There was no way for Celtic to get Brendan Rodgers back. The best they could aim for was a chip from the old block. And in Eddie Howe they have found a manager cast from the same mold.
As Burnley’s boss, Howe once accepted an invitation from Rodgers to travel to Liverpool and spend a few days watching him do it.
The training sessions were an eye-opener. And when the work was done, the pearls of advice proved invaluable.
Eddie Howe is in talks to become Celtic’s next manager to replace Neil Lennon
In Howe, they would have someone cut from the same mold as former boss Brendan Rodgers
“You need people to get you started,” Howe said on the Coaches Voice website. “It’s a tough lonely job at times and Brendan was brilliant.”
Lessons have been learned. Notes were compared. It clicked for the two men and since then it sometimes feels like they are reading lines from the same script.
Sample chapter about the former Bournemouth boss in Michael Calvin’s excellent book Living on the Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager.
“If I didn’t, what else could I do to leave a mark on society?” Howe asks.
‘As far as we know, you’ve only been on the planet once, and you want to try to do something that affects people’s lives.
“I want to be able to look back and say,” You’ve accomplished something memorable. “
Read that back and it could almost be that Brendan Rodgers is speaking. Same voice, different accent.
Both men sit at their desks before the sun comes up.
They demand absolute commitment from their players. And show a willingness to think out of the box.
Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a very successful spell at Celtic before moving to Leicester
They both knew what it felt like to be the coming man of English football.
And when the volcano exploded, it was Celtic who reached out and offered a helping hand …
Dermot Desmond, a stubborn billionaire, didn’t do all of this because he’s an old socialist at heart.
In exchange for giving Rodgers and Howe a route back to football management, Celtic’s majority shareholder is demanding a return.
The league’s loss to Rangers this season hit hard. And, with the appeal of an automatic Champions League place open to next season’s champions, Desmond has the closest he can get to any other Brendan Rodgers. In today’s market, Eddie Howe is the best fit.
The problem is that success in Glasgow is not simply a matter of work pace or ability or intelligence. It’s a test of a man’s character. A measure of how easily he can deal with being poked and poked and his personal space being violated.
The late Tommy Burns once remarked that working for Celtic or Rangers means that one half of the town hates you and the other thinks you own it.
Rodgers, a good friend of Burns from their Reading days, knew all this before arriving.
He also arrived with knowledge of what it took to survive in a harsh working-class northern city where football assumes the status of religion.
When he joined Celtic for a welcome committee of 13,000, it felt like Sinatra was hitting the comeback route.
Compare that to Howe, a natural introvert from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, who once described himself as the ‘shy in the corner’.
“I never wanted to be the center of attention and that didn’t change when I became a footballer,” he once said.
‘I didn’t really hit the spotlight, so that’s why I felt that football management probably wouldn’t be for me. You cannot be an introvert in the role. ‘
Coaching took him out of himself. Session planning, tactics drafting, challenging old stereotypes and dealing with players peeled off a layer and revealed a new man underneath.
The first time the gates of Lennoxtown close behind him at 6:30 am, Eddie Howe feels safe and comfortable in an environment he knows well.
It’s when the gates open at 5pm and intrusion begins that he leaves his comfort zone.
Brendan Rodgers once said he was in the middle of traffic in the Clyde tunnel. The driver’s door of the front car opened and a man in a blue shirt appeared. According to the Gospel of St Brodge, the man approached his car, announced that he was a Rangers fan, and thanked him profusely for everything he did before the game in Scotland.
Rodgers, you guess, enjoyed that stuff. It confirmed life.
Dermot Desmond will demand a return after Celtic got behind Rangers in the title fight
In contrast, Howe’s temperament seems less suited to life in a goldfish bowl where fans don’t always come to wear streamers.
Eager to learn and conscientious in school, he will have done his homework.
When Celtic upped their interest, you can bet your last pound of Rodgers was one of the first calls on his list.
The Leicester boss is said to have urged him to ensure that Peter Lawwell was permanently retired.
With Odsonne Edouard, Kris Ajer, Ryan Christie, Olivier Ntcham and a slew of loan deals out the door, he’d told him to make promises for future transfer money.
Above all, he is said to have told him to make sure to secure a home with electronic gates far from the glare of Glasgow.
Scotland’s largest city has always had a loose grip on the concept of social detachment.
For the men in charge of Celtic and Rangers, the simple act of putting gasoline in the car becomes an ordeal.
Earning £ 30,000 a week helps sweeten a bitter pill. It’s hardly Beirut we’re talking about here.
Howe would receive more attention with the demands of managing the Scottish team
Steven Gerrard has shown that it is possible. Brendan Rodgers did the same.
The difference is that Gerrard and Rodgers were born to be at the center of major football clubs.
They enjoy and thrive in the demands and expectations and the spotlight.
In his own words, Eddie Howe has always felt less comfortable with that side of things.
When he offered the job as Bournemouth janitorial manager at the age of 31, Howe feared he was just too shy to be a frontman.
Ranked 91st out of 92 clubs after a 17-point penalty for financial irregularities, raw talent came in. English Premier League and held them there for five seasons.
But no one in their right mind would compare the intensity and demands of Bournemouth to what lies ahead in Glasgow.
The talkSPORT shock jocks are already out with the rods. Jason Cundy, a man whose navigation system runs north of Watford, compares the Scottish title to winning the egg and spoon race, claiming that Howe would have faced more of a challenge at Crystal Palace.
But every time Roy Hodgson loses two games in a row, there aren’t any fans out of the ground screaming for his head.
Compare that to Celtic, a club where the very last place the manager wants to be after consecutive defeats is stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of the Clyde tunnel.