"Paul Lambert was my hero"; Richard Hughes, Eddie Howe's Celtic-daft reported choice as Director of Football

By Euan Davidson

April 3, 2021

Richard Hughes, close friend of Eddie Howe, might not be a familiar name to most Celtic supporters. However, he could be very soon.

On April 1st, Ewan Murray of the Guardian reported that former Portsmouth and Arsenal man Hughes could join Eddie Howe at Celtic.

Manchester City figure Fergal Harkin, Juventus’ Matteo Tognozzi and former Celtic midfielder John Collins have all been linked with the role. Last night’s bombshell Eddie Howe report in the Sun, though, claimed:

“It’s also Howe’s desire for close pal and current Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes to join him in Paradise.”

It turns out that as well as being close to Eddie Howe, Hughes is a massive Celtic supporter. Capped 5 times by Scotland in the mid 2000s, Hughes never played for the Bhoys. He has, however, spoken about his love of Celtic in a Daily Express interview, back in 2009.

Hughes said [Express]:

“I was born on the green side of Glasgow. As soon as my mum and I were fit enough to fly, we returned to Milan – where my dad and brother were.

“You don’t get a say in which team you support.

“You are born and, before you know it, you get a Celtic shirt and scarf and go to your first Old Firm game.

Recounting a friendly against his boyhood club in 2002, Hughes recalled:

“To score in a blue shirt, white shorts and red socks against the Hoops with the Celtic fans behind the goal was not how I dreamt it in the back garden when I was growing up.

“Still, it was brilliant to play against Celtic. Paul Lambert was my hero and I managed to play against him, so it was a special evening.”

Richard Hughes back in 2000, playing for Bournemouth / (Photo by AllsportUK/Allsport)

Richard Hughes: Celtic supporter, Eddie Howe confidant

Hughes had an interesting playing career. Raised in Italy, the defensive midfielder began his career in Atalanta’s academy, before Arsenal snared him as a teenager.

He went on to enjoy two spells at Bournemouth, sandwiching some top-flight football with Portsmouth. Since retirement, he’s worked in Eddie Howe’s recruitment team, stepping up as Technical Director in 2017 [Telegraph].

In an interview with Bournemouth AFC’s in-house press, Hughes explained how he helped Eddie Howe. He said [Bournemouth AFC]:

“The role is primarily heading up the recruitment department and having a structure in place which can put players in front of Eddie and his staff, allowing them to make decisions that are going to help in the recruitment of players.

“Eddie has a high-pressure job that takes up so much of his time, managing a Premier League team, so you need the right people in the right places to minimise the amount of time dedicated to doing the other important parts of the job, recruitment in this case.”

While bigger names have certainly been linked, Hughes may get his dream job. Likely a huge part of the Celtic-Howe negotiations, Hughes is clearly a Celtic die-hard, and would need little convincing to join.

It could be a seismic week ahead for the Bhoys.

READ MORE: Celtic misfit subject of bid from former club.