Richard Hughes’ conversation that lifts the veil on his role, his relationship with Celtic target Eddie Howe, and struggles to recruit seven players in a window

Perhaps this is a sign of the nervousness creeping into Celtic’s support as time goes by without a new permanent manager for the club being confirmed, other than the announcement of a pre-season friendly. against West Ham yesterday sparked numerous comments pointing out that the game is only six weeks away.

It has now been three months since Neil Lennon parted ways with the club, but it looks like the extended court of former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is finally ending successfully.

His appointment is expected to be confirmed in the coming days, and not too soon for Celtic fans, who want to continue the process of rebuilding the squad as they seek to win the Premiership title from Rangers. And perhaps more urgently, look to mount a serious push for the Champions League group stages.

Key to that process – if Howe’s nomination progresses smoothly – will be Richard Hughes, who worked with Howe at Vitality Stadium as Technical Director, and who appears set to lead Celtic’s recruiting department.

At the end of last year, Hughes spoke to the official Bournemouth podcast to give a fascinating insight into his role at the club, which may be relevant to the role he will also take on at Celtic.

One of the alarming aspects of the conversation for Celtic fans, however, may be when he discusses the difficulties of making just two signings for Bournemouth last summer with the Covid pandemic as a backdrop, and how badly he It would be difficult to recruit a multitude of players from a one-stop shop in such circumstances. This is precisely the situation he will find himself in if he joins Howe in Glasgow.

“I think because we had a relatively quiet window from an inbound perspective it helped adjust to the new way of recruiting post-Covid so to speak,” Hughes said.

“If we had had a window where we entered six or seven players, I think it would have been very difficult.

“No two days are the same. The transfer window is quite stressful. We had a transfer window where we only signed on two players, but every day it’s picking up agents’ phones and talking to people you don’t necessarily want to talk to on a daily basis.

“The planning starts in 10 weeks to three months because you can’t wake up one day and sign a player. ”

During the wide-ranging discussion, Hughes explained how critical his relationship with Howe was to the success of the Bournemouth recruiting operation, and that in the end, Howe would be the man who would approve any newcomer.

“At every window there was a deal that would come mostly from the manager, so Eddie Howe would have the first and last say on a signing,” he said.

“But clearly, between that first word and that last word, there’s a whole larger process of important conversations with the owner, the CEO, and so on.

“There was always a great belief in where the message was coming from, and so the owner always supported that and allowed the GM to negotiate said deal.

“I hope you then come out of the transfer window with a more competitive team than the one we came in with.

“Basically the key to good recruiting is good communication from the leader down, and we certainly have it here.

“This relationship is fundamental [between manager and technical director]. I’m very lucky that the only two managers I’ve had to do this are two people I’ve known since I was a teenager.

“Understanding them from a human point of view as well as from a football point of view is crucial for the work I do.

“It gave me a head start working under the guidance of a manager as good as Eddie, it helps me too, as he can make it seem like bad decisions don’t matter and good decisions seem to matter. are excellent.

“I think that’s the key. I am convinced that the best chance you have of having a successful signing is that the manager plays an important role in this recruitment process.

“The better the understanding between the person who does my job and the person who coaches the players and selects the team, the better the chances of success.

“We’ve always tried to get the job done early so we don’t rush frantically for a last minute checkup.

“Working under Eddie where there was a clear mandate makes it easier for me not to have five or six players and end up spinning plates.”

Former Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has been talking about selling the club to potential rookies due to the atmosphere at Celtic Park and the chance to win trophies, and Hughes believes Howe himself will turn out to be a huge appeal for potential signings.

“You play your trumps when you recruit, and it is clear that the revolution that we have come from in the Premier League is a very good story,” he said.

“The person who played a role in that – as well as the fans – was primarily Eddie. It is therefore your trump card. We could go into a negotiation saying we have the brightest young English manager in the country, and no one would disagree with that, so suddenly that makes it easier for me.

“We were sending recruiting videos. One was on the coaching and technical side of things, where there was a strong focus on leadership and coaching staff and player development, which we are proud of. ”

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