Newcastle boss Eddie Howe opens up on Celtic decision

By Dave Flanigan

September 8, 2022

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe has detailed the reasons behind his refusal of the then-vacant managerial position at Celtic, 16 months on.

Howe was the favourite to take over from Neil Lennon at the end of the 2020-21 season, but a protracted negotiation process resulted in the 44 year old knocking back the role, with Celtic announcing the appointment of Ange Postecoglou shortly thereafter.

Speaking to Alan Shearer for The Athletic, Howe said: “I needed to really believe in the project I was going to take on. And having left a club that was very, very special to me, it suddenly hit me — ‘I don’t actually know what I’m looking for in my next challenge’.

Photo by AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

“I turned down a lot of jobs because of that reason. Unless Newcastle had come along, which was immediately the one, I don’t know where that would have happened.

“Celtic was the one job I’d been offered that really appealed. The issue there was my staff. I felt that if I was to come into a pressured job like that, I needed to go in with a sense of stability.

“I could have recruited new staff, but then you’re working each other out and there’s a transition process where it probably takes three, four, five months. That’s five months too late. I needed my staff with me and we couldn’t get them together.”

Despite a painfully drawn-out and eventually unsuccessful courting between Celtic and Howe, things have worked out well for both in the end, with Celtic flying under Postecoglou and Newcastle in fine fettle under the Englishman in the Premier League.

Whilst Howe cited staffing as the reason for his rejection of the Paradise hot seat, Postecoglou came in alone and excelled, rebuilding the club after a disastrous season and a squid in ruins.

The Aussie has been a marvellous appointment but there’s little reason for bitterness towards Howe who could well have been a fine Celtic manager in his own right, although it’s likely a ship that’s now sailed for both parties.

In other news: Michael Stewart delivers Celtic vs Real Madrid verdict and makes group stage prediction