As Celtic supporters we often fall into the trap of wanting a Celtic man in the dugout at all costs. The club has probably given the manager’s job to more ex-players than any other team in British football. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, few could complain about Willie Maley, Jock Stein or Davie Hay’s reign, whilst Billy McNeill’s time as boss was largely successful too. Meanwhile, Martin O’Neill and Brendan Rodgers’ connections to the club as supporters were a big draw for the pair and made the acquisition of top managers possible.
The only problem would be if being a Celtic fan or former player is considered essential criteria for the role, and thus other managers could be overlooked. Although fans ultimately have no say in employing the new gaffer, I notice that most of the names, rumours and wishes from supporters have been for ex-Celts to take charge. I’ve seen the names of Roy Keane, Henrik Larsson and even Scott Brown mentioned. Another name doing the rounds is Shaun Maloney. In the case of the much lauded Martinez-Maloney partnership, drawing on Celtic connections can be a great bargaining tool. That duo have worked with the highest ranked nation in the world and it’d be an incredible appointment. However, beyond that pair, and other former Celts, there is a whole world of football to consider.
The names of Eddie Howe and Steve Clarke have popped up, Rafa Benitez too. That’s a positive. I think it’s important that we consider all candidates on managerial ability and then look at any Celtic connections as a bonus. Wim Jansen wasn’t a Celtic man but he did a great job for us. Gordon Strachan wasn’t an ex-player or supporter, yet he was outstanding in terms of winning trophies and bringing European success.
We have an opportunity to restructure the club now and put this season behind us. I hope we move forward with broad horizons.