FORMER Celtic target David James recalls the day he was SACKED by Eddie Howe at Bournemouth.
The one-time England international keeper, who was on Neil Lennon’s radar in July 2010 before joining Bristol City on a free transfer from Portsmouth, realised too late he had been given the boot by the manager who is favourite to take over at Parkhead.
James was shocked to realise his career at the club was over, but he holds no grudges against Howe and believes he would be a sure-fit hit at the Hoops.
The much-respected coach took over the south coast outfit for a second time when they were coming out of the third tier and the much-travelled netminder, who was then 42, was winding down a career that took in stops at clubs such as Liverpool, West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester City.
James, speaking to Sky Sports News, admitted: “I was at Bournemouth when they got promoted from League 1 and Eddie took over after I had signed for the club.
“His understanding of people was second to none.
“He so politely sacked me that I didn’t realise until I had walked out the door that I was never going to play again. And I was like: ‘Hang on!’.
“But I couldn’t run back into the room and have a go at him as he’s such a decent bloke and he did it in the right way.
“He was in the top two managers I ever worked with – Harry Redknapp is the other. Talk about chalk and cheese!
“At Celtic, if he goes in there, then tactically he will be superb. He’s got a calming influence and would get the best out of that side.”
Ironically, James was targeted by Lennon as a replacement for Fiorentina-bound Arthur Boruc. The fans’ favourite returned to the UK two years later with Southampton before joining Bournemouth in 2014 – signed by Eddie Howe!