Eddie Howe might not start until the summer, according to reports.
The Sun have claimed that there’s a sticking point delaying the Howe appointment. My colleague David Walton did an excellent summary of events here, which should give any Celtic supporter a full understanding of what’s going on.
Leaving that aside, though, should anyone be surprised if Howe officially starts in the summer, regardless? The situation, as we understand it, is that John Kennedy has until the end of 20-21 to make his mark, anyway. So far, it’s been solid if uninspiring stuff. A draw against a dogged Dundee United has been the only real blight so far.
The standard of football has immediately improved, even if some of the tactical decisions have been a little strange. Whatever, it matters little; the season has been a write-off and only the Scottish Cup matters now.
But if Eddie Howe were to come in this summer, rather than an immediate start, it benefits both him and the club long-term. Here’s how (Howe).
Eddie Howe would have time for a thorough analysis of the playing staff
Let’s say Eddie Howe officially started in June or July, it doesn’t mean he can’t watch Celtic matches, liaise with the current staff and make plans ahead of time. We’re seeing that Dominic McKay might be coming in early, but his eventual arrival was announced months ago [Celtic FC].
From the minute McKay applied for Peter Lawwell’s job, he’ll have had his own ideas on how to improve Celtic. From a footballing and business perspective, McKay is very well-placed to get to work from day one. Regardless of that day one is. People at this high a level of an industry don’t wander into jobs without a full summary of the facts. People in football, anyway; the same can’t be said for other arenas of public life.
So, applying this to Eddie Howe; we can safely say if he’s as close to being the next Celtic boss as reported, then he has an idea of what he wants to do. Heralded as a detail-focused, meticulous coach, any extra time before he takes his first training session is surely a blessing, then? And on the note of training, coaches currently at the club can easily feed back to Eddie Howe, should he seal the deal. It’s simple stuff, no?
It also gives Howe time to write up a list of targets, as well as draft a summary of the squad depth in general. If anything, this is an absolute gift for the guy. From a results point of view, the league is gone and I firmly believe John Kennedy is close to a winning formula against Rangers. For Howe, there seems little point taking such a gamble.
New manager can step into new role with clean slate
There’s nothing stopping Eddie Howe planning a pre-season, provided he was appointed tomorrow. What the coaches and players can do now, though, is important.
The building blocks can be put in place. If Howe is given the job, or indeed, any manager, it would be Kennedy’s prerogative to finish this season as well as possible. From a tactical point of view, the next boss could make formational/personnel suggestions to help out in the long-term.
Or, youngsters like Adam Montgomery and Owen Moffat could be given a chance in lower-risk matches. Perhaps, the next manager should be able to see the depth of talent coming from the Academy.
There are a huge list of benefits here. Howe can step in with an unblemished record, and have all of his strategy in place from day one. Taking on Rangers is imperative. Having ample time to prepare, rather than stepping in during a season-long crisis, seems advantageous.
In short: we shouldn’t be desperate for a new manager right away. For the feel-good atmosphere around the club to suffer would be a huge shame. Just giving it all some time and letting Kennedy put the building blocks in place after a disaster of a season makes much more sense.