Eddie Howe is getting a lot of advice today, but he doesn’t need any of it. Amidst it all there is a lot of wishful thinking from those of an Ibrox persuasion.
It revolves around this idea that the Celtic job carries with it a unique set of pressures that he has never faced before and which he might find to be overwhelming. He should ignore it all.
Back when Ronny Deila was appointed, he had to listen to all this mystique about the place and about Scottish football. It was used to force him to accept an assistant he didn’t want.
Howe won’t make that mistake, but he will hear a lot of the same nonsense, and let’s not kid ourselves; some of it will be well intentioned.
Our enemies will try to ramp up the pressure on him using these arguments but for the most part this is going to come from our friends.
I understand that they think they are preparing him for something different than what he’s used to, but Howe knows all about pressure. He knows all about the goldfish bowl. He was not named Football League Manager of the Decade in 2015 for nothing.
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Think of the pressure he must have been under at both of his clubs.
Think of the relentless nature of it, and especially in that second spell at Bournemouth where he was expected to go further and achieve more than he managed in his first, which was a pretty amazing time in itself. And he was capable of it and proved it.
Football is the same game no matter where it is played. Footballers are the same the world over. Tactics and strategies are the same wherever they are deployed. A good manager in one country can step up in another, as long as he has gravitas.
Eddie Howe has gravitas. He has a sterling reputation. He will not need to raise his voice to be heard. He will command automatic respect.
Beyond that it’s picking the team and the tactics and finding a winning formula, the same as it was when he was in the EPL. The expectation to win is real, but he will have the players to do justify it. This is not a uniquely difficult set of circumstances.
Eddie Howe will not be under pressure if he fails to win a game. Celtic fans are not stupid. We realise that the job of restructuring this club is going to be enormous. We have been left in one Hell of a state and it’s going to be take time to fix.
Eventually he will have to prove that he’s a winner.
But it was true of Rodgers as well, who arrived at Parkhead without having won a trophy.
It was true of Martin O’Neill, who had won things at Leicester but was nowhere near a league title.
Strachan had never won a thing in his career; his honours at Parkhead were his first (and only ones) as a boss.
But there were pressures at every stage in their careers; they had all managed in England’s top flight for starters, which is how we knew they could handle it. So too has Howe. Which is how he should know that he can.
Do you think the pressures at Bournemouth are less than at Celtic? Different, yes, but were they less? The expectation to win was the same because winning meant staying in the league and netting that cash windfall every single year.
Howe managed it. He should approach this job with confidence and not concern himself with the idea that there are mystical challenges here … the job is the same as it always was. Assemble a team. Win football matches. Build towards winning titles.
He has done it. He will do it again.