Last night, Tom English published his article on the Lennon departure, and it reeked.
Although there was much in it with which we would all have agreed it was incredible reading this stuff from a guy who has said the exact opposite of almost every word that was in it.
Suddenly English is Lennon’s number one fan and the guardian of his honour, reputation and character. More than that, English has suddenly discovered his anger at the way Lennon was treated in Scotland for years.
He accepts that the people – that’s us – he called “bed-wetters” and accused of over-reaction last year actually had it spot on and that Lennon should have been seen of the premises sooner, yet he still manages to have a dig at us.
For what exactly? Being right? What an absolute muppet this guy is.
His comments on our supporters are quite disgraceful. He invokes our support for Lennon whilst the man was being subjected to horrendous abuse and even death threats and then accuses of us of acting in a similar manner.
Excuse me? Celtic fans didn’t subject Lennon to bile.
Celtic fans didn’t threaten his safety, his family or even his life.
Calling someone a bad manager and demanding the club sack him doesn’t fall under the rubric of sectarianism either the last time I checked the definition, although it’s not surprising that English either doesn’t know the difference or is pretending not to.
Because really, where was he was his pals in the press corps were suggesting that Lennon had brought it all on himself?
The Celtic fans will have Lennon’s back until the day he dies, when the issue at play is the treatment he gets from some sections of the populace.
This is a grubby, horrible little country at times and guys like English, who’ve played blind, death, dumb and stupid on sectarianism for decades do not get to use our commitment to fighting it as a stick to beat us with.
There are some of us who’ve been on the sharp end of this for years.
English grew up in the Six Counties but it’s been a long time since he understood what it was like to know there are streets not to walk down and parts of the city where you just can’t go if you’re wearing a green and white top.
Some of us live this issue.
Others pontificate on it from a position of no understanding whatsoever.
An ivory tower is no place to give lectures from.
It was the media itself who were most to blame for what happened to Neil Lennon back then; they waged a campaign of vilification against him as a player which made it easier for the nut-jobs and psychopaths and trailer trash of Ulster Loyalism to go after him for real.
And then they blamed Lennon for it.
This is all documented fact; we don’t need to go over it all again.
But we had Lennon’s back before the media suddenly discovered that it was fashionable.
That doesn’t mean we have to ignore the evidence of our own eyes. For some of us, the imperative here was to subject Lennon to the same scrutiny and judge him by the same standards as we would have any other manager.
For the last few months – and whilst people like English were sneering at us openly for it – we saw clearly, very clearly, where this campaign was headed and our only sin is trying to avert that and then trying to make sure that we didn’t go through the same thing next season.
It was nothing personal, it was strictly business.
Ronny Deila had the same criticisms thrown at him; it’s funny that English doesn’t remember how he covered the Norwegian’s time at Parkhead; with bile and sarcasm and scorn.
But some of us do remember.
The club comes first.
Hard as this will be for English to understand, the club comes first.
I personally have lost my happy thoughts when it comes to Lennon, but that’s a symptom of watching him insult our intelligence for months and treat us like mugs.
But if Lennon is being attacked by the real haters who came after him before, then yeah, I know that myself and tens of thousands will have his back as we’ve always done.
I’ll say it again; some of us live this stuff, and especially those in the blogosphere who write under own names and don’t have the luxury of being able to hide.
English doesn’t get to lecture us – not any of us – on loyalty or commitment to the causes we care about, and he certainly doesn’t get to dangle the issue of sectarianism in front of us in the manner he’s just done.
It trivialises the issue and what happened to Lennon in the past.
It uses it as a punchline.
That’s why it reeks the way it does.
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