As we head into tomorrow and what we’re all now certain will be a major announcement, there is a suggestion doing the rounds – I don’t think it’s much more than that – that we should be looking to appoint a management “dream team.” I get the logic, and I like the name people want to bring in to work with the new boss … but still, the idea itself leaves me cold.
The idea is that Martin O’Neill should be brought in and offered a role as director of football or some ambassadorial post to work alongside Rodgers. I totally get what this, on the surface of it, looks like a good plan.
But really, only one of those options is a good one.
What this club needs more than anything is to make Rodgers the manager.
The distinction between that role and the role of “Head Coach” – which is how Postecoglou was recently unveiled at Spurs, and which was not his official designation at Celtic – should be clear.
The manager runs it all. The head coach does the training and picks the tactics and someone else handles the transfers and all that other business. A director of football in other words.
Martin would be excellent to have back at Celtic, but in the ambassadorial role where his day to day contact with Rodgers would be minimal. I cannot think of a better person to act as a figurehead for the club, and I say that with the utmost respect, and affection, for Tom Boyd who does a similar thing right now.
But the real front man is the boss, the man in the dugout, and that’s where the brilliance of Michael Nicholson is clearest in staying out of the limelight … he makes the manager the most important person at Celtic, as he should be.
We have seen what happens when someone interferes with the job of the manager, and although I get that the difference here is that Martin O’Neill is vastly more qualified than Lawwell is to make football decisions, those decisions, ultimately, still belong to the manager himself and we have also seen what life at our club looks like when that is the case.
Because Martin himself had total command of that side of the club, and we were rewarded with some of the best football – and the best players – we were to watch in our lifetimes; club icons like Sutton and Hartson and Lennon and Thompson. A team that did reach a European final. We saw it again these past two seasons with Postecoglou.
It works better than anything else we’ve tried to do.
It is the recipe for real and sustained success, and Martin would probably chafe at the idea if he was in Rodgers’ shoes and we all know it’s the last thing the man himself is going to tolerate for long.