When Tom Petty said that “the waiting is the hardest part” he knew what he was talking about.
With the news about Eddie Howe being the frontrunner now confirmed by every outlet and journalist who can talk with someone inside Parkhead, and with it looking increasingly likely that he has agreed, at least in principle, to take the job we’re left with the wait.
These things rarely get announced over the weekend.
There are stock market considerations and other such stuff. We have a game tonight, in the Scottish Cup, and so the chances are high that it’ll be Monday at the earliest before we get the official puff of white smoke from the Parkhead chimney.
I think we’ll probably get this deal over the line now.
The press has been so well briefed on it that people inside Celtic Park would have to go and hide under the bed for a lifetime if this all fell apart now, but let’s not kid ourselves on; it’s been that kind of season, full of the sort of reversals that make such a scenario seem not just realistic but horribly real.
So for the next few days many of us will monitor every beat and bar of the news and stress at the idea that Newcastle or some other club in the EPL will fire their manager and make Howe an offer he can’t refuse and that the “verbal agreement” will prove to not be worth the paper it isn’t printed on. Until it’s in writing it’s not official. Until it’s signed it isn’t real.
A lot can still go wrong here. We’ve seen this happen with transfer deals. So there will be a little tension and some in the media might even try to make trouble for us and cast up some doubts.
They might dig out some people who try to spook us with negative stories.
They’ve already tried, but the likes of Graham Alexander didn’t play ball and talked the man up.
But they won’t give up as a result of that. They’ll try again and again.
On top of that, rumours will be rife. We all know this.
There will be talk that Howe is in town and that he isn’t. Talk that he’s in London or Geordie Land or somewhere else talking to other clubs. There will be speculation.
We may all entertain our worst fears; Keane or Kennedy having to get the job because we put everything into Howe and couldn’t close it.
What’s for certain is this; don’t listen to the “in the knows.”
This isn’t done until we get the word from Celtic Park. This isn’t complete until he’s sitting at the presser and talking about his pride and pleasure at being in the role, and outlining his plans.
I believe it will happen. Now I’m just waiting for it.
I know the next few days will be torture and if it drags out into the middle of next week I expect the whole timeframe to be like a little slice of Hell. Yet at the end of it I do think Eddie Howe will be the manager of Celtic.
And then the rebuild can start. I cannot wait to write about it all, to chart our upward trajectory, to cover the journey back to our rightful place at the summit of the game.