As I wrote in the earlier article, on gaslighting, Celtic’s “January review” is going to come in at some point probably in the next week, with the publication of the six monthly figures. I’ll do a fuller piece on them when we see them.
But we’ll survive whatever they throw up, unless the board provokes the fans into a showdown which makes things worse.
That’s not beyond the realms of possibility, as I’ve already said.
The review itself should be the easiest thing Celtic has ever undertaken. After all, what is there to decide? On an evidentiary standpoint there’s really no decision to make here except the one we’ve all been calling for.
The issue is this; can Celtic’s board proceed without letting emotion cloud this decision?
From a business standpoint this is simple. Another year of Lennon will shave ten thousand at least off the season ticket base; that’s a loss of somewhere in the region of £6 million. The board might not like it but fans have made up their minds.
From a footballing standpoint it’s even simpler. Lennon has failed.
If he was being judged the way the CEO is, on Key Performance Indicators, he’s been a disaster.
The case virtually makes itself.
There are those who will claim Lennon’s past triumphs buy him another chance, but why should they?
That argument doesn’t fly elsewhere; Leicester sacked Ranieri less than a year after a once-in-a-generation win. Look at what Ross County did to Stuart Kettlewell after he’d ended our record breaking unbeaten cup run.
Football clubs sack managers all the time.
Are we special?
Is Lennon special?
Of course not, but some at our club seem to believe that either there’s something exceptional about Lennon or that we should behave in an exceptional way towards him.
The idea that our club “owes” Lennon something is prevalent amongst a lot of the fan-base.
There are some in the boardroom who evidently believe the same thing. But what we really owe the manager is ruthlessness and honesty, to tell him that the game is up and let him go and pursue his career wherever he can pick it up.
The review has to give us an answer on Lennon one way or the other.
It either has to say that he’ll be leaving right away, leaving at the end of the season or deliver the news that we all really dread; that they are going to give him a chance to “turn things around.”
But what, exactly, is there to “turn around”?
The league is gone, and it’s not just any league but ten in a row. The League Cup is gone. The European results were cataclysmic and backed up a view long held on Lennon at that level.
We may get the occasional spectacular result, but more often it’s spectacular defeats, and they are expensive and they are soul-sapping to any notion of us as any kind of power.
Lennon’s greatest accomplishment this season is winning two games in last season’s Scottish Cup, and one of them had to be decided on penalties after we’d blown a two goal lead.
The performance that day was truly shocking. The Hearts manager tactically outclassed Lennon and but for a young keeper making good saves we’d have lost the Quadruple Treble.
If that’s to be the benchmark of success necessary for a manager to keep his job we’re no better than Aberdeen or Hearts or Hibs or one of those clubs which settles for winning the odd cup competition, who thinks that and a winning run in the league, whether you win the league or not, represents a successful season.
That’s the logic of that position.
We’re not talking here about a campaign in which a club fights for every point and goes down right at the end to an opponent who simply blows them away; this season has been a meltdown.
Today, at the time of writing, the Ibrox side has a 21-point lead.
We have two games in hand, but that’s the only data point the board has to look at as far as I’m concerned.
We haven’t even been at the races since October.
Lennon’s position has been untenable since November.
The league race was over in January.
That’s not survivable, although he has somehow survived up until now. I ask again; what’s there to recover?
How does he make this right in a way that’s acceptable?
The Scottish Cup?
Even if I thought we would win that competition – I have my doubts it’ll even take place – it’s not enough, is it?
He’ll go down in history as the first manager to win it twice in the same calendar year. And what? Is that what we pay a Celtic manager to do? Is that we what we fund him with more than £10 million to do?
This review is going to define who we are as a club.
I can’t put it more bluntly than that.
What are our ambitions? What do we expect from those at the top of the house?
Barnes and Mowbray were sacked for less than this.
Deila was mutually consented for losing a penalty shoot-out.
He had come within an ace of a treble the year before.
Lennon shouldn’t be in the job right now.
It’s an insult to all of us that he’s gotten away with failure on this scale, in this season of all seasons.
If the review was going to be based on the facts he would be removed the day of publication.
Leaving him in place until the end of the campaign, even if that’s it for him, is ridiculous enough … but as I said previously, I have concerns that in fact we’re going to leave the decision until this campaign is over, as if there’s still a way for him to turn it around.
Dragging this out is a joke. It’s the mark of a board that has nothing but contempt for us, and that’s an emotion too and I have a bad feeling that it’s one of the emotions driving this.
Would I feel that way if Desmond hadn’t used his media toadies to tell us that Lennon was staying just to spite us?
Who cares? That’s on the record, he put that out there.
The review is a sham, and that’s bad enough.
But if it’s a sham that ends in a pathetic fudge that will be far worse.
Because our club has had months to survey the landscape and make up its mind, and what’s more is that I know that our club has been destabilised by Lennon’s tenure and that the board doesn’t even appear to be considering that as a factor.
So the next week is going to be interesting, but whatever this board does it will be too little too late because they should have gone in November or in early December when our position was recoverable and the league could have been saved.
Delay and dithering and deflecting and more delay have been massively costly to us … and their answer seems to be to delay further. This was the easiest decision the board ever had to make, and like the manager they’ve already blown it.