy to be hired permanently.
Anything he says at this stage is going to be meticulously dissected. His press conferences – each and every one – are met by dissenting supporters who want him gone. In many ways it’s a horrendous shame.
So today, when asked about the managerial situation at Celtic, he had absolutely nothing to gain. Asked about the latest goings-on, Kennedy said [BBC]:
“I know it’s difficult without clarity. The club have to make the right decision for the greater good going forward.
“Do you just name a manager now that they think is not quite right for the sake of [selling season tickets]? Or do they make sure they make the right decision long term?
“I think people probably expect that everyone behind the scenes knows everything and they should let everybody know. But some things have to remain private top the point where decisions are ready to be made.”
John Kennedy can’t help but annoy Celtic supporters, currently
There are going to be plenty of reactions to these comments. I’m currently writing one.
Folk will say that Kennedy doesn’t “get it”, especially with the season tickets comments. Ultimately, though, he’s right; the club can’t just make an appointment for the sake of it. Everything needs to be right here, the stakes are just too high. The pressure on this maligned, rightly criticised board is immense.
We can’t have it both ways. Desmond and Lawwell rushed the last appointment without considering the long-term. We’d criticise them as thoroughly if they were as hasty this time round. The Scottish Cup is important, certainly, but in terms of our next few seasons at large, we’re going to have to just sit tight.
Have the board earned our trust recently? No. But it’s them who have to take everything into consideration and make the best appointment. John Kennedy is hardly going to come and contradict the board by saying “aye, they need to get a move on”.
It’s also not Kennedy’s job to make staffing announcements on behalf of the club.
Be angry at the board all you like, I am too. But the criticism going Kennedy’s way over something he has no part in seems beyond what’s reasonable.