Memories of the “second worst thing to hit Hiroshima” attempt to undermine Wim Jansen on his arrival as Celtic manager from Japanese football in 1997 remain vivid. With no internet, we knew little of Wim. His short stints as assistant with the Saudi national team and as manager of Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the four years since leaving Feyenoord did nothing to enhance his reputation.
Ange Postecoglou is an easier man for the support to make their own minds up about. He has a record of developing talent, improving teams and winning titles. By any reasonable measure, his CV is spotless. None of his success happened in Europe and there is nowhere as acutely intense in the football roster as Glasgow, so there are hurdles to overcome.
I like that he is an established winner and that he has not relied on the chequebook to become so. I also hear great things about his strength of character, he has old school authority, as well as a technocrats brain.
Eddie Howe went to the top of the candidate list around two months ago. The time since has been lost, although Postecoglou was not in serious contention that far back. We are now three weeks from preseason training. If Ange is to be appointed, he faces a two week isolation period before being able to visit Celtic Park or Lennoxtown. He might just make it.
Before any of that, he needs to exit Japan and his contractual arrangements with City Football Group’s Yokohama F Marinos, pack his family and belongings up and fly to the opposite end of the globe. There is a lot of work for him to just sit at the Celtic manager’s desk.
At Howe’s request, we were prepared to recruit his entire football infrastructure. He would have endorsed the appointment of coaches, scouts and director of football. Celtic signed up for this but when you let them bring their encourage with them, the successful ones inevitably take the same faces (and more) back out the door with them when they go.
With Ange it will be different, although he may be familiar with some of the faces from City Football Group. This infrastructure is equally as important as the managerial appointment. Celtic need to rebuild a team ahead of a season that offers automatic Champions League qualification for the Scottish Premiership winners. Much of that burden will fall on the manager’s supporting cast. Lots to do, not a lot of time to do it in……
A quick word on Newco’s £6.75m public share offering, announced this morning. Newco have returned an operating loss every year of their existence and have been unable to trade players to meet the shortfall. The burden has thus far fallen on directors. Turning to the fans may indicate a possibility the directors’ largess has dried up. It could also imply no fresh investor has been found.
Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules mean any fresh equity investment cannot be spent on most operational costs, like football or support staff. Competing against a team that runs a persistent eight figure annual deficit has its drawbacks, but we have seen this movie before. We are back at the roulette table with all the chips on Champions League money.