The calls for Souness to get the Director of Football gig at Ibrox are brilliant. I hope they go for it. This football dinosaur has no business in the modern game and they might be able to put Clement’s future in his hands.
The drumbeat on this is so loud that I sense there is definitely something going on. This is one deal that I really do want to see them close.
With their determination to bring in a director of football, the attention turns to our own club and our own views on the same subject.
This is one that divides a lot of people. Some think we do need one, to fully separate the Football Department from the bean-counters. Others will say that we’ve got one already, just not the sort we want. A third group would say that we’re better off without it, and that the manager should run that particular show himself.
The first option would, in some ways, be my preferred one.
But it’s the least likely one for Celtic to head down because that would remove some of the power from the likes of Mark Lawwell.
To me, that’s part of the problem. I was against the idea of a director of football until Lawwell Junior on the scene … depending on where the centre of power lies at the club, you would either want this or not.
The small clique which runs things at Celtic wants to keep doing it and they refuse to accept that they could be wrong.
A director of football would have to be a football man. That’s one of the things that Ibrox would be doing right in bringing Souness in.
But he has to be more than just a football man; someone who has been around the game isn’t enough. There are technical aspects to that job which Ibrox would be trusting to a rank amateur. I can’t see how that ends well.
And the difficulty is, there aren’t a lot of people out there with that sort of experience. Actually, only one guy comes to mind and we wouldn’t want him; Gordon Strachan, who does know that side of the business as he’s been a technical director (a different thing from a DOF but close enough that he’d be instantly recognised as capable).
We could, I suppose, leave the system as it presently is. Which is something I don’t think any of us is particularly happy with right now.
Lawwell and Sons shouldn’t be near this process, and there’s a notable drop in the quality of the signings since Junior got his hands on the controls. I would much prefer it if these people were removed from decision making almost entirely and left to handle only the contracts and the finalising of the deals.
The third option is the one that worked when Ange was boss, and that is when the manager takes the leading role. This is far and away the option which I think would have the most support within the fan-base.
Although there are advantages to having a director of football, just letting the manager manage would be easily the best way to do things.
This works best when he tells the board what his needs are and they deliver him a list of options based on those needs.
When he uses his own judgement to pick players.
Brendan Rodgers hasn’t done that this time around, so far … although there were certainly signs in the latter comments by Lawwell in particular, that the board were willing to be more flexible in listening to him, which I think is a scandal that they weren’t in the first place.
January will tell us a lot about how next summer will go, and I hope to see Brendan playing a more hands-on role in transfer affairs.
If he gets to do that then we’d have the best overall position and no director of football would even be required.
The truth is, there’s not much wrong with the way Celtic does this stuff and we could just as easily fit a director of football in as do without one … no system will work unless the manager is at the heart of it and we’ve got a top class one.
We clearly know how to spot players with potential; that’s a given, and it’s moved us miles out in front in our domestic dominance, creating a gab so big that it’s hard to see how Ibrox plugs it up.
But the way the manager’s needs, and wishes, were so completely ignored in the summer is obviously not great and it has led to the inevitable problem which is an overly bloated squad, something Brendan himself has pointed out and intends to fix.
Three or four quality signings to keep the squad steadily improving, and moving out those who you’re replacing in the team … that’s something that hasn’t really been done properly by us yet, although the signs are good that we understand that changes have to be made, especially in the way that we’ve gone about renewing the contracts of all the strongest players.
The next evolution in the strategy has to be one with a better balance, and if that can be achieved by the people currently at Celtic then great.
But I’m not against a director of football model as long as it’s a football person who supports the manager rather than oversees him because the manager is primus inter pares – the first amongst equals.
In short, he runs the show and no system which does not acknowledge that will work for us. We’ve been at our most powerful when that is known and respected.