Last night, I said that there is at least one very visible sign that our club has no idea who the next manager is going to be.
Today I saw another proof that at least one of our high profile searches has run aground, and if it has then we’ve got real problems.
We have been looking for a Director of Football for longer than we’ve been looking for a new boss. We brought in high profile head-hunters to conduct the search. We held interviews with at least three top tier candidates.
Yet at least one newspaper was apparently encouraged to believe that John Kennedy was in the running for the job.
If the silence on the new manager is ominous, it may well be that the silence on this matter is even worse.
Because whilst there might be valid reasons for waiting on Howe and his backroom team, there are no excuses that can be offered up for the failure to close a deal and get somebody in for the role which will serve as the head of the manager’s support network and bridge the gap between him and the board, assuring that the team is separate from the money men.
So what’s the delay?
What’s the problem here?
And why might it be a big deal?
Well, for openers our failure to get someone in suggests that there is a real problem inside our club, and some disagreement over whether we want someone in the role.
Hey, either that or we insulted the candidate we chose to the extent they turned us down, sending us back to the drawing board. It is clear that this role is needed; I am really concerned there’s no deal done.
Let me posit a scenario; what if there’s been a decision inside Celtic that we’re not going to bother hiring a director of football anymore? Further to this, imagine that Lawwell remains on the board, just not in the CEO’s role.
Would you be concerned that in fact he’d snatched some control over the football department, and was acting in that role without any further distractions or pressures on his time? I know I would be.
It concerns me enough that he might find some excuse to hang around Parkhead like a bad smell.
If we aren’t putting in place the proper footballing structure, I’d be worried about exactly what that meant, and what part Lawwell intended to play at Celtic Park.
Does it sound ridiculous? When you think about it isn’t so daft.
Without clear lines of demarcation between the football department and the rest of the club that kind of interference can’t be ruled out.
When you look at the Celtic statement closely today there is a scary omission from it; it talks about hiring the new manager “and relevant football staff” but there is no word in there whatsoever about the director of football role.
That, coupled with the delay in naming someone to this post, in spite of conducting a lengthy and doubtless expensive search, is gravely concerning to me. I think it’s possible that we’re having issues filling that post.
I think it’s entirely possible that we won’t bother to. How long does it take to convince a Manchester City youth scout to take the gig? David Webb is unemployed. Howe’s favourite guy, Richard Hughes, would take the job in a minute.
I suppose it’s possible that we aim to announce the whole “dream team” at the same time, but in fact this would be another ludicrous waste of time. The Director of Football role involves hiring the support structure for the management team; the head of scouting, the performance analysts, the technical director if we’re having one, the head of recruitment … we can’t start rebuilding the infrastructure until we have a professional in that role.
I accentuate that word – a professional – very carefully; Lawwell is a pen-pusher, and it was his decision making in this area just last season which fed into the general disaster of this campaign.
One of the reason’s we’re in this mess is that the structure Lawwell built only a year or so back has been proved unfit for purpose and is being dismantled.
We need major clear-outs at every level of the club, not more “friends of the man” in those jobs.
Apart from having Gavin Strachan on the coaching team one of the former manager’s other sons is a scout; are we running a charity on behalf of the CEO’s mates or are we a serious club?
This is why you appoint a knowledgeable person for that job; he will hire people on merit, not on who their daddies are, and if we’ve ditched this idea the fans should be told that.
If we haven’t then the question as to why we’ve not appointed someone to the role yet is at least as pressing as the one about the manager.