It’s been a long time since I gave a newspaper report the bolding treatment.
A few days ago, I went through the Celtic Trust’s minutes of their meeting with the club in this fashion, and I realised that I hadn’t done it to one of the hacks in a while.
Imagine my delight when I read Gordon Smith’s piece in The Herald today on Celtic and Lennon and why he deserves another season.
I’ll be posting more on that later, but for now let’s just marvel at the stupidest article ever written on the subject up until now.
Yes, folks, it really is that bad … and here it is for you, one paragraph at a time with my thoughts underneath each of them.
See if you don’t agree.
Let’s start with the headline; it’s a beauty, and the first sign that we are back in the wards of Hidden Hills with the loonies again.
Gordon Smith: Neil Lennon deserves time like Ferguson got at Manchester United
Uhuh. The former CEO of the SFA (and Rangers) and a broadcast journalist for yonks before that and a player agent and former football player actually wrote that.
You’d think spending all those years in the game would give you some basic knowledge about football matters … but you’d be wrong.
Because this is Gordon Smith, the village idiot who got lost.
It was interesting to see the review that Celtic FC issued this week. Obviously the £5.9m loss was a bit of a shock considering how well Celtic have been doing in recent seasons and the major transfer fees they have received for Tierney and Frimpong. I can only assume that these deals were not recorded in the period relating to the review. One aspect that wasn’t clearly related was what Neil Lennon’s position is and if he’ll continue as manager next season.
First … isn’t that a car-crash of a paragraph? It’s all over the shop!
The £5.9 million loss was a shock?
During a lockdown amidst a global pandemic?
Is it a wonder that Scotland fans were aghast at his getting the job at Hampden, for which he was not even remotely qualified?
What should we expect, though, from the last man in Scotland to suss that something wasn’t quite right with Craig Whyte?
Gordon Smith is the textbook example of the Pure Fool.
He also clearly doesn’t know how six monthly accounts work, which is quite incredible given his background, as of course the Frimpong money isn’t there … and neither is the Tierney money which this halfwit appears not to realise was two summer windows ago.
What a clown … and this is only the opening paragraph folks, and it does not get any better as you go.
I know he’s had a lot of criticism from groups of Celtic supporters but I think this is totally normal in football when a club is not performing at the expectancy level deemed appropriate by the fans. I think it’s unfair on Neil but over the years I’ve seen many examples of this being the case. You only need to consider the news that was being posted last week that many Liverpool fans wanted Juergen Klopp sacked because Liverpool had lost 3 games in a row and were falling behind in their league championship challenge. For this to be even considered a possibility was unbelievable when you consider what he has achieved in his time at the club. A League title, the 1st for 30 years, a Champions league and a Club World Championship.
The opening lines have such garbled syntax it makes my eyes throb to read them; “the expectancy levels deemed appropriate by the fans” for God’s sake?
That would have got you the red pen treatment in any English class on the planet even those where they are teaching it as a second language.
You’ll notice that he spelled Jurgen wrong, and the sub-editor let that one go?
Someone thinks Smith doesn’t need babysitting.
I assure that person that he does, because this is mince.
And where was this “news” about Liverpool fans wanting Klopp sacked for losing a few games in a row being posted? On some random Twitter thread? Certainly nowhere credible.
It wasn’t even remotely “being considered a possibility.”
That entire section is just moronic.
A Football manager can offer be a bizarre position and although some of those that are sacked have benefited greatly financially, it still makes it a difficult role to perform in a relaxed manner. If you look at the Scottish Premiership, 3 of the bottom 4 clubs have removed their managers already this season and the pressure has been mounting on the officials of both Aberdeen and Celtic to remove their managers even although both clubs are currently in the top 4. Both Lennon and McInnes have been totally outstanding as bosses of their clubs over the years but because of one poor season the pressure mounts on them to be removed as is the case with Klopp.
A dreadful start, with football being capitalised for reasons passing understanding and the word “often” being spelled as “offer” with not a trace of editing in sight. More garbled sentence structure follows, and then come some absolutely barking assertions.
He points out that three of the bottom four clubs in the league have replaced their managers already.
What was he expecting? For them to go down with the violins playing and a stiff upper lip? Of course they sacked their managers … they were in the drop zone and wanted to avoid that fate.
But it’s his suggestion that McInnes has been an outstanding manager at Aberdeen that punctured my veneer of stoic professionalism and had me laughing my backside off when I read this last night. Mental.
The fans need to made aware that things can turn around, especially when both Lennon and McInnes have proved they know what is required and have previously demonstrated this over many seasons. One of the best examples of how this is achievable is the story relating to the best manager who has ever operated in the UK, Alex Ferguson. He was appointed as Manchester Utd manager in 1986 and prior to an FA Cup match with Nottingham Forest in 1990 he hadn’t won anything yet with the club. This match was prior to a run of 7 games without a win and banners having been displayed at Old Trafford calling for him to be sacked. Forest were favourites that day and were actually the holders of the trophy but a late goal from Mark Robins saw Utd go through and indeed, they went on to win the Cup that season.
The writing is so awful, so laboured, so clearly at primary school level it must have been a trip for serious professionals to read his reports when he was working at Hampden.
Can you imagine a major executive at a company the SFA wanted money from getting some of Smith’s original writing by fax or email, and being expected to take seriously the organisation employing him?
Jesus, it boggles the mind, right?
This is the oft-told Mark Robins story again … it’s apocryphal, and Martin Edwards, then chairman of the club, has told folk repeatedly that Ferguson would not have been fired if they’d lost that day.
He was rebuilding the club, bit by bit, and had, just that summer, cleared out a dressing room full of hard drinkers and brazenly lazy footballers living off their reps.
There was a reason Edwards and his board had such faith in the man; he had not only broken the dominance of Celtic and Rangers in Scotland – a minor miracle in itself, and he was the last person to do it – but he had proven himself a manager right out of the top bracket. By winning a European trophy. With Aberdeen.
Which he repeated when he won the Super Cup the following year.
Gordon Smith knows Derek McInnes history at Aberdeen (he doesn’t, really) but not Ferguson’s? Idiot.
From that turn around when he was at a low ebb with the fans and his reputation being seriously questioned around the English football scene, Fergie went on to win 13 League titles, 9 Cups and 2 Champions Leagues. If ever there is an example of sticking with a manager, this proves to be the best one. It’s obvious that this has been a very bad season for Celtic, but Lennon has good experience in the game and needs time, as Fergie had, to turn around his squad and rebuild the team going forward to offer a future challenge for the title. Already, you can see changes he’s making to both the personnel and system being operated and there appears to be an improvement albeit, it’s still in an initial process.
Wow. The writing gets worse, doesn’t it? And so does the argument.
You, or I or anyone could come up with a hundred examples of clubs where things went wrong and kept getting worse until the chairman pulled the lever on the ejector seat.
Yes, there are examples of clubs keeping the faith with failing bosses and getting a result – look over at Ibrox, although I’d say there are definitely other factors at play over there – but they are less in number than the ones where people stayed too long and wrecked their reputations and even their careers … not to mention the clubs themselves.
Brian Clough was a Forest icon; had they fired him before they did they might not have been relegated. They have never recovered their position; misplaced loyalty and sentiment are a killer.
On top of that, Lennon wasn’t here to build a team; he inherited a team.
One that had won everything in sight and could have kept on going for more years … and he has taken it backwards.
That’s the difference.
He inherited a winning squad with the most ironclad winning mentality I’ve ever seen at Parkhead … and in a little over two years he had reduced us to the current shambles.
Regardless of what anyone thinks, the feelings of the fans were essentially characterised by their desire for success this season. It was a big demand and aspiration of Celtic fans to win 10 in a row as it was equally that of the Rangers fans to stop it and achieve their 55th league title. I firmly believe that if Celtic were currently 15 points clear at the top there would be an equally large movement by the Rangers fans to have Steven Gerrard removed from his job. He’s a total hero at the moment but that’s because he’s fulfilling the expectations of all Rangers supporters. Not long ago, Neil Lennon was in that position but when things aren’t going to plan, the fans quickly show their disapproval.
There are days, and I know regular readers will know the ones I am talking about, when I get out of bed having not slept properly and the house is freezing and team isn’t playing well and there’s no news but old recycled stuff and I can’t be bothered writing but I do anyway and what I turn out is basically repetitive, dull, lifeless and lazy … that’s what Gordon Smith’s entire article reads like but this paragraph more than most.
It is horrifically, almost offensively, bad.
Apart from pushing the Survival Lie and taking “stating the obvious” to wondrous lengths reading it just makes you lose the will to live.
Thankfully, in terms of his Lennon argument, it was the last bit … but then, God’s be praised, because I needed cheering up, he thought to offer us this magnificent little closer, and what makes it great is that it’s even more horribly written and completely batshit, and someone in the editorial staff at The Herald printed it just as he wrote it as if standards and the like no longer apply there at all, when even a school paper would have gotten someone to do a hasty rewrite.
This is on the Ibrox Five and their wee dalliance last weekend.
It was extremely disappointing to learn of the behaviour of the 5 Rangers players who breached the national COVID regulations last weekend. The statement made by Steven Gerrard said the club were disappointed in the behaviour of the players. I’m pretty sure that anger and frustration would have been his more natural reaction to how these players behaved. The fact that two players, Jones and Edmundson have been severely punished for their actions and have certainly put their Rangers careers in jeopardy should have delivered a message to these players that what they were doing was extremely unacceptable. The word that has been expressed most of the time from people discussing what these players did is ‘stupidity’ and perhaps that is the aspect that they will best use as their defence when Gerrard engages them in a face-to-face discussion.
Wasn’t that … dreadful? But in the best possible way.
I mean, it is laugh out loud atrocious.
It’s the first time I’ve read a Gordon Smith article in that particular publication … I suspect it will be the last.
Because that was some of the craziest stuff I’ve read in quite some time, and in terms of the Lennon situation it is the worst article written on it, by far, distended from reality, with the daftest straw man arguments underpinning it and it read like it had been written by a primary school kid.
It certainly passed the time, though, and gave me a laugh.