Celtic Fans Are Not Persecuting Neil Lennon. The Suggestion Is Preposterous.

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One of the things that comes through loud and clear at the moment when you are on Celtic social media is that the position of the manager has divided our support.

Let me put that in a different way; most people are agreed that he’s finished. The arguments are over the way in which this view is being expressed.

Some think the criticism has become something more.

I’ve been accused of hating Neil Lennon for years. This is one of the reasons I don’t take these sort of allegations seriously.

There is a body of our support which believes any criticism of anyone at the club which goes beyond “he’s not doing very well, is he?” is some kind of heresy.

Words like “entitled” are bandied about by those who want to disparage the opinions of others without actually examining the reasons why they hold those views.

All of this is amped up to the maximum when the person being criticised in Neil Lennon.

There is no question that he was persecuted during his first spell as manager of this club and that those doing the persecuting were motivated by evil intent.

I don’t know a single one of us who wasn’t standing by Lennon during that time, and I don’t know a single one of us who would not stand with him if such activities were to ramp up again in the present day.

Even whilst this crisis was evolving, I wrote an excoriating piece about the Ibrox fan site which produced pins of their kit-man holding aloft Lennon’s severed head … a grotesque and vile thing and something which all right-thinking folk condemned.

I was amazed today to read an article which sought to equate such hate filled displays with the red “no Lennon” symbol doing the rounds on social media, and which this blog’s own Twitter feed carries.

My response to that is that if you’re making that connection – or the one with those who sent the man bullets in the post – you are drastically in need of a lie down in a dark room because the suggestion is offensive and absolutely idiotic.

Nobody here is sending Lennon death threats.

Nobody is sending him bullets in the post.

Nobody is wishing him ill in his day to day life.

We simply don’t want him at our football club any longer and the club itself has shut our views out entirely. The No Lennon symbol targets the club by making it clear that those who have appropriated it are against his continuing in the role.

Criticism of Lennon in this job is entirely justified, as everyone is well aware.

Lennon’s obstinacy and the increasingly bizarre nature of his statements – not to mention his clear contempt for any sort of dissent and those who offer it – has further alienated him from the support.

But the Celtic fans are neither harassing nor persecuting him.

This is a man who is well paid for doing a tough job, and he’s not doing it particularly well.

That job happens to be running the football side of an institution I love.

As he’s proved incapable I want him removed as soon as possible, and that is a message I will put to the club in whatever way I can.

Neil Lennon, the man, I wish no ill will.

I can’t stand listening to him at the moment, but that’s the extent of my personal animus.

In an article last night, I defended his decision to stand firm and get the money he’s due whilst lamenting those who try to dress that decision up as some kind of mark of devotion and personal integrity when it’s neither.

It might be selfish, but in his shoes we might all act the same way.

Indeed, most of us would.

My argument is with the people who refuse to look properly at this.

I would count amongst their number those throwing allegations at fellow Celtic fans which do not stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny and increase the level of hysteria far above what Lennon’s critics are guilty of.

If they want the raise the level of debate here, I suggest starting in the mirror.

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