The Eddie Howe comment that shows Celtic may have got it right this summer

By Euan Davidson

November 11, 2021

No harm to Eddie Howe, but Celtic may have made the more sustainable choice in hiring Ange Postecoglou this summer.

It’s not that Howe isn’t a top-class manager. What he achieved with Bournemouth was historic. Turning a perennial lower-tier English side into a Premier League staple was a monumental task, and he did it in style.

When Celtic approached him, for a long time, it looked like a done deal. The timeline seemed perfect. Here was a manager famed for working best with a limited budget (in comparison to elite clubs), with a distinct playing style and youthful enthusiasm. Celtic were in need of a footballing identity, some quick, quality recruitment and a long-term vision.

Howe seemed to the epitome of long-term thinking. Especially given the length of his two tenures at Bournemouth. It seemed a coup, and it might well have been.

As we shared last night, Howe has praised Celtic, claiming that there’s no bad blood despite the breakdown in talks. But there’s a particular point he made that shows Ange Postecoglou may have been the more prudent call.

Howe said [Daily Record]:

“I couldn’t get my backroom team together to go to Celtic for a host of different reasons. [Ultimately] I didn’t want to take a job of such size, and knowing the job needing to be done, on my own, I knew what was needed. So there was no change of mind, I was open and honest with everyone connected with the club.”

The contrast with Ange’s comments this week is startling.

£5million insurance payout for Celtic | 2020/2021 accounts analysed

£5million insurance payout for Celtic | 2020/2021 accounts analysed
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Eddie Howe might not have been a good fit for Celtic after all

Consider Ange Postecoglou, then. He’s praised the backroom staff he has at Celtic, with the club clearly wanting some key figures in place from regime to regime. Whether that’s for continuity, or something more nepotistic is your call to make.

Eddie Howe, clearly, has a trusted backroom team. Some managers are heads of a cluster of trusted personnel. Think of José Mourinho with Rui Faria, Andrés Villas-Boas and the team he had around him at multiple clubs.

Others are more ‘lone wolf’ types. Postecoglou has never been entirely consistent with his backroom staff where he’s been before. At Yokohama F Marinos, there was Kevin Muscat, sure. But a lot of the staff were brought to the club without a pre-existing relationship.

Ange Postecoglou and his Celtic staff / (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Given the amount of flux required at Celtic this season, wholesale change at backroom level was maybe too much to ask. The Hoops got a manager who was fine adapting to what was there, and to good effect.

Howe – and it’s not a knock against him – has colleagues that are non-negotiable additions to wherever he was going to go next. If Celtic couldn’t provide that, or the staff he wanted weren’t keen, then that’s fine. We moved on, so did he.

The point here is that Celtic got a manager more in tune with the situation at the club. Newcastle got theirs.

Read more: Kyogo, Giakoumakis and the gung-ho Celtic experiment Postecoglou could try