Writing an opinion piece on Scottish football’s biggest talking point at the moment – the apparently imminent arrival of Eddie Howe as the next Celtic manager should be relatively easy for some of the former Celtic players who make a living as pundits. And would it be too much to expect that one or two of them could be even the slightest bit positive about the appointment – if and when it is confirmed – as Eddie Howe is exactly the manager that the majority of the Celtic support wanted.
Yet Kris Commons, a player who told us ‘got’ Celtic when he was playing, has turned into another one of this negative, nasty, horrible wee men who can’t find it in their bones to utter a single positive thing about Celtic.
Look as a support we have all had plenty to say about what’s gone wrong this season – most of it valid – but each and every supporter wants the best for the club and for Celtic to appoint the right manager. And for most that is the highly regarded Eddie Howe.
Commons inevitably has his doubts as he drops in as many positive messages about Steven Gerrard, who yet again yesterday disgraced himself with his comments on how the SFA should deal with his Covid offenders, with a threat to the national side hinted at too.
“Howe is not the Messiah in the way Martin O’Neill was. Nor is he Brendan Rodgers, who revelled in the limelight from the moment he arrived,” Commons stated in his Daily Mail (print version) column as gleefully reported by Daily Record, without pointing out that Martin O’Neill was not really a coach at all but a leader of men and he left the coaching side of things to his staff. The game has changes dramatically since then and he modern approach that the club’s supporters craves for is best represented by a manager like Eddie Howe.
“O’Neill and Rodgers were forces of nature throughout their time in Glasgow. Their personality and weight of character always gave them a chance of succeeding,” Commons continued. So appoint Roy Keane would be the logical conclusion to that argument, or maybe Howe will be happy to let the football his team plays do the talking.
“Howe, by contrast, seems more reserved. He is articulate, but softly spoken. It is difficult to imagine him holding court in the dressing room in the same way O’Neill or Rodgers did,” Commons added. Has he been in an Eddie Howe dressing room as he guided Bournemouth up to the Premier League after being as close to a liquidation as it is probably possible to be.
“On the day Rodgers was unveiled, 13,000 fans were there in Celtic Park to greet him. He was an instant hero. Howe was managing a club whose home ground only holds 11,000 fans. More people turned out to see Rodgers parade a Celtic scarf above his head than can fit inside Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium,” argued Commons without considering how many Celtic Supporters would head through to Celtic Park to welcome Eddie Howe if such a gathering was permitted. No guess Kris? I’ll give it a go and guess that the 13,000 crowd could easily be equalled.
“This is not meant to sound flippant,” Commons writes somewhat flippantly. “Just an indication of the reality into which Howe is about to be thrust. It will be an almighty culture shock.”
“Howe’s CV isn’t even in the same league as Rodgers’ when he took the job at Parkhead. Rodgers had come within a whisker of winning a Premier League title at Liverpool. He had managed superstars such as Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard and got them playing great football,” Commons said, while enjoying his soup.
“He had managed in the Champions League. He knew what it felt like to compete at the elite level. Howe has never managed a European game in his life. Admittedly, neither had Gerrard prior to taking the Rangers job. But he knew what it felt like to be immersed in a huge club,” more Soup sipping from the player Rodgers didn’t allow a kick of the ball after his role in undermining Ronny Deila.
“Gerrard carried that weight of expectation on his shoulders for almost 20 years at Liverpool. He drove the club on almost single-handedly to win a Champions League title.” A TITLE? A curious word for a cup win Kris, the fact is that until this season Gerrard had been a serial failure in trying to win a TITLE in his career, two decades of failure that even Rodgers couldn’t overture. It took a global pandemic to make that happen.
And while Gerrard is some sort of super hero for The former Celtic player, his assessment of Howe could not be more negative if it came from the sickest minds on the Ibrox hate forums.
“The highlight of Howe’s managerial career to date has been a ninth-placed finish in the Premier League in 2017. He deserves credit for getting a club of such modest stature into the top flight in the first place and keeping them there for five seasons.
“But spare me the notion it was some sort of miracle. It wasn’t quite the fairytale some would have you believe. Throughout their rise up the leagues, Bournemouth were lavishly funded by a Russian billionaire.
“In season 2014-15, when promoted to the top flight, they were found to have breached Financial Fair Play rules and were subsequently fined £4.75million. During five years in the Premier League under Howe, Bournemouth had a net spend of just over £135m.
“That put them on a par with Chelsea during that same period. Liverpool and Spurs both had a net spend of just over £90m in those same years. The idea that Howe worked miracles on a tight budget is a myth. He spent a fortune and often squandered it on poor players.”
What a bitter wee guy you are Kris.