If Eddie Howe accepts the job as Celtic manager, you would imagine that he would start right away.
But we can’t know that for sure.
It might well be that he wants some temporary distance from the manager’s chair so that he can do a proper evaluation of the coaching staff, the scouting department and the first team squad so that he can take over completely on his own terms.
Yet, I understand why the assumption that he’ll start right away persists.
Because what better way could there be to get to the know the team early than to be running it in the here and now? Would we stand a better chance of winning the Scottish Cup with Howe at the helm?
I think we almost certainly would, and what a way to introduce himself.
Ibrox will not have changed his thinking one way or the other. I wrote the bulk of this article before the draw was even made; my suspicion always was that he would not be coming in until the end of the season.
Because imagine taking over this team and having that kind of pressure on you right away? To deliver a trophy with someone else’s squad, to inherit and be judged for someone else’s mess?
Would you do it? Even before the draw I never thought it likely.
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Understand this; I’m not saying that Eddie Howe will delay his start because we’re Ibrox bound in the next round of the cup.
If the announcement says he won’t be here until the next campaign, then that’s been part of the understanding and the negotiations all along. We are a massive club and this is a huge appointment; we’re not putting it off or bringing it forward on the basis of one game.
For better or worse now, I think we’re locked into finishing this one with Kennedy.
This is what I believe. It’s not what I want.
Personally, I would prefer that Howe got down to it right away, but another part of me believes that it wouldn’t be fair on him, that the architects of this shambles should be made to own it all the way to the wire now, and be damned for it as that may be.
Howe can start the work without taking charge of the team. It is vitally important that he be in post; is not so terribly important that he immediately be in office.
Think of this like an American presidential transition. Once Howe is confirmed the handover can start behind the scenes.
All the scouting data can be passed on to him and his guys.
Players who aren’t sure about the futures can be sounded out by the incoming boss and told what they need to know.
Analysis can be done. Key decisions can be made.
I understand the argument that a manger has to do more than see his new charges in videos and in data-logs. As I said, I would prefer if he started at once and took the reins straight away.
But I think it highly improbable that he will.
Questions will be asked either way.
If he doesn’t start, a lot of people will demand to know why. If he does take over right now the key question will be, what should we expect from him? The Scottish Cup and five wins out of five in the league?
Is that a realistic goal?
Is that really the kind of demand we should be making on a guy who hasn’t seen these players in the flesh yet? That he comes in, and in no time at all turns them back into winners again?
Hey, I expect – we all expect – the Scottish Cup and we are entitled to because these players owe us big time. But can we really demand that of a new manager?
Do you think the media would allow him the honeymoon if he came in and failed to close it in the last few weeks of the campaign?
They would be merciless in their denunciation of him, it would be too good an opportunity for them to pass up.
Cast doubt on the appointment.
Get the more rabid in our fan-base foaming at the mouth and doubting him from the off.
Yet I’m tantalised by the possibility of what might lie on the other side of that road; imagine he comes in and blows everyone away with some tactical innovation or new style of play?
Imagine in a handful of weeks he can prove that he’s a winner by going to Ibrox, scalping them and taking the Scottish Cup and parading it as a newly minted, trophy winning, manager with just two months under his belt?
Imagine he goes to Ibrox and wins twice … imagine the shock-waves of fear that would send coursing through the supporters and everyone at the club?
Imagine the close season and the ramping up of the pressure on them?
Wow. You can almost smell it in the air, right?
The chances are we’ll never know.
The smart thing for Howe to do would be to move in quietly behind the scenes and work away as the current management team plays out this little farce to a finish.
By the time the season ends, one way or another, Howe will know everything he needs to and the job of rebuilding our club will already be well underway.