Amidst the ridiculous speculation coming from London as manager after manager rejects the call from Spurs, Ange spoke about the summer transfer business at Celtic on Tuesday, and every word he said was suggestive of a man who sees his future at Parkhead.
I may be completely reading the runes wrong here, but everything I see tells me that we’re going to get a post-cup final announcement of the sort we’ll enjoy. A manager committing his future to the club by signing a new deal.
It doesn’t matter how many Australians Spurs have on the books; every decision will be taken there by Daniel Levy, and that means whoever gets the job is putting his destiny in the hands of a guy who cannot be trusted with it.
If it’s even offered to him – and I still have my doubts because I don’t detect any sign that Spurs are a club which knows what it’s doing here or what it wants, and this would be a momentously unpopular decision amongst their fans – then Ange Postecoglou would be a fool to take that job. It is inherently unstable. He has spent decades building his profile. He can throw everything he’s worked for away in a very short space of time.
That’s the problem with a reputation; it takes forever to gain but you can lose it in the blink of an eye, and that includes his rep as a man of character.
Let me be blunt; if Ange leaves us before he signs a long-term contract that gives us the protection of a large buy-out clause then I’ll be pretty pissed off because I don’t believe that Celtic has not offered him that kind of deal. The opportunities he has right now are the ones this club gave him, not only in taking a chance on him but in backing him all the way.
He is already the most lavishly funded Celtic boss in history. The next step is to make him our highest paid. I have little doubt that the club would follow the first up with the second without hesitation. He has more than earned it.
I would expect a man of integrity to reward that backing with at least the bare minimum of loyalty, and that’s not about staying for five more years but about giving us some insurance for the moment the right offer comes along.
Anything less and we’re entitled to be pretty pissed off.
What’s more, all involved should dissuade themselves of any notion that the offer, if it comes, will be based on the merits of the man. It won’t be. Spurs did not work their way through a list of candidates and decide he was the best one.
They worked their way through a long line of other names who, one by one, rejected them. Levy preferred all those guys to Ange, so this is not the result of some meritocratic process; it’s more like an act of desperation, a manager with a good rep who they can hire cheap and who they think is unlikely to say no.
That, in itself, makes it a rank rotten gig to take. Fan opposition, which was much easier to overcame amongst a Celtic fan-base which knows we can’t attract a world class name, is another big problem because any boss is going to need time to get it right and time is not a luxury EPL bosses are afforded anymore and especially not those which look like a gamble in the first place.
Who knows whether Levy would give the guy serious funds or serious support? He could be moving for Ange on the basis that it’s a risk, but not as expensive a one as other managers might have been, and so an easy experiment to hit the brakes on if it doesn’t look, early doors, like it will pay off. Don’t put it past Levy. He was negotiating with Slot this time last week. The same report which names Ange says he’s also talking to Luis Enrique. Anyone who believes that their club has suddenly found vision and purpose is kidding themselves on.
None of it convinces me. I believe Ange has more integrity than to walk away leaving us a pittance, I think Levy is all over the map and certainly can’t afford to offer it to Ange if there’s the slightest possibility of his turning it down; think of the epic humiliation of an act like that. We all know that there’s a chance that Ange would turn it down.
Because Ange is talking about the rebuild as if he’s going to be here to oversee it, and there are no signs at all that he won’t be. As much as Spurs might be interested, he’s already pointed out that just because the offer (to go to England) presents itself that he’d automatically take it. The idea that because there are a couple of Aussies in the building at Spurs that this is a lock is so stupid and one dimensional that I can hardly believe anyone is taking it seriously.
We have Champions League Group Stage football. If Ange can push us forward and prove himself a manager at that level, he will get his EPL offer from the kind of club which has a progressive outlook and isn’t prone to serial sacking … or he’ll get one in another league where he’ll have a chance to prove himself without the ludicrous EPL spotlight.
I think the man knows how precarious the Spurs post would be. I think he knows he’s got total control at Celtic for as long as he wants it and the chance to be considered an icon here. I think of the two gambles – stay at Celtic and risk never getting an EPL club or go to Spurs and risk a collapse which rules you out of a major job ever again – the move to England at the moment is the greater one, and I genuinely think he’s happy at Parkhead.
This is where the Rodgers comparisons never stood up and don’t stand up now. Rodgers was plainly unhappy at Celtic and made that known both publicly and privately. There were signs for months that it had all gone wrong behind the scenes.
There are no signs like that now. I don’t believe we’re about to lose our manager. I think Spurs face another epic humiliation if they ask him. That’s why I still think they won’t.