The big debate amongst the fans right now seems to centre on whether or not we should wait for Eddie Howe or cut him loose. We’re sticking a poll on the bottom of this piece, and on every one for the next few days to see what the readers think.
But most of us already suspect that the answer will be no to giving him more time, because it looks as if the mood of the supporters in the main is not to be patient and wait for an answer.
With the big clock ticking inexorably towards next season we’re all aware that time is the one thing we’ve not got because the board has wasted so much of it already.
Is Howe dragging his feet, or is Celtic the reason that things have stalled? Is it a combination of both? Does any of it matter when all people can hear is the countdown in the background?
We’re below seventy days now before the Champions League qualifiers and we have the Euros in between them. Even with a super-slick operation we might not be ready.
Does it look like we have a super-slick operation at Celtic right now? Absolutely not.
We look incapable of getting our act together. Let’s face it, if we were we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. The expedited process to bring Dominic McKay to the club looks more and more like his riding to the rescue than his wanting to learn the ropes early; this guy will have to own whatever these disaster artists leave behind.
No wonder he wants a seat at the table as the big decisions are being made. If he can speed things up, all the better.
You can’t really imagine him making things any worse, right?
So unless we seal a deal this coming week, the burning question is probably going to be how long do we wait for Eddie Howe?
Now, this presupposes that a deal isn’t already done behind the scenes and is just not announced yet; we can probably rule that out, because other than escaping the obvious questions about why he isn’t starting right away, and having to live with the insinuations that he’s “already running scared” there’s no clear upside to keeping this under wraps.
Besides, those questions do have answers and they are easy enough for most people to comprehend; this isn’t Howe’s team and he shouldn’t need to carry the can at the end of a disastrous campaign he’s not responsible for.
It wouldn’t be right to expect him to save this season on short notice, and it certainly wouldn’t be fair to hang failure around his neck if he can’t.
Assume, then, that this deal is still in the balance; McKay’s first big decision is going to come down to how long he wants to sit around twiddling his thumbs whilst an enormous part of the restructuring remains up in the air, and effectively up for grabs.
If Howe isn’t at Parkhead by the time McKay starts that’s item one on the to-do list and he will be well aware of the price we all might pay for further delays and dithering.
It’s not the way he wants to start off.
One suspects that he will force the pace up a notch and if that means that we tear up Howe’s offer and move swiftly to Plan B then I think, at this point, most of us will accept that … which isn’t to say we aren’t going to want answers as to what exactly went wrong. It’s just that those matters will wait whilst we fix the bigger problem.
The other thing McKay will know, above and beyond what we do with Howe, is that if it’s not him in the dugout then another unifying candidate is essential; it’s not going to be easy to sell the fans on a Roy Keane or John Kennedy option, or some compromise candidate like Jack Ross or someone of that ilk.
There are names out there who’d tick that box.
Paddy Sinat over at Vital Celtic threw an interesting name into that hat last night; Carlos Queiroz, the former Real Madrid manager.
This doesn’t seem based on much more than his name appearing on the bookies list of favourites, but he’s another example of a left-field option proving that the potential talent pool is bigger, and better, than the handful of names we keep tossing around.
Certainly he’s a more intriguing option than a Steve Clarke would be, right?
There are options. There are lots of options. Even with time of the essence, fans are not going to accept another Lennon style yes-man getting the gig, not when there are far better names out there who we probably haven’t even considered yet.
Of course, the time to start putting together a deep list was month ago, but hey-ho we are where we are and we may have to improvise this as we go.
But there’s a perception being put about by some of the press that Howe is all our eggs in one basket and that if we don’t go with him we’re stuck with a Worst Case Scenario; this is far from the truth, and if Howe himself has bought into that, it might be time to remind him of who we are. Indeed, it might be that doing is not just due but overdue.
Ladies and gentlemen, the floor is yours. Please cast your votes.
How Much Longer Should We Give Eddie Howe?
A few more days
Middle of next week
End it now and move on
End of the season