It will forever be known as the longest drawn out managerial story in Celtic’s history. Sixteen weeks of guessing when Eddie Howe was going to be announced. Sixteen weeks of “It’s going to be next week” and sixteen weeks of trying to find something else to write about the club rather than Eddie Howe! Frustrating? You bet it is, so this article today marks the last time I write about him.
The way the Celtic board capitulated to Howe is probably more embarrassing than Howe turning down the job after such a long courtship and the question on everyone’s lips is ‘Who is to blame for this sorry mess?‘.
Former Celtic striker John Hartson is in no doubt where the blame firmly lies and weirdly, as he explains his reasons, he seems to flip who he points the finger at without actually realising it. Speaking on The Go Radio Football Show, Hartson said, “Do we know that Celtic have done everything they can to get Eddie Howe? How do we know that? Eddie Howe might come in and said I want this, I want to bring seven or eight staff or some of the trusted stuff that I had for Bournemouth.
“That cost money, staff. they want to bring in Sports Science, they want to bring in their own physio, their own scouts and their own Director of Football.
Who's to blame for the shambles at Celtic Park?
“So, is it a situation where Eddie Howe has priced himself and priced his team out of contention? Would Celtic match his ambition in terms of the team that he wanted to bring in? He might have said look I want this player, I want to hold on to this player.
“We don’t know whether Celtic did everything in their power to get Eddie Howe overboard. We are not party to the discussions.”
Clearly Hartson believes the Celtic board at fault and to many supporters, they will believe he is right. I think the board are to blame but not because they didn’t do everything they could to get him as Hartson clearly believes. But because they did too much. They allowed a manager with no God given right to keep the club on a knife edge whilst he delayed and delayed his decision until he finally pulled away.
They allowed a manager with, and let’s be honest here, with no real credentials of winning any kind of silverware, carte blanche to ride roughshod and keep the Celtic supporters waiting for an answer while they watch their rivals build from a position of strength. And if Hartson is to be believed, and Howe was making all these demands, the board clearly forgot who they represent. Celtic Football Club. The club should never be held to ransom by any one man.
Demands are fine, but has Eddie Howe done enough in the game to make so many from a club like Celtic? Not for me.
The Celtic board are to blame, but not for their lack of trying, but for their lack of self respect. The board should have pulled the plug on this eight weeks ago. It is, after all, only Eddie Howe, not Pep we were after.
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