Date: 11th January 2019 at 7:05pm
Written by:

Owen Coyle has revealed how he accepted the offer to manage Celtic in 2009 then performed a u-turn to stay on as manager of Burnley.

A decade ago the former Motherwell and Dundee United striker was one of the rising stars in management after earning a move to Burnley after being in charge of Falkirk and St Johnstone.

Burnley’s play-off success in 2009 sent his reputation soaring and made him the leading candidate to replace Gordon Strachan.

It seemed to be a case of ‘shootie-in’ when talks got underway but after accepting a return to Glasgow Coyle made the most difficult phone call of his life.

I spoke to Dermot (Desmond), Peter (Lawwell) and John Reid, he was chairman at the time,” Coyle told Open Goal with Si Ferry. “I’ve got to say I went in there and I thought that was it

Listen, I’m Celtic through and through that will never change. We chatted for about an hour and Dermot came back and said ‘Listen Owen I want to offer you the chance to manage Glasgow Celtic.’ And I said ‘yeah, yeah I’ll take it.’

“I was like a little boy again. It was my team and everything else. He (Dermot) said great, obviously we need to speak to Burnley and see what happens from there. We obviously had the celebration and everything else to go through so we said we would leave it a couple of days and take it from there.

“What I had to do really was take the emotion out of the decision because Glasgow Celtic first and foremost as a kid you want to play for them and I came close to that on a couple of occasions.

“When you are a coach or a manager that is the team you love, that’s the team you want to be involved with but I was in the best league in the world. I was in the Premier League and I was going to be playing against Chelsea, Manchester United and everything else that goes with it.

“I was at a really good club with good people and I had to be fair with that as well. Ultimately when we came back we had to go through all of that and I remember ringing Dermot on the Wednesday night. I think it was the Champions League Final in Rome.

“I can’t say I wasn’t emotional because I was. I said I never ever thought I would utter these words but I can’t take the job.”

Coyle did return to Scottish football last season, taking charge of Ross County for five months but quitting when relegation looked inevitable.

After spells in charge of Bolton, Wigan and Blackburn it looks like he will have to drop down to the lower reaches of the English game if he is to relaunch his career after 10 months out of the game.