Earlier this evening, I was delighted to be a guest on the Endless Celts podcast, where amongst the subjects up for discussion were the appointments of a director of football and, we presume, Eddie Howe as the next manager.
One of the key points we discussed was Eddie Howe’s apparent suggestion that the director of football role be filled by Richard Hughes, who worked with him at Bournemouth.
You can check it out at the bottom of the piece.
This comes as Dominic McKay leaves his role at the SRU early so that he might take up his post at Celtic Park at once, or at least get his feet under the table even as Lawwell heads towards the exit.
For those who have wondered if it’s strange that Dominic McKay wanted to come to Celtic “early”, I would suggest that it would be much stranger if he hadn’t.
Our club is in a period of profound change right now.
Change for the better, almost certainly. I wonder if our so-called rivals across town, and their acolytes, have grasped yet how much better off we might be when this period of transition ends?
McKay is a highly intelligent man, a man who has charted his own course without compromise. He is said to be a skilled operator and networker; that’s code for a politician.
I hope that he is; for all he was lauded, Lawwell never was much of one.
A man like McKay will know that you cannot leave your destiny in the hands of other people.
He was not going to come in to oversee a structure he had no hand in helping to build; that’s chaining your own fate to the decisions that were made by those on their way out the door as you were coming in.
No smart leader would bind himself to that.
There is a reason why political leaders scoff at pre-election budgets and departmental reviews; they know that if they are voted out of office all the work that went into those things is going straight to the bin. It’s the same here.
Dominic McKay wants to be here when the big decisions, the critical decisions, are made.
He wants to be not only in the room, observing from a seat against the wall, but with actual skin in the game and a say in what goes on. He is not the only one who will feel that way.
One of the consequences of not yet having hired a director of football is that Eddie Howe wants his own seat at the table.
He wants a say in who that mighty figure is going to be.
I don’t know if he’s gone so far, or is prepared to go as far, as to make it conditional on his accepting the job, but let’s not pretend that it would be a great shock if he had.
Because this is the person he’s going to work most closely with, and it’s just good sense that he would prefer to work with somebody he knows, trusts and respects rather than a total stranger.
McKay will want a say in both of those decisions; he doesn’t want to come in when the director of football and the manager have already been appointed. What if those decisions go wrong?
A man will pay for his own mistakes, most of the time, but nobody would willingly put himself into a scenario where he might pay the price for somebody else’s.
The way this has all panned out looks lop-sided and mad from the outside; the way this should have worked is that the CEO should have come in, he should have hired the director of football and between the two of them they should have hired the manager. It might well be that this was how it was meant to go; what a mess we make even of the simple stuff.
This is why we’ve gotten ourselves into the position of having the prospective manager of the club coming to negotiations with his own ideas about who his direct superior should be; our way of doing things is positively anarchic.
Hopefully, this is the last time for this kind of nonsense.
McKay wanted to be driving the process and Howe refuses to be a prisoner of it.
These are the kind of men I want at Celtic Park, men with enough confidence in their own visions, men determined not to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors, that they are grabbing the controls.
This is leadership, and it’s a sign that as screwed up as the order might seem to be that two out of the three senior roles are going to be filled with just the kind of decisive figures the place is crying out for.
That gives me confidence that the third will be too.