I’m not really interested in getting into a whole big Lennon debate again; everyone knows where I stand on the situation. But I do want to briefly touch on the bizarre story which is in the papers today wherein Darren Bent claims Lennon called him to complain about an online article. If it’s true it’s basically just weird. It’s also insightful.
The upshot of it is that Bent said that when he was writing for that ridiculous website Football Insider that he was asked a question about which of the two Glasgow based managers he’d like to play for, and he picked Gerrard over Lennon.
That’s a perfectly valid point of view, especially for someone who knew Gerrard whereas he didn’t know Lennon at all. He also said that he chose Gerrard because he was younger. There’s not much in it I don’t think; certainly it’s nothing to get in a twist over.
Yet Lennon asked, through a friend, for his number and then proceeded to call him to “clarify a few points.” And that’s bewildering for any number of reasons.
We’re talking here about an ex-player who wasn’t good enough in his prime for us to have taken a punt on. He wasn’t being asked to pick a favourite team and no-one would have cared which one he chose. The answer he gave made literally zero difference to anything happening in the real world, and it made zero difference to Celtic or Lennon.
So what in God’s name possessed him to turn that into a thing? Whose interests were being served by that nonsense? What possible good did he think it would do him? It is not a great way to make friends, but a fabulous way to make new enemies.
It reeks of rampaging egotism more than anything else, and that – of course – has effects that go beyond just calling some guy to bollock him over the phone. That has impacts in how you relate to staff, to players, to the media … we saw Lennon launch a quite ridiculous attack on a journalist just the other day. And this wasn’t Ange gently slapping back at a daft question … that guy did his job and Lennon basically castigated him for it.
The other thing that stands out is that this happened at some point during Lennon’s second tenure, when he was going head to head with the former Anfield player. And I marvel at that being the sort of thing Lennon had on his mind, the sort of thing he obsessed over, whilst trying to navigate a title battle of the hugest importance with our club.
Honestly, the whole episode is really out there and whilst there are a million reasons why a club fails over the course of a season, having a manager who cannot take or accept the smallest criticism and who stews over things of absolutely no consequence at all is obviously not helpful in a deteriorating situation. Yet it feels like the more we learn the less we understand.