As I said a few weeks back, there’s no point in getting excited over media inspired deadlines.
There is no point in being pissed off with the club over them either.
The road is clear to the appointment, as all the key issues are resolved. Except one.
Contracts have expiry dates. It stands to reason that if there’s still a deal binding Howe or his staff to Bournemouth that it will expire at the end of the month rather than with a week of it to go.
I thought the announcement might be made this week, but I was never under any illusions that an actual piece of paper would be signed if there were still agreements running.
The club is in a race against time, but the only people we’re racing are ourselves at this point.
Provided Howe has agreed to it and his word is his bond, there’s almost something … admirable? … about the way the club is basically carrying on without showing concern.
I have given my club a hard, hard time over this pursuit. But imagine it’s what the few journalists who know something have said it is; talks went well a month or so ago, Howe has said yes, Celtic think he’s the best candidate and the rest is waiting for the pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place. What are we giving them a hard time over?
Much of it is the media. Idiotic ex-players who are so far removed from the centre of events that they don’t know what’s going on inside the walls.
Howe isn’t waiting for some other club.
I did a piece on the clubs of the EPL who Howe might conceivably be interested in, and there has been one club in each category – Palace, Wolves, Spurs – who’ve lost their managers in the last few months … and he hasn’t opened talks with a single one of them.
In fact, the English media – who know more than ours do – has never seriously suggested that he’s interested or been interested in any of those jobs.
It looks as if Howe already has his next career move decided on; he’s coming to Celtic Park. I don’t doubt it for a second.
If Howe is the best candidate – and he’s one of the best we are likely to get – then the rest is about when he finally signs on the dotted line. I know we’re running out of time; that’s obvious to anyone who looks at it.
But if contracts are what’s standing in the way the only thing we can do is honour them; the timeframe isn’t entirely in our hands.
Why, some will ask, are Celtic allowing this to drag on?
There’s only one reason that makes any sense at all; we’re convinced that we’ve got the guy and that he’s the best guy.
And if the club gets Howe then no-one should be accusing us of having made a mess of the pursuit, because if the issue is the contracts then how exactly did we screw up?
We looked for the best candidates, identified the one we wanted and followed the process. That’s it. Howe himself explicitly ruled out taking a job until the summer, so we had to respect that as well.
As long as he’s the guy and we have it in the bag.
The announcement is coming. It can’t be delayed much longer.
Next week there’ll be no more reason to. The final obligations will have been met. The English season will officially be over with the play-off final. The contracts which exist will no longer matter.
Season ticket forms are out today; the club will pay a price for not having this done already.
Does anyone really think this scenario is ideal? But the club is not working to its own schedule here, that much is clear, and nor do we appear to be waiting for a guy who’s waiting for another offer.
All the evidence suggests that it’ll be Howe … and the last obstacles to go.
The wait is nearly over.
I don’t think I want to beat the club up over what’s an extra few days.