A few months ago, someone said to me that they were sick and tired of hearing Lennon talk “the same old nonsense” after games; praise the players no matter what. I said that I would rather have that kind of manager than the one who inhabits an office at Ibrox.
There are broadly two types of leaders; one rules by inspiring people, the other by frightening them. Anyone who has worked under the latter type knows how limited they are. They breed resentment. They divide people. When the chips are down, people are not going to run through walls
for them. Why would you? Inspirational leaders are different.
Lennon has seen it all. He has also worked under some of the most inspirational managers there ever were. O’Neill is a particularly good example, because he himself learned from one of the greatest managers of all time, Brian Clough. He and Taylor knew how to work a room.
They knew that some men need a pat on the back and others need a boot in the backside. O’Neill was one of them, and his assistant John Robertson even more so.
They knew exactly how to do it and Lennon spent years watching them.
Look at Olivier Ntcham. He’s a sterling example of what Lennon has learned.
The Frenchman seemed on the way out of Celtic Park, and under a big black cloud.
But the manager spoke to him quietly, gave him a piece of his mind, and in a way that didn’t cause anger or resentment on the part of either man. We know he can flay people, but Lennon knows that it’s not the best way to get them to do what you want.
Whatever he said to Ntcham has not only gotten the player back onside, but he’s never looked happier in the team.
Look at the way he’s handled Leigh Griffiths. I thought for a while that we’d seen the last of the wee man, but here he is back in the side and back amongst the goals. He’s now a vital cog in the wheel, and that’s in no small way down to the manager.
Gerrard is precisely the opposite type of manager. He is arrogant, brash and intolerant. His frequent public criticisms of the team cannot be good for morale inside the club. How bad has it gotten? I think we got a glimpse of it last week, although the press missed it.
The players had a meeting of their own, without him, after the Aberdeen game.
Why did that happen? Is that normal at clubs? What did the players have to say that the manager wasn’t meant to hear? Why has the media not picked up that point? It’s a question that’s just begging to be asked. Has Traynor so cowed the hacks that none of them dares? Or are they just too dumb to have spotted what is blatantly obvious? The players wanted to discuss Gerrard as much as anything else, and when they start doing that you wonder how much authority he has left.
Has he lost the dressing room? He’s lost part of it, that seems clear enough anyway.
His comments last night would not have helped mend fences. He’s accused the players of being bottlers yet again; they are entitled to ask where his own title winners medal is, and I’m betting that a few of them have done exactly that, and perhaps to his face.
Gerrard is living off a reputation as a brilliant player. His famous name will not intimidate players any more than Roy Keane’s will unless he proves that he can do it as a manager. He has yet to do so. He has yet to show he’s anything other than an over promoted youth coach. This site has maintained from day one that his appointment was an act of folly.
All this talk from him about how losing games like that is “not Rangers” is nonsensical. The club that calls itself that has gone nearly a decade without a major honour; for the whole of that time they’ve had the second highest wage bill in the country.
People tend to forget that. Even as a Third Division team they were paying bigger salaries than every other club but ours. How long before people stop talking this garbage? How long before Gerrard is called on it from within the club?
Gerrard is not a leader. He thinks that to be a manager you need to be able to shout and bawl, and that if you shout loud enough you’ll get the job done. But he’s forgotten that professional footballers are not children. They are multi-millionaires who do not react well to be treated as if they are.
It takes a special talent to command such a dressing room.
Gerrard hasn’t got it … we will forever be thankful that Lennon does.