In eight days time the long nightmare is over.
The season, which has been a calamity almost from the night Neil Lennon slagged his own players off in front of the media in the wake of the Ferencvaros defeat, will end on a flat note with every Celtic supporter glad to see the back of it.
It should have been the year of triumph.
Mistakes at every level of Celtic’s house have conspired to rob the fans of it; the fans are the only people to emerge from the season with a shred of self-respect.
The fans have had a harder time than anyone at the club. I know there is a lot of self-pitying nonsense at the top of our house, people thinking they are being hard done by. I know the likes of Desmond sneers at us with contempt. Not half as much as we have for him.
The fans are the ones who’ve truly suffered, the people who put everything into the club instead of taking out of it.
In the absence of information – whether it’s our fan reps not giving it to us or the club itself ignoring all calls for openness – we’ve had to make do with speculation.
The latest round of it has, for some reason, delivered a fresh deadline of expectation.
; I’m as guilty as anyone of this idea that we should be watching for a certain date but I think I’ve learned my lesson on that score. There are no “in the knows” this time, just a lot of people randomly throwing darts at the board.
Every time we’ve reached one of these points where the rumour mill buzzed about a certain deadline or expected moment we’ve been wrong. Before the cup game at Ibrox seemed logical. After the cup game at Ibrox seemed logical.
Before the league game there sounded reasonably. Everyone I know was eagerly watching for the opening of the stock exchange on Tuesday; nothing came of that either.
These deadlines and others have receded into memory.
Still, we’re no further forward with an appointment.
Still the waiting goes on, with the assumption that we have to have it in the bag already and just won’t announce it … an assumption I warned against last night and will warn against today again.
The new deadline people are watching for is ten days from now, when the stock market opens for business after this horrific season is behind us. Why then and not now?
Because by then Howe will carry none of the responsibility for this disaster.
It’s as if, had we announced him and he came and sat in the stand at Ibrox, that fans would have blamed him for that defeat. The theory that we will announce him after the last ball is kicked and the opening bell goes on the floor of the LSE makes no sense if that’s all there is to back it up. We shouldn’t be waiting for it with baited breath.
Howe could have come in already if this deal was done and nobody would have given him too hard a time over it. We’re not talking, here, about Keir Starmer, a year into a job and still blaming the Last Guy for the mess he’s making of it.
These arbitrary deadlines we keep setting for ourselves only lead to the general sense of chaos.
I don’t believe there will be a big announcement in ten days; I think it’s just as likely that we’ll announce it before then.
It’s also just as likely we’ll announce it after that.
And yes, this is an unusual amount of fence sitting to be doing and I don’t expect prizes for stating the obvious.
Knowing Celtic, I think the most likely theory is also the most ridiculous; that we really are pissing about and waiting to see how much the Bournemouth coaches are going to cost.
This reeks of Last Act Of Peter Lawwell style decision making … we’re willing to squander precious time in aid of saving a few quid. It sounds like something we’d do.
Of course, if we do wait until then that’s 29 May, another three weeks away.
And there’s no guarantee, of course, that Lawwell won’t try another little dodge and low-ball the offer because the club didn’t make the EPL.
It stinks of his cologne … and could easily end in disaster.
We seem wedded to this horrific way of doing things for a while longer yet.
As long as the current CEO wields any influence at all I reckon this is the way things will be.
No club should ever take this long to hire a manager when such a rebuilding job is in front of them.
It is the final disgrace in a campaign full of them.