Earlier in the month, this website published a piece about the various candidates for manager who have been promoted by former players at our club. God, they are awful for the most part, although there are one or two interesting options in there.
These so-called options are widely echoed in the media, but their focus in even more narrow and even more insular and nowhere near as imaginative.
I am not even going to explore the list of them properly; I’m only going to say that if the club believes that either the hacks or our former players are representative of fan opinion we’re in trouble.
A lot of these candidates have one of two things in common; Irish passports or a prior playing history at Parkhead. I find this not only unimaginative but insulting.
What scares me is that the board chose Lennon on exactly that basis, and there’s a nagging suspicion that neither O’Neill nor Rodgers was chosen as the absolute best candidate but because they “got us.”
But in truth, these guys were chosen because they were the best available men for the job.
I couldn’t care less what nationality or inclination the next Celtic manager has; I only care that he can deliver, that he does deliver. I want him to come with a CV that blows us away, but experience at the top level of the game and a history of over-achieving will do nicely.
It’s why Eddie Howe is an excellent choice.
It’s why Martinez would be the best choice.
It’s why guys like Keane probably wouldn’t make the top ten names if you were polling our supporters, in spite of his playing for us, being a diehard fan and being Irish into the bargain.
That criteria, however, might just be enough for Dermot Desmond to give him the gig.
More worrying, by far, is the idea that Desmond might see Keane as a counterweight to Gerrard’s name and reputation, or that someone like Lampard – neither Irish not with a prior connection to Celtic – might be a good bet for the same reasons.
For all the excitement over ideas like these which exists amongst the hacks, it’s doubtful that you’d get more than a handful of votes for them amongst the same fan polls.
The same applies to a candidate like Larsson, designed only to tug on the heartstrings but not in the least justified by his football managerial CV. Such a choice would be an appalling risk.
No less worrying is another idea that nags at a lot of us, and which is expressed in stories about the likes of Maresca; the suspicion that Lawwell and Desmond may have one last experiment to foist upon us, one last shot at them playing Football Manager for real, with our club. The idea that these men, who think they’ve developed footballers and can spot “the next big thing” amongst players can turn their hand to uncovering outstanding managers.
The next guy needs to have some sort of pedigree; the board isn’t going to get away with hiring an assistant, some guy who’s never managed a first team game in his career. I don’t care how highly recommended he is, or what system they build around him. The next manager of Celtic has to be someone who has proved he can handle the job.
Rodgers was one of the best upcoming managers in the game.
Martin O’Neill had turned Wycombe into winners.
He had worked miracles at Leicester, with two League Cup triumphs and another final place.
There was not the slightest doubt that these were men capable of improving Celtic out of sight.
Both won trebles in their very first campaign.
Their reputations, prior to coming to Parkhead, were the reason they were sought after … their backgrounds and the flag on their passports had only the most peripheral interest to most fans.
According to some reports, we are seeking O’Neill’s input into who the next manager should be. I would expect that he’ll have some ideas, and I would be shocked if the likes of Eddie Howe were not on the list.
I doubt he would opt for someone like Keane; like us, he’ll know that there’s a certain advantage to be had in hiring someone who can maintain and emotional distance from the club and events surrounding it.
That might be critical.
Much of the media’s “enthusiasm” for some of the dafter ideas is clearly rooted in a desire to see us heading down the wrong path.
Some of the ex-Celt’s who have chipped in – Charlies Nicholas put forward five names and all of them were terrible – shouldn’t be listened to even if they say the sky is blue and the grass is green.
These guys don’t represent even the furthest fringes of opinion; how major organisations like Sky think these guys are remotely qualified to talk intelligently about the game I will never, ever know.
The club must not believe, for one second, that any of these people are speaking for anyone but themselves.
For damned sure, none of them are speaking for us.
[snack-countdown title=”Celtic’s Countdown To Champions League Disaster” date=”06/20/2021″ time=”00:00:00″ colour=”#000″ textColour=”#FFF”]