Celtic still haven’t hired a new manager.
Supporters and pundits alike have plenty of theories as to why this is. Eddie Howe had an agreement “in principle” with Celtic [Sun], but we’ve heard little since.
To us, managing Celtic should be a calling, a massive opportunity for any manager worth their salt. But in the words of Tom Jones, it’s not unusual for a top manager to take their time in deciding their next move.
Some of our greatest names have taken their time to weigh up the options. Even Jock Stein needed certain guarantees before he became the Bhoys’ greatest-ever manager [Jock Stein: The Definitive Biography, Archie McPherson]. If social media was around at the time, you can guarantee that there’d be folk implying that this was disrespectful in some way. Eventually, Stein did accept an offer from the Kellys and the rest, as they say, is history.
So what makes the situation now any different? It’s a massive, massive undertaking at the best of times, but this Celtic team needs major work. The rebuild on offer would even make Football Manager players flinch; some big names are more than likely moving on and there’s massive upheaval taking place behind the scenes.
Not that this makes managing the Bhoys less attractive, you understand, but this is a role that could make-or-break the right manager. Succeed, and the rewards are obvious. Fail, and years in the managerial wilderness could follow.
Whether it’s Eddie Howe or someone else, we need to remember Celtic precedent
When it became clear that Neil Lennon was leaving in 2014, the board were hardly snapping the hand off the first candidate. Ronny Deila signed on the dotted line in June [Guardian]. Rodgers was said to have his own substantial rebuild to do, but he took his time, too, arriving in late May [BBC].
The only difference, of course, is that we have an interim boss rather than a manager with an eye on the exit. The circumstances are different, yes, but the board are hardly likely to change tack in 2021. If they were to rush an appointment, it would’ve been far earlier in the season when 10IAR wasn’t out of sight yet.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
So rather than being dismayed that nothing’s happened yet, bear in mind the following: news is so, so much quicker. We had these exact frustrations in 2014 and 2016, and football media coverage is even more widespread now. The slightest update on a manager, the comment from an agent or a tired pundit giving their hot take is going to be pored over with more scrutiny. That gives the feeling that more is happening than is actually… well, happening.
Secondly, remember that these are human beings considering uprooting their entire lives. While managing Celtic is a privilege, yes, it also comes with enormous and very obvious baggage. If you exist outside of the purview of Scottish football, it can seem like far less of a no-brainer to want to manage Celtic Football Club. There’s a lot to consider on a personal and professional level.
For someone like Eddie Howe, who has a great level of credit to his name, there’ll be plenty to consider.
Don’t get us wrong, we wish we already knew what was happening. And please, do not read this as a defence of the board, especially this season.
But we’ve seen this before. We just need to be patient and hope against hope that those running the club have this under control.