Date: 9th June 2009 at 12:11pm
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Given all of the “fun and games” at the end of last season, we at Vital Celtic considered it prudent to take a step back and allow the dust to settle on what was, quite frankly, a disastrous season.

But now is the time to look forward and see if it is possible for the club to find a new manager who can undo some of the worst parts of Gordon Strachan’s reign – even if they will have to work under the same board.

The latest rumours suggest Tony Mowbray is Celtic’s number one target for the managerial vacancy. While Mowbray would hardly a be a “wow” signing, perhaps the board have downsized the club to the extent that it would be “acceptable”.

However, the Daily Record have today reported West Brown are demanding £2million compensation from Celtic if Mowbray does go and that may prove to be a stumbling block. Given Celtic cannot rely on qualifying for the Champions League group stages this season, money is at a premium.

According to the Record: “…last night the swoop had reached deadlock when Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace slapped a price tag of just over s2m on Mowbray and his right-hand men Mark Venus and Peter Grant.

“And now we understand Celtic could be prepared to walk away from the deal and go after an alternative target unless a reasonable compromise package can be thrashed out. A clause in Mowbray’s contract allows West Brom to play hardball but it has been made clear to Peace that Celtic are not prepared to match their valuation.”

Peace is clearly prepared to play hardball but, even so, it would be a lie to claim the fact Celtic are having to play such games with a club like West Brom is anything but disappointing. But that’s modern football, and that’s downsized Celtic.

Peace told his club’s website: “After two weeks of speculation, I have finally received a call from the Celtic chief executive, Peter Lawwell, requesting permission to speak to Tony. I made it absolutely clear Celtic’s approach was not welcome because we have an ongoing project at Albion of which Tony is an integral part.

“Tony’s style of play is a key factor in that project and the supporters have very much bought into it, as everyone saw by the terrific reception the fans gave Tony and the players after our final home game against Liverpool. It is also reflected by the fact we have already sold more than 16,000 season tickets for 2009-10.

“We inserted a compensation figure when Tony signed a new contract 16 months ago to ensure the club would be suitably recompensed in the event of any other club seeking his services. Most people would regard it as a fair figure. It was inserted in the contract in good faith and is non-negotiable because we don’t want to lose our manager.

“Celtic have been made aware of the compensation figure and if they agree to pay this, only then will I speak to Tony to get his thoughts on the situation. Until and unless that happens, as far as we are concerned, it is business as usual as we plan for a very important season ahead of us. We hope this is the end of the matter as we do not need any further, unwelcome distractions for the job in hand.”

Surely things can only get better? In any case, here’s to an interesting, varied and action-packed summer!

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