Right now, as I write this, Eddie Howe remains the favourite for the Newcastle job.
Eddie Howe, who even when he was a Celtic candidate I was happy to state was not a top drawer boss.
Celtic won’t ever get a top drawer candidate, not under this board, not whilst we’re operating in Scotland.
But the club from Geordie Land now sees itself as a top drawer club.
That’s one of the reasons why a surface reading of this appointment might make it seem as if it’s somewhat bizarre, and it is definitely unusual in a number of ways. If a new regime’s first appointment is about a statement of intent and catching the eye,
Howe isn’t exactly the calibre of name you would go for to do that.
The whole thing smells “temporary.”
The irony is, if Howe ends up taking it he’ll know he wasn’t the first choice just as Ange does.
But whereas our gaffer has the fall-back of knowing he was at least the second choice, and that most fans agree that he was, indeed, the right choice Howe doesn’t even have that luxury at St James’. He wasn’t the second choice, or the third choice either.
How far down the list was he? Pretty damned far, that’s for sure.
They had an array of continental bosses they wanted to talk to.
But some said no before proper discussions were had.
The position of at least some of them was summed up by Jurgen Klopp who said that Newcastle will soon have the status of a super-club but that he personally would not feel very comfortable working there because of their owners.
Others – and I already said I suspect Rodgers is one of them – want to see what way the wind blows. If Newcastle look as if they can carry it off and become contenders then top managers who might, right now, not be inclined to go for the post will take it more seriously.
At the moment, it’s a place where careers go to die and until that changes there will be wariness.
So having worked their way through the names who don’t even want to present for an interview, Newcastle has been painstakingly talking to what’s left of the A list and wearily working their way through the B names.
Down somewhere, near the bottom of that file, is Eddie Howe.
If that’s a harsh assessment, remember that the B list contains the names of the really top up and coming managers from around Europe; last year’s list that would have had names like Julian Nagelsmann on it. He’s now at Bayern. His fellow Bundesliga boss Marsch is still on that list.
Just being in that company is a sign of how good you are.
Good, but not great. Potential, but without yet having popped.
Now, Howe may or may not eventually get this gig. We have to remember how notoriously hard he is to deal with, how hot and cold he might blow. We also have to consider that Newcastle are desperate right now and most managers know that.
Could Howe attempt to squeeze them, and then find that these are people who don’t like to be squeezed?
Imagine they have to ditch the B list entirely, including our Ange, and move onto the C list.
It could happen.
They could find themselves having to chase names who would never, ever have been in the running before.
Names who shouldn’t be in the running now … but a desperate club who knows that this appointment is no longer a statement of intent but a holding role until someone better comes along might not necessarily have issues with going to the C list for a name.
Work your way down that list, and the media might yet get to write its story about Newcastle and Gerrard.
Because if you go far enough down the managerial ladder there he’ll be.
But you’ll get to Lennon first.
And Steve Clarke.
And Jack Ross.
And others who would bite their arms for off for the job.
But eventually, yes, you’ll get to the Ibrox boss, which is why I presume there are people in our media who think having Sam Allardyce urging him not to consider it, a job he hasn’t been offered and wont’ be, is actually news.