Before this week closes out, Celtic will almost certainly have appointed a new manager. It’s been seven days now since Postecoglou confirmed that he was taking over at Spurs, bringing to an end whatever subterfuge and nonsense had been going on there. The final act did not shock anyone at Celtic Park; most of our higher ups had been walking about in a daze for at least a fortnight.
That, of course, gave us some sort of lead time to work with. Without a doubt, those running Celtic have been very busy and conducting their business in a number of countries. We know Lawwell himself was in Istanbul. We know that Nicholson was in Mallorca. We know that others have interviewed for the job, whether using modern technology or in person.
So we’re getting down to it now, and I would be lying if I said I could predict how this is going to go. The club is moving towards this decision but we’ve not arrived at it yet. There are reports that the guy some of the board want is yet to be convinced. Perhaps we need to discuss him at some point. I keep putting that off, but I know that I might have to.
If he gets the job, then I certainly have to talk about him. If it looks as if he’s on the brink of it I will probably need to do an article on it before it becomes Fact. But we didn’t send the two top people on the business side of Celtic out there on a private jet as a courtesy, no matter what some susceptible people might believe, or might want the rest of us to believe.
That issue is live. It is real. It’s as real as the Maresca interest is, and nobody should be kidding on about it. As mad as it would have seemed just a week ago, it is now a prospect to be taken very seriously indeed. I won’t write about it until it is more than that, but if people want to know what I think about it in the here and now I don’t mind saying; I would support it a thousand times before I would welcome some experimental candidate with no history of success.
The psyche of this support has taken a real beating over the last few weeks. It would be better for us, by far, if we kept our feelings about the next guy on a purely transactional basis. A little distrust will fortify us against any future shocks. It’s easier if you don’t trust the guy to begin with.
It’s an exciting time. We have a number of promising candidates and a few who I’d rather had fallen by the wayside before ever getting this far. We are certainly doing a lot more than just focussing on one or two names; there are some who are fan favourites I wish the drumbeat was louder about. Top of that list is Knutsen, who I think all of us agree is amongst the outstanding candidates for the job, and I would love to think that we have made a serious pitch to him.
But the imperative of the ticking clock virtually guarantees that this week will provide us with an answer one way or the other. We cannot have this enter another week; one is fine, two is a club making sure that the due diligence is complete. Three weeks, with everything that needs to be done before the new campaign starts … that’s an overabundance of caution which starts to become a threat to the stability of the pre-season. That we can do without.
We’re in the end-zone with this process. All that’s left now is to wait for the proverbial white smoke. The directors must have a fair idea who it’s going to be. More on that later.