I wrote in a post, back in November, that a true friend is the one who tells you when something is gone, when it’s over, when it’s done, when it’s finished. A true friend is the one who sits you down and gives you the plain, unvarnished truth.
I think a lot of Neil Lennon’s friends have badly let him down, and at the same time they have badly let down this club of ours as well. They must have known the truth but just didn’t want to say it, lest their pal have to deal with it.
Friends like that do you no good in the long run. All they accomplished in this case was to drag this out.
Although accepting failure in the ten in a row quest would have been hard for Lennon to do, there was a chance, back in November, before the race got beyond our reach, when he could have gone out as something of a hero. As the man who saw his own limitations and realised that his staying would only make matters worse.
If Lennon had done the right thing, then, and we had brought in someone new I firmly believe we’d still be in the race. Lennon would have been our Cincinnatus, the man who voluntarily handed back power for the greater good, in service of a larger goal.
I think his decision to hang on as long as he has is pure selfishness.
He has destroyed his own reputation.
Yes, the board could – and should – have taken matters out of his hands. But I will not let Lennon’s friends escape their own culpability. They should have been offering him good advice. Instead many of them were slamming the supporters and indulging him in making a variety of excuses on his behalf. None of it has served our club well.
And it hasn’t served Lennon well either.
He will now depart as a bona-fide failure, with nothing to redeem him at all.
If he walks now it’s too little too late, having dug us into a deeper hole, having squandered the last transfer window, having been at least partly to blame for the Dubai catastrophe.
I personally think we’ve come too far for Lennon to be allowed to beat a retreat to the exit, dressing it up as something done with dignity. Lennon should be fired, so that the enormous damage he’s done to us is reflected on his CV.
I feel not one iota of sympathy for Lennon’s position. He has been more than well compensated for his stint in our dugout. He will depart our club richer than most of us can ever hope to be.
Hartson is the first in Lennon’s circle of friends to break ranks and say in public what I would hope some of them have been saying in private … but I doubt it.
It’s time. It’s not approaching the point, or heading in the wrong direction, or any of that other stuff which people have been saying to hide the literal and, for Lennon, painful truth of it … it is done. It is over. It is face up to reality time.
He may not believe it yet but Hartson has done him a favour.
He’s done all of us a favour.