Hooray – it’s the return of Alastair Moncrieff and his ‘controversial’ articles! This time, he’s tackling the subject of our beloved manager. Also read the new Kindle football magazine ‘All or Nothing’ he’s put together. It features Celtic and there are more details at the end of the article. Now over to Ally…
Okay ladies and gentlemen of the internet, we need to talk, it’s pretty urgent and it’s about Neil Francis Lennon.
With the league campaign drawing to a close and only a Scottish Cup tie with Dundee United to break the monotony, now seems as good a time as any to take a look at the man who’s led our club over the last few years.
Now I have a confession to make, I may have been a tad disingenuous with my title. I have no intention of weighing up the pros and cons of his reign; plenty of others have done and will continue to do that. Nope, my mind is already made up, and I’m here to tell you that it would be better for Celtic, and better for Lennon personally, if he walked away in the summer.
Timing is everything in this life and if he has an ounce of sense, if he has a modicum of ambition then our manager will surely realise that he’s done all he can in Glasgow and it’s time to bid farewell.
I know that uttering any words regarding Lennon that are not 100% positive risks awakening the nuttier element of our support (I’ll see you in the comments), so I suppose I should explain myself. I’ll start with why it’d be better for Lennon personally and then move on to why it’d be better for the club as a whole.
At this moment in time the stock of Neil Lennon could not be higher, rest assured his achievements, especially in Europe’s premier competition, have been noted, there can be no doubt that his name will have been discussed in boardrooms all over England. He’s forged a reputation as a talented young manager with the ability to pluck a diamond from the rough and make it shiny enough to attract wealthy suitors.
You could make a fairly persuasive argument that Lennon has achieved all he can at Celtic, he’s added some more silverware to the collection, and under his stewardship the club have acquitted themselves superbly on the European stage, hell he even managed to better his more illustrious predecessors and break the Euro away day hoodoo. Yes he could stay and try to match the trebles of Stein and O’Neil but looking at his record at Hampden that might just take a lifetime.
Timing is everything; it’s always best to go out on a high.
Now onto why it’d be better for Celtic if Lennon said goodbye come the end of the season, this might be a bit more controversial to be honest.
It’d be better for Celtic for one simple reason, Lennon is a busted flush.
A league campaign that should have been won at a canter has been nothing short of a depressing slog. A plethora of points have been quite simply tossed away and of course there was that St Mirren thing. This would be, whilst not acceptable, certainly understandable if we were fielding a team of kids but we’re not. Some people appear to have forgotten the gap in quality between Celtic and the rest, it is gargantuan, to have dropped as many points as we have is nothing short of embarrassing and it’s Lennon’s fault.
The job of a manager is to extract the highest yield from the resources at his disposal and Lennon is demonstrably failing to do this. He seems incapable of sending his players out in the required mental state, for a team that has no on-field competition to drive them on it is essential that the manager is able to provide that drive himself. Every time a listless Celtic side drop points we are fed some excuse along the lines of the players attitude not being right, well Neil, that’s pretty much your job.
When a manager is no-longer able to manage his players effectively it is time for him to go, Lennon is in the incredibly rare position of being in that precise situation but having the opportunity to walk away of his own accord, with reputation intact and a place in history assured. Remember Neil, timing is everything; take that opportunity, for your own good and that of the club.
I’m not going to go any further because while writing this piece something happened that made me consider making this my last article on Celtic. I will continue to be a Celtic supporter on the terraces and in the pub but I’m not sure I want to be a Celtic fan on-line anymore. There is a poisonous element to the Celtic support on the internet; it is not a few isolated trolls but a large and organised movement. They are as ruthless at striking down dissenters as any communist secret police. One of the editors of this site, a good guy and a dedicated tim, was a victim of their zealousness and has at the time of writing, after a torrent of abuse, been removed from twitter, all because he dared express a view that didn’t toe the party line.
Some of you (and you know who you are) need to take a good look at yourselves, it’s a fucking game, it’s meant to be fun.
On that note I bid you farewell and ask that you take a look at my new magazine chronicling the highs and lows of supporting a football club, it’s only 99p and there are some brilliant writers involved. http://t.co/N0FDFP7G08 if you fancy saying hello on twitter then head on over to https://twitter.com/AllorNothingMag