Today, as most of us expected, Neil Lennon and Bolton Wanderers have parted company.
I don’t think there’s a single Celtic fan who isn’t sad for our former manager and wishes him well in his future endeavours.
Bolton was an odd choice for Neil, I always thought.
I also thought the disrespect he was shown by Premiership clubs was outrageous, in much the same way as Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan were treated shabbily when they decided to return to England.
O’Neill at least wound up at an EPL side, but I always got the impression that it was Seville that clinched his reputation and not what he accomplished up here.
This must be especially frustrating for these guys when you consider how many of our players have gone down south to big success, and of how the managerial merry-go-round in the English top flight always seems to involve the same handful of guys; Sam Allardyce, Harry Redknapp, Mark Hughes, Alan Pardew and others.
Neil certainly had greater potential as a boss than any of those guys, even if I did think the style of football under him was essentially one dimensional at times.
He achieved great things here, and I thought there were better jobs than Bolton out there for him.
His leaving the club isn’t unexpected.
This had been on the cards for a couple of months, even though he’d made great personal sacrifices to do the right thing by them. Our media never bothered to talk about it, but whereas a certain ex Sevco manager who went off to do the Beechgrove Garden only talked about cutting his salary (cause he had a sweet contract which awarded him all the money back later) Neil actually did it, along with the whole of his Bolton backroom team, in an effort to cut costs at the club. It ultimately failed.
Will this hurt his career?
That’s always a chance when a manager leaves a club under a cloud, with results and performances not going his way.
But Neil is still a young guy (literally, not in the “young Ally” sense) and will be back.
He just won’t be making his managerial return at Celtic Park, no matter what certain gin soaked hacks might think, and what certain bookies and their Sevco-style PR arms might want you to put your cold hard cash on.
But will David Moyes?
Today, according to the press, there is a big hint from him that he’d be happy to talk.
It’s not exactly a commitment, but Moyes could have firmly closed the door and chose not to.
In one way I am angry that the media has chosen to focus on him, because it clearly does not help Ronny and the team to focus on the coming games, but it does answer one very big question about whether or not Celtic would be able to attract a “big name” boss.
This notion that we’d somehow struggle in that area has always been flagrant nonsense.
There are a lot of managers who would still walk over broken glass to take the hot-seat at Parkhead, and who believe enough in their own abilities that they wouldn’t be scared off by the obvious restrictions that accrue from managing an SPL team, even the biggest one.
All would insist on a certain autonomy; no top manager would be constrained by our self-appointed director of football, but something tells me those days are just about at an end and that people inside Celtic Park know it.
The next managerial appointment has to be a cracker, and that means others inside the club have to take a big step backwards and let it be.
So does Moyes tick the boxes?
I think he does.
He has great experience now, at two top flight clubs in England and one in Spain.
People will point to his lack of success at Sociedad, but what exactly was the expectation level at the club? He’d never managed outside England and that was always going to be a mountain to climb. At Everton he was a steady influence who did good things without spectacular successes, but what else do you expect from what is essentially a mid-table team?
The black mark against him would once have been Manchester United, but over the last couple of years even that has to be placed in its proper context.
In hindsight, I think they sacked him too early.
The club wasn’t doing well … but then it’s not doing particularly well right now either.
You look at Manchester United at the moment and they appear to be a club in decline.
Moyes didn’t cause that, he was appointed at the moment when it began.
Would he have reversed it?
We never got to find out, but the stability he was hired to provide, that sense of continuity, is now ashes and they’re on their way to sacking Louis Van Gaal and replacing him, if you believe the media, with the always temporary Jose Mourinho.
Consistency? Stability? A long term vision?
Not any longer. That went by the boards they day they sacked the Scotsman after little over a year in post.
David Moyes might well, then, be the most misunderstood manager on these islands and that will have given him the biggest motivation of all … he’s a man now with something to prove, with a reputation to restore, with a name to make all over again.
That’s the kind of man I’d welcome in the Celtic job.
Of course, all of that is conjecture at the moment.
There’s a difference between his being asked by a journalist and being asked by Dermott Desmond, and it feels a little yucky to be talking this way when we still have a big job to do this season.
But as I said earlier, this answers one of the larger questions surrounding our future; would Celtic still attract a top class name?
Is the lure of our club still strong enough?
The answer to that is, as it’s always been, a resounding yes.