We hear that a series of meetings took place at Celtic Park and Lennoxtown in the week following the defeat by the huns. The purpose of these meetings was to evaluate the direction the club is moving in under Mowbray’s stewardship. It would suggested that a mutual consent deal has been agreed between the club and the manager and a parting of the ways is coming. The timing of this is not clear. Indeed Tony Mowbray may well survive long enough to lift the Scottish Cup. Regardless of that potential success it would seem that Mowbray’s time as manager will not last longer than this season.
Concern has been expressed about the decision to invite Neil Lennon to become part of the first team coaching set up only to remove him from the first team bus for the visit to Ibrox. This story, which was first revealed on the huddleboard by Heliotrope, is apparently being held up by some at the club as an example of Tony Mowbray’s “flip flopping” and his “lack of strong leadership.” The decision to bring Lennon into the the first team set up was welcomed by many in the dressing room and the suggestion that he was removed because a member of the coaching staff’s nose was out of joint has not been denied. Indeed the decision which led to Lennon running the gauntlet of the hun hordes outside Ibrox was said to have shocked some at the top of the club.
It is rumoured that Neil Lennon has knocked back six managerial job opportunities in the past year and a half and this recent snub has caused him to question the wisdom of those decisions. Apparently Lennon was spoken to by someone from the non footballing side of the club and by a former employee of the club and both advised him to sit tight as change within the first team coaching set up may well be coming. It has previously been rumoured that Peter Grant may rejoin his former West Ham colleague Alan Pardew and, while numbers aren’t our strong point we don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to put two and two together.
There also continues to be talk that Tony Mowbray’s family have not settled in Glasgow and that he is missing his new child.
There are also those at the club who are asking what is going wrong with the coaching of the defenders when four of them are currently out injured, all suffering from hamstring injuries. This has left players such as Thompson (on £5,000 a week by the way) to assume a role far above that which they are ready for, despite the high regard in which he is held by the reserve coaching staff.
Perhaps the most damning rumours are the suggestions that two months after a significant revamp of the squad the dressing room has lost faith in the manager. It has been said that Dermot Desmond has questioned Tony Mowbray’s plans for the club three times since December. Whilst money has been spent during the January Transfer window it would appear that more was taken in that was spent. As such, money would be available in the summer for further change if required. Indeed we have apparently cut the wage bill by approximately £150,000 over the past two transfer windows.
The recent article by Lachiemor regarding Willie McStay has sparked some debate among Celtic fans as to the merits of the former centre half. We’ve been told not to be surprised to see the former reserve team coach return to the club this summer if not sooner. Why did McStay agree to head off to the far reaches of Europe if not to develop as a manager with a view to a return to Celtic at some time in the future? Meanwhile in Newcastle there is talk that Alan Thompson is willing to return to the club in a coaching capacity should he be required or should certain parties ask him to help make up a coaching team. Thompson completed his coaching badges with Neil Lennon in Belfast recently and is currently Reserve Team coach at the Tyneside club. It would take an attractive offer to make him move from his boyhood heroes which makes the talk of him coming back to Celtic intriguing to say the least.
Now it may well be that not a single one of the above rumours is correct. It may well be that Tony Mowbray has the complete support of every member of the board and the first team. It may well be that individuals on the first team coaching staff are more than happy for Neil Lennon to join the team. And it may well be that Tony Mowbray will be given the time needed to implement his vision of the club. However, to the outsider it looks like there are just too many stories swirling around the coaching team at the moment. There are too many potential “must win” games for Tony Mowbray to overcome. Sadly it would seem that we are witnessing his managerial death by a thousand cuts. As much as I want the manager to succeed and as much as I believe that if given time he can succeed it would appear that the fates have conspired to ensure that he will not survive into the next season.
We hear that Tony’s eye for a player and willingness to take on board the recommendations of John Park have pleased the board. It is recognised that good players with excellent potential have been signed. Tony Mowbray has been jokingly described to us as a Moses figure – someone who leads us out of bondage but fails to reach the promised land himself. He’s probably more of a Dr Jo figure who will leave the next manager with players of great potential. Who that next manager will be is an interesting talking point. If half the rumours above are true we may well have three former players forming the next management trinity.
Last year I posted a song for Gordon. Sadly I think this one is appropriate for Tony: