Tommy Johnson has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets of the Lawwell era; that he interferes in almost every decision, and often to the detriment of our club.
Speaking on today’s Huddle podcast he told of how Lennon wanted him at Parkhead after he got the job full time, only for Lawwell to veto the move.
“I was all for coming up and helping Neil but it didn’t materialise,” he said. “Lennon wanted us in to help out with recruitment, someone around him who he could talk to. You need, as a manager, someone you can talk to on a personal basis. The powers that be decided against it.”
Nobody should be surprised, and it’s not making an excuse for Lennon either.
I don’t even feel much sympathy for him in this regard because if he wasn’t prepared to fight for his own people then he has to live with those imposed on him from elsewhere.
But honestly, where does Lawwell get off?
What are his qualifications for over-ruling the football department in this fashion?
We know he’s decided, at times, to release players the manager wanted to keep, just to save money, and I think that’s disgraceful enough … but Johnson is right. A manager needs to be surrounded by people he trusts.
Ronny Deila never was, and it is clear that Lennon wasn’t permitted to be this time around.
It would be easy to say that his decision making in this area was dreadful last time around, and that Celtic imposed this on him because of that, but that also asks more questions as to why the board thought Lennon was suitable as manager in the first place.
When you appoint such a poor choice as manager you have to do everything possible to assure that person success.
You don’t stack his backroom team with your own spies and undermine him from the first; that’s exactly what Lawwell did to him here. With Lawwell’s point men in place the club revolved around his judgement, and not that of the manager.
Lennon is responsible for the failures that have happened on his watch, and he freely accepted those conditions and thus can’t hide behind them.
But it’s long been understood that Lawwell is just as culpable for this disastrous campaign as the manager is.
As I said in a previous piece, time will take care of Lennon’s relationship with the fans. When he’s no longer at the club and we’re back on top and riding high and he’s making a living in a TV studio and commenting, we’ll all be in a much better place.
I can’t see any way that Lawwell’s reputation is rehabilitated no matter how many toadies and sycophants come out of the woodwork to tell him how great he is and propose statues in his honour.