A long while back, my old man was at a game in the Celtic Park directors box when he saw Martin O’Neill arrive. The Irishman had been away from Celtic for a while at that point and he was already re=employed at Aston Villa.
At that moment, someone sitting not far from my old man in the stands said “You know he’s still getting paid by Celtic?”
And that was a surprise to my dad, because he had thought, at the time, when you left a club that was it.
But that’s not how certain contracts work at certain clubs and for the last week or so, as the rumour mill has been running on full, some suggestions have surfaced that perhaps this explains the Eddie Howe delay and what Celtic and the man are up to.
There are lot of things in these contracts.
That’s not uncommon in the game; the purpose is to prevent managers just up and quitting and going to the next port of call, entitled the club itself to nothing.
We would never have gotten what we did from the Rodgers departure if he had been allowed to just resign and then start work over there.
One of the things that prevented it was his loyalty bonus from Celtic.
Without a guarantee that this money would be paid to Rodgers he would not have just up and left. Leicester would have had to take the sum of that off our hands and pay it to Rodgers. Since it was contracted in, and money we owed him as part of the deal, it probably made up part of their “release fee.”
Martin wasn’t fired by Celtic, but we allowed him to leave and continued paying up his deal even after he had found another job … an honourable course of action and a measure of respect for the man himself.
But maybe Bournemouth’s deal with Howe was structured in a different way.
Maybe those payments stop when he’s hired somewhere else.
This is speculation of course, but we never pretend otherwise on this site. We don’t make grandiose and extravagant claims here about contacts and sources. When we have something iron clad to report we’ll report it as iron clad … everything else is opinion, but more often than not it is considered opinion based on the evidence.
Celtic has done this sort of thing before; we’ve waited until contracts had expired before we signed people up. We have delayed done deals until we could avoid paying a few quid.
If we’ve gone to Howe and said “we’ll meet your demands, but if Bournemouth are paying you until the end of this campaign we’ll just leave them to that and have you when they no longer are” that would not be in the least bit surprising.
You could even say that it was “good business.”
And perhaps it’s as simple as that.
Maybe the hand-shake agreement is as far as we can without having to write Howe or Bournemouth a big fat cheque, which we won’t do for the sake of a few more weeks.
I could argue – and I would argue – that it would be better if we did write those cheques because a few more weeks is time we don’t have to waste … but this board and especially the current CEO only ever care about the bottom line, and that means the money.
I still think it’ll be Howe.
All the signs that matter point to it.
All that remains to be seen is the reason for the delay, and we might never know what it was.
But if you’re wondering then this should perhaps be part of your thinking.
We may simply be following his wishes and any deal he has with his previous club.