The Eddie Howe saga, which already has more twists than a season of Line Of Duty, took another one this afternoon when prominent journalist Alan Nixon said that Eddie Howe has told people he knows that he is taking the job at Celtic Park.
Now, as Nixon points out, this was a few days back and things might have changed, but Celtic were still confident last night of doing the deal and let’s be honest, if Howe has told people in his circle that he is going to be at Parkhead then the writing is on the wall if not down on a contract just yet.
That doesn’t sound like someone still making up his mind.
There might well be a couple of issues still to iron out.
Telling the media that there are other options is his way of telegraphing the idea that he and his client are ready to walk away from the table as a last resort, and that’s all this is, it’s a negotiating tactic.
This is a hardnosed business, as we know too well, and a deal isn’t done until the contracts are signed and filed with the governing bodies. A handshake agreement isn’t really worth the paper it’s not printed on, except in the arena of honour and personal integrity.
And according to reports last week, Howe has told Celtic he’s coming.
Nixon’s report suggests that he’s told people around him the same thing.
Now, Celtic is entitled to consider that binding even if it’s not legally so. The club is entitled to believe in the man’s word.
As I said earlier, I reckon the next week will decide this one way or another; Celtic cannot allow this to drag on and it’s not in Howe’s interests either because we have to be equally prepared to walk away from the table and I have no doubt that we would be.
Whatever the outstanding issues are, they are not insurmountable nor non-negotiable; I won’t think we’d even have a verbal agreement and a handshake deal if they were.
There are things which need resolving, that’s obvious … but I have not wavered for my belief that this deal will get over the line, in part because I think Howe is an honourable man and if he’s given those verbal agreements he will stick to them.
On top of that, whatever John Kennedy said at that presser today, he has to know, and Celtic has to know, that it simply isn’t tenable to ask fans to buy season tickets when this is all up in the air.
What supporters need is some certainty, and of course the players do as well. Dragging the feet on this has already cost us Scott Brown for another year … this can’t go on much longer.