I’ve held fire on talking about Eddie Howe because we hadn’t yet got over the line with a new boss, and although my enthusiasm is not exactly sky high over the guy we did get, there’s something here that needs to be said in relation to the one that got away.
I still reckon Celtic screwed up here, but only by waiting.
We gave Howe more respect than he was entitled to.
Where was our self-respect?
Where was the notion that Celtic is a big club? I think we made a mess of it because we didn’t impose a deadline on him to give us an answer. I think we’d have been able to move on a lot quicker if we had.
Howe has escaped criticism and scrutiny because we’re such a shambles.
But Postecoglou’s decision to come to Celtic shines a light, finally, on what Howe did here.
The perception that Howe looked at the job and thought it was too big for him, whether in terms of the rebuild or just the size of the club itself, is very real and alive.
This was the risk he was always taking by delays and delays and delays.
There is no guarantee he will ever get a job of this stature now.
Certainly, he will get the money.
If some EPL club takes him on at some point, he’ll be well compensated in his comfort zone.
But turning down Celtic will haunt him for the rest of his career, and in particular the idea that he bottled out.
Whatever else you might say about Postecoglou, he is a believer in himself.
He had no hesitation in moving from Australia to Greece and from there back home again.
He had no hesitation in moving from Australia to Japan, where there was a language to learn and a new culture to embrace.
This guy isn’t afraid to take chances, he’s not scared of the size of this job.
You can say it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down … but he could have, you know.
He’s crossing two continents to come here, he’s uprooting his whole life.
At 55, this is it for him, a career do-or-die moment.
Yet he’s upped sticks without hesitation.
He’s grabbing it with boths hands, moving himself and his family from all the way on the other side of the world.
Howe wouldn’t move up the M6.
The excuse offered by he and his “advisors” about not wanting to move up here without his mates would be tragic and pathetic if it hadn’t also proved to be extremely costly to our club and to its reputation.
But the damage to his own reputation might be far worse.
At the very least he has a reputation for being indecisive and unsure of himself.
If you wanted to paint a more negative picture, you could say that he behaved thoroughly dishonestly.
We shouldn’t have hung around either way; his behaviour doesn’t excuse our incompetence as a club.
But our incompetence as a club doesn’t let him off either, and nor should it.
History will judge him harshly for it, if history even recalls him at all.
When he looks in the mirror he knows whether he bottled it or not.
The rest of the game simply presumes that he did.
In contrast, Postecoglou will never be accused of that.
That’s one charge nobody will ever make stick.
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