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Celtic Fans Didn’t Give Lennon Half The Stick The Mooch Is About To Get At Ibrox.

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Andrew Smith has written some excellent stuff in the last couple of years, but he has also written stuff with which I have profoundly disagreed and he’s been the subject of a couple of these articles over the years. I don’t totally disagree with the article he put up last night on how The Mooch could become Ibrox’s Neil Lennon … except I kind of do.

For starters, let’s not even pretend that these men should be mentioned in the same breath. You will find few bigger or more vocal critics of Neil Lennon than me. It’s gotten me into plenty of trouble over the years. There are a lot of people who think that Lennon has been harshly judged, and I can tell that Smith is one of them. I am not.

The opportunity to manage Celtic should not have come near Neil Lennon either time he got the job. He had done nothing whatsoever to deserve such a momentous post. He was a youth team coach who was elevated to the manager’s seat by circumstances. During his initial interim period, he lost to a First Division team in the Scottish Cup.

That should have precluded him from ever getting the gig on a permanent basis. Celtic gave it to him anyway. No effort whatsoever was made to find someone more qualified for the gig. He came close to being sacked the following season and should have been when we failed to win the title. He was 45 minutes from it a year later. Then Rangers collapsed.

I think Lennon was a poor manager the first time around. He left when he did because the board never seriously backed him, but perhaps the reason they never did was that they harboured grave misgivings about his suitability for the role.

Every one of their doubts was fully justified. He proved it at Bolton and then at Hibs and so I don’t want to talk about his second time in the job.

There are people at Celtic Park who ought never to be forgiven for that disgraceful decision and I no longer need to justify my fury at it to anybody. So I will not be re-litigating it.

I’ll say only that my anger, and that of many, many fellow fans had nothing do with seeing Lennon as “too downmarket”. We saw very clearly that someone who had been sacked by Bolton and Hibs, and especially when the latter involved a full-scale melt-down of half the club, should never have been trusted with the awesome responsibility of running Celtic.

It was a matter of time before he pressed the self-destruct button on our own dressing room and that night after Ferencvaros when he threw the whole team under the bus to cover for his own dire tactical and selection decisions it was obvious there was only one direction of travel. The collapse was rapid and he should have been terminated way before he was.

The Mooch has done nothing whatsoever to merit being the manager at Ibrox. A handful of games in charge of QPR? Celtic fans were overjoyed with that appointment and we continue to be. That appointment was, and remains, a bad joke and Ibrox fans who were opposed to it are no more wrong about it than we were about Lennon.

But that’s where the similarity ends. Lennon won things. Lennon did things that earned him – yes, earned him – a place in the history of this club. He is a title winning captain and manager, and there are a handful of them. But a treble winning captain and manager, there is only one of those and that is him, and that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

The Mooch has won nothing. Not as a player, or as a manager. His shameless efforts to appropriate, for himself, the No Fans Title which Gerrard won would be the same as if John Kennedy tried to claim the credit for all the work Lennon and Ange did. Nothing will make that title his success. Assistant managers don’t get to do that, and the media allows him to try it anyway. It’s just embarrassing for them, it really is.

Neil Lennon, until the day he left Celtic, had a significant section of the support in his corner. I actually thought that quite unbelievable at times. I thought the personality cult – for that’s what in my view it was – surrounding him went on way too long … and yet for all that I understand the reasons why it existed in the first place.

Celtic fans have a tremendously complicated relationship with Neil Lennon, and we all know why. For years, years beyond counting, Celtic fans were the only reliable allies that man had left and as long as he lives there will be many, many in his corner. You know what? I will be one of them in terms of who he is as a man, as I always have been.

He should never have managed our club but he’s part of it and it is part of him and so this support is part of him. And so The Mooch will never be their Neil Lennon because what support there is for him at their club is neither wide nor deep. He is not a club icon nor a former player, just a guy who brass necked his way into the gig and knocked another guy out of his way to get it.

His conduct in getting it was dire. His behaviour since getting it has been abysmal. He has stoked the hatreds at his club and fed its supremacist notions until the fans are simply unwilling to tolerate any scenario where they play second best … but that’s what they are and that’s what they will be as long as people like him are there.

He is going to eat more dirt than Lennon ever did. He is going to become a victim of the very flames he has been fanning. One of the things Ange did right in coming to Celtic was that he immediately established a rapport with people because of his warmth and his openness. The Mooch has played into every ugly Ibrox archetype.

And without significant success he is doomed. If we win at the weekend he’s already on the downslope towards his sacking.

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  • jrm63 says:

    We will see what happens in the forthcoming game. We had two very poor performances from both wide players on Saturday. Van Veen did to Taylor what Stokes did to Tavernier in the Scottish cup final. That was embarrassing. In terms of goal-scoring Oh is nowhere near the Greek in terms of finishing. He seems unable to get off the ground. he is beginning to remind me of Mark McGhee. Without Jota and Hatate it is 50/50 on Sunday. Beale is a better coach than Lennon. But so are you

  • The Real McCoy says:

    I’ve mentioned it before James.
    The Mooch’s CV/ application for Ipox appeared in September on his twitter feed ( now deleted) with his sycophantic, staunch, boke-inducing tribute to ‘Her Glorious Majesty’, complete with THAT portrait ?

  • Johnny Green says:

    Neil Lennon’s record speaks for itself, he was a great Celtic MAN as a player and a manager. That cockney diddy with the big gob cannot compare to him, he’s not even close and should not be mentioned in the same breath as Neily Bhoy.

  • MArk B says:

    Lennon in my view was treated disgracefully by a lot of our supporters. He had to put up with threats no other manager has had to do. And he is a Celtic legend. He deserved much more respect. Our signigns for 10 were a disgrace. Ajeti, Barkas. I dont think he backed enough we had a winning team and needed to invest in it more at the time.

  • Frankie says:

    Well said Johnny green and mark b Beale will never be able to touch Neil.

  • Johnno says:

    Fairly poor comparison between the two I would say.
    Lenny could be viewed as a marmite sort of character, yet nothing can be taken away from him in what he achieved within the game with ourselves.
    On the other hand you got a mouthy moley snidey prick who remains as nothing more than a big pile of steaming shite that stinks to high heaven and stands to achieve fuck all within the game.
    The fallout for there failures will be upon a massive scale for the scum and the wounds lenny left us with have long healed by now and well forgotten about at this stage.
    Think the Celtic board will have to give the scum our fences on a permanent basis as there going to need them all before the season finishes still

  • Michael Clark says:

    I don’t know just how smart or dumb this guy Beale is but if Rangers lose to Celtic this weekend and they will. I think it would be smart if he parks his car on the other side of the Hampden tunnel so he can get on the A1 and get his arse out of Glasgow before he’s hanging from a lamppost outside Ibrox

  • S Thomas says:

    Not a big fan of Lennon.. think he’s snide, and a tad snakey. He threw Alan Thompson under a bus.. and Thommo was and is a good man. If that’s meant to be a friend, a would hate for him to be an enemy. When the going gets tough, he will blame everybody but himself, that’s the traits of someone who’s full of themselves. Lennon should have walked, and gave us a chance to turn things round in our 10 season. He along with others at the top failed all of us, I won’t forgive him for that.

    • Johnny Green says:

      Spoken like a true hun 🙂

      No Celtic fan, even the ones who don’t like him, would describe Neil Lennon as snide and snakey.

      Fail, fail Sean once again.

      • S Thomas says:

        All the ones that I do pal.. do you think what he done to Alan Thompson was good. Anybody who does that to a mate is a snider. A lot of fans can’t go him for it. Do you remember what he said when Chris Sutton and John Hartson says he should sand down “ I don’t care what guys in the periphery think” The guy is a snake . Would you throw your mate under a bus for your employers ?

      • S Thomas says:

        Just because your a Lennon lover. I prefer big Thommo any day of the week. I like guys who are loyal, that ego maniac wouldn’t know what loyal was if it hit him in the face. If you don’t think what he did was snide.. fuck going out for a pint with you man jeezo.

        • Johnny Green says:

          Don’t worry about going out for a pint with me, I don’t breath the same air as huns.

          • S Thomas says:

            Is that not a bit bigoted mate .. are you 1 of these guys who says he is not bigoted but won’t have a mate that’s a rangers fan lol.

  • cheezydee says:

    I’ve not been on here for a couple of months, can’t believe you’re still using the mooch

    As for lennon, he has his flaws, for me namely that he’s too emotional, and I didn’t want him in 2nd time for that reason (as well as leaving when rangers were liquidated). But for all the slagging he gets, famous nights against Barcelona and the fact that he done outstanding in the Europa league the year before the 10 would suggest he’s not totally rubbish. There’s some things you can’t control as a manager, he has his limits, but I think some of the criticism is over the top. He is after all one of us. And he was a great player for us

    • Woodyiom says:

      Spot on. Lennon’s managerial record (particularly first time around having taken over the absolute mess Mowbray had us in) is more than ok and as James himself admits he’s the only person in history to have won a treble as both player and manager so he must have done something right!! He’s not a rubbish manager, merely average, but definitely struggles to contain his emotions and lacks the ability to evolve teams/clubs (but he’s not the only one on that score). He was the right appointment as caretaker to the end of that season when Brendan left us in the lurch but his tactical and strategic limitations allied to his lack of self-awareness meant he should never have got the job permanently thereafter. BUT he’s a Celtic man through and through and a big part of our history so he deserves plaudits and love for that not the spiteful hate some “fans” appear to have for him – those “fans” can do one and go follow follow another club where hate is the currency.

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