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January will make or break Tony Mowbray; by desachi 08/11/09
Topic Started: Nov 8 2009, 06:58 PM (597 Views)
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January will make or break Tony Mowbray

Will the board back their appointment in January or will Mowbray go the way of Barnes?

by desachi

Well here we are again, November and virtually out of Europe's second tier competition, scarves thrown onto the park, howls of frustration from the stands, yet another poppy saga and engaged in yet another "too close to call" league race against a side that will have difficulty paying its players before too long.

In the summer, when the successful if frustrating Gordon Strachan left the manager's hot seat at Celtic, the natural optimism of the Celtic fans re-emerged from its season long slumber as the hunt for a new man began. As the usual utterings emerged from the board room, of the club targeting the right man for the job, transition, the financial reality and squad strengthening, rumours abounded of some of the names being short listed, Moyes, Coyle and Martinez and the like. It has transpired that Coyle at least, refused the job when being informed of the financial situation and then Tony Mowbray, the man who brought the Huddle to Celtic, was appointed.

As we now stand, the jury is still out with regards to the new man in charge, but, aside from his and the playing staff's limitations, the question of whether he has had a fair crack of the whip yet? In defence of the start the new man has made, the question needs to be posed as to whether he has been supported enough in his role from those people who appointed him. It isn't Mowbray's fault that he is where he is but it is time for the reality check for the suits, either you back the manager to the tune you said you would or you bring in another manager who is happy to work under these circumstances, you cannot have both. This "cute" argument that they come up with about "not paying over the odds" for players just doesn't wash. If that is the criteria then any transfer fee is too much as players are like any other worker. And that too for playing a game.

I can't bring myself to blame Mowbray in this, yet. It is clear he is yet another manager who is still in the process of learning his trade (no fault of his own) but I do think that any manager deserves a decent bite at their job, at least a season and the ability to bring in their own players. Simple as that. For the Reids of the world to say they are disappointed with the way things are going while at the same time having the imagination of a brown paper bag when it comes to giving the manager what he needs is unacceptable. It is frankly bordering on the perverse that the Chairman should be incapable of looking everywhere but himself and the board he presides over for blame. Does he think we, as "customers" are that stupid?

There is a message to the board, don't hamstring your manager in your quest for unnecessary things like zero debt. Personally, I actually am very much in favour of zero debt, but in a manageable way and not at the expense of the team in either the long or short term, it is simply a sign of poor strategic planning and this is what some of us have been going on about for year upon year. There have been plenty of signs of poor strategic planning coming from the board room and these come from having aims that are non-football oriented. Celtic is, at last checking, presented to us, the "customers" as a football club but run as a business, to the detriment of events on the pitch. In fact, it would be fair to say that results on the pitch are only an issue when they start to adversely effect results off it.

Sadly the PLC view is becoming more and more prominent because those who make decisions are business people and they are all about money. The question they have to ask themselves? What happens when their consumers start to walk? Play the emotional blackmail "you are hurting Celtic" card? Probably.

This situation we are in is not down to Tony Mowbray, he is merely a symptom of a much larger problem, emanating from the rotten core of Celtic Football Club. Gordon Strachan presided over a Celtic team that saw a marked, and continuous drop in quality over the space of four years, the promise of improving on quality has been a hollow one, the ability to compete in European competition has been testament to this.

Where does this leave us now? Surely the least we can do is allow the man in charge to bring in players who are capable of playing in the style he wants. It is clear that the road to improvement will take time, money and a considerable amount of luck, so the board, if they are indeed interested in growth and not just raking in the revenues from a support that already exists need to start to take some risks. This will take time, and it will require patience but for this to happen, there need to be signs of all parts of the Celtic equation making a contribution,

The fear is that they don't meet and mix with supporters who are outside their sphere and are therefore losing out on the richness of opinion and skills that thrive amongst the Celtic support but are outside the spheres of finance, business and politics that currently seem to dominate the board room table at Celtic Park. If they opened the door to others then perhaps the decisions made would allow for a healthier approach to the support.

Thin on the ground though it may currently be, hope must spring eternal.

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