If You Know Your History: Neil Lennon


The departure of Neil Lennon did not really come as a shock. It had been hinted at by the media for a while, but it still begs a question of why Neil turned his back on the club that he loves and the fans who adore him. The answer, one feels, must lie in issues of security are regards his family living in Glasgow, rather than any real problem about a budget for new players. But then again, there are things we don’t know and will probably never get to know.

Let us deal with facts. Discounting the latter end of the 2009/10 season, Neil was manager for 4 seasons, during which we won 3 League Championships, 2 Scottish Cup s but not the League Cup. Gordon Strachan had a not dissimilar record of 3 League Championships, 1 Scottish Cup and 2 League Cups. These men were, therefore, successes, and there is little doubt that Celtic will approach the future in a very healthy state indeed.

The squad that Lennon leaves for his successor is a strong one, but the fear is now that some of the players will be more likely to go with him. One hopes not, and every effort must surely be made to keep Fraser Forster and Virgil Van Dijk. Where could we get anyone better? Up front, the new Manager will have to have a “quiet word” to Griffiths and Stokes about behaviour off the field, but if he can do that, I don’t see any reason why goals can’t keep coming. The team is awesome, the supporters are in good heart, and although three games are required to be won for entry into the Champions League, I cannot see any reason why this cannot happen, if the team play with the spirit that they showed last season. The midfield of Brown, Commons and Johansen is one that can take a grip of a game.

Lennon’s legacy will be as the man who took over from the depressive Mowbray (he never really looked happy in a job that was clearly too much for him) won the Scottish Cup in his first season and would have won the League as well but for an unaccountable collapse at Inverness. Lessons were learned, however, and the next three Championships were won by a country mile, with the occasional happy moment in Europe as well, sadly in the middle of many unhappy ones as well.

Europe? Let us hear no more about how we cannot compete! Of course, we can. It is not about money so much as commitment and determination. But we need players who are prepared to die for Celtic. We have as big a support as any in the world and the atmosphere at these European nights makes one wonder why Neil would not want that. Where else would he get that? Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea perhaps? The problem is that they all have Managers!

So Neil, much as I admire you and love you for what you have done to the club, I think you have made a mistake here. Or is there something we are not getting to hear about?

By David Potter



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