For a long time now, Neil Lennon’s position at Celtic Park and the complete failure of our season have obscured two things; the first of them is the role John Kennedy has played in this disaster, along with his sidekick Gavin Strachan and secondly, whether these guys can actually do something worthwhile at the club.
Do they have a future here after all?
It seems cut and dried to me that the next manager should have total control over the backroom team and that it will be almost inevitable that both men will leave when the new man comes in.
But I also understand that there’s an argument in favour of some form of continuity, at least for a while.
The question is; are these two worth keeping around?
Let’s be honest here; now that the dust has settled on Lennon’s tenure, we are able to do proper analysis on the rest of the club. The simple truth, when you get past the emotional reactions, is that we have no idea whether Kennedy knows what he’s doing or not.
We often speculated at the relationship between him and his assistant, and I have seen much mockery of Gavin Strachan and his famous IPad, but I think a lot of this is tied up in how angry we all are about the performances of the team.
Let’s talk for a minute about the Gavin Strachan IPad.
Most of us have called for the use of analytics and data at our club, and for coaches who understand this stuff. For that reason alone, I remain utterly baffled by the online hostility towards a guy who appears to take this stuff seriously.
Unless Strachan is playing Plague Inc. during games there is probably good stuff being generated.
But did the manager take any of it seriously? Did he listen?
The IPad looks unusual out there … but the ridicule it’s been subjected to is very insular thinking. This is actually the kind of stuff our coaches should be doing.
We forget sometimes too that the coaches only appear as good as the man who worked above them, and Lennon had the final say. Even when he and Kennedy were both sitting at home during their enforced isolation because of Dubai, and Gavin Strachan was allegedly running the team, it was Lennon who picked the starting eleven and the tactics.
These guys can still play a role at the club and this is their audition.
Fans will not tolerate Kennedy as the next manager so that’s not going to happen, and nor will it be acceptable for the board to shoehorn him in as the next permanent boss’s assistant, but if he and Strachan prove themselves over the next two months why shouldn’t both stay on the staff?
The least we owe these guys is an open mind. The least we should give them is time and space to make their case. It might well be that Kennedy is the incompetent a lot of people think.
It might well be that Strachan is a daft fantasist who thinks this is Football Manager for real, and that those glimpses of him showing off his data is actually a guy boasting “I won this game 3-0 on here.”
And it might just be that good ideas from these two were ignored, that their input wasn’t valued, that they have tactical plans of their own and improvements to make.
We were never going to know until they had the chance to try.
They have it now.
Let’s see what these fellas can do.
[snack-countdown title=”Celtic’s Countdown To Champions League Disaster” date=”06/20/2021″ time=”00:00:00″ colour=”#000″ textColour=”#FFF”]