Brown admitted this week the uncertainty over what would lie ahead for him at Celtic under a new manager had figured heavily in his decision to depart his football home of 14 years. Such a backdrop made the concrete two-year player-coach deal from his friend Stephen Glass – a man desperate for the midfielder to be central to a new Aberdeen era – an offer he could not refuse.
In turn, Howe has been warming to the job offer from Celtic not merely because the club have long coveted him and are willing to meet his expectations over transfer budget, backroom structure and salary. A swaying factor is that there is only uncertainty surrounding his previous desire to reactivate his coaching career in the English Premier League, which ended when he resigned from Bournemouth on August 1 last year following their final-day demotion days earlier.
If Howe only had eyes for Celtic, he would already have been in position for more than a month. As soon as Neil Lennon made way in late February, contact was made with his representatives. It is understood he then fed back that the proposition was seriously interesting, but that his preference was to wait and see what the managerial shakedown was in the English top flight come the season’s end. It has been reported Howe turned down two English Premier League clubs in recent weeks. It is understood these two clubs are struggling to maintain their lofty status beyond next month ...
Howe doesn’t want to be chasing clubs up leagues. He did that in extraordinary fashion across two spells covering more than a decade, taking the Bournmouth reins with them 91st in the Football League and guiding them to a five-year stay among the game’s gliterati. These feats are why it wasn’t so long ago that he was being spoken about as the coming man among English coaches, a national team manager in waiting. Howe considered such a reputation would be recognised in English Premier League boardrooms when vacancies opened up this season, but it hasn’t worked out that way.
Howe is believed to have had designs on the Crystal Palace job. Only yesterday, incumbent manager Roy Hodgson gave the clearest indication yet that he will not be remaining in charge beyond the summer in stating he was “not interested” in having discussions on his future. However, it appears Howe is moving closer to accepting Celtic – with the possibility of an announcement next week – because it seems his Palace prospects are becoming more remote. It is believed the London club’s chairman Steve Parish is edging towards Frank Lampard or Burnley’s Sean Dyche for any managerial makeover.
None of this is to give the impression of Howe as a reluctant conscript to the Celtic cause. It is just that – though the club’s followers refuse to accept the fact, and embarrassed themselves with their ‘mediocrity’ jibes at Brendan Rodgers when he left for Leicester City – the English Premier League is the humungous draw. Celtic remain a powerful one, though, and that is why it could be when with Howe.