Why Is Lennon Talking Nonsense About Who Funded Celtic’s Success?

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I find Neil Lennon tiresome.

Almost every Celtic boss in living memory has respected the convention that they don’t offer a running commentary on everything that happens at the club.

At some point, if you do that, you naturally stray into the area of offering criticism.

You have to, or you have no credibility when you’re opening your mouth, but of course, the second you start to do that you’re breaking the last rule and straying into areas which are the province of those currently at the club and this is why our former bosses do not indulge in the practice.

It’s a ticket to trouble, and does he really need it? Do we?

I really do wish he’d find something else to do.

If he wants to get back in the dugout I suggest he work harder at it, instead of this. If he’s not going back to coaching, he needs to find a gig which suits him.

Media work is a certainty, but he should know that there are areas that a former manager ought not to go near. He appears not to realise it.

Today he’s in the papers singing a tune that is in no way fresh or interesting; he’s giving Dermot Desmond the credit for everything good at Celtic, and says that we owe him more praise than has ever been heaped on a manager.

So speaks the man who owes his entire career in management to Desmond. The day he gives him stick is the day ice-skaters get their kit and breeze around the walls of Pandemonium.

And we’ve heard it all before.

Lennon has said this, or variations of it, a half dozen times over the years and I suspect most people do what I do when he does; we stifle a yawn.

Chairmen and CEO’s do not get statues around the ground. I know this irks some of them, but it’s a fact. It has always pissed Lawwell off mightily. I do not doubt that Desmond believes he deserves more credit than he gets.

The thing is, Desmond gets plenty of credit and he’s been given plenty of it for the decision to go out and bring Brendan Rodgers back. It was a bold and ambitious move. Some would have said before it happened that it was fantasy-land stuff and that he didn’t stand a chance.

I don’t doubt he cares about Celtic and I never have.

I just object, strongly, to a single individual having so much sway at the club that when he makes a mistake – as he did appointing Lennon the second time rather conduct a search for someone better – it takes forever to correct it because he, like a lot of other hugely successful people, can’t admit when he’s wrong.

But Lennon goes much further than just praising him.

He repeats the same nonsense that a desperate hack made last week about Desmond bankrolling the manager … it’s garbage, and its easily disproved garbage.

He has never underwritten transfer spending and he never will, and he has said this to the club’s fans time and time again. Years back, in one of his few direct meetings with fan reps he told them that to fund the team would be akin to taking your money into your back garden and burning it.

He said something similar to the journalist Andrew Smith three years ago; it is not smart, it is not sensible, it benefits neither him or the club to do it.

In 2008, he gave his definitive statement on this and it has stood the test of time, both for how smart it was and how much it echoes the strategy that was being adopted then at Ibrox and which killed Rangers, and the one being adopted by the club that plays out of there right now. They’ve learned nothing, even with him playing Cassandra three years before the first club died.

“I get that all right, about splashing the cash or putting my hand in my pocket or giving more money to the manager,” Desmond he said to The Herald. “For those people, I really have no respect or regard whatsoever. When people say that you can just solve all problems by throwing cash at it, it’s absolutely stupid. It’s an insult to my intelligence … To me, if you start that approach, you’ll go bust pretty quickly. It doesn’t make any sense and what you’re doing is deferring a problem. You’re propping up something that doesn’t have a foundation and it’ll soon collapse.”

Deferring a problem. Exactly what’s been happening at Ibrox for the past ten years, and which was happening at the time. Setting up issues for tomorrow by living it large today.

Artificially inflating your club, doping it up, and hoping it doesn’t crash. But it always crashes. You can only do that stuff so long.

Because you aren’t really building anything at all.

So what in God’s name is Lennon doing talking that rot? And he knows as well as anybody that’s exactly what it is. He knows how our club is run, that it’s all self-sustaining and that only utter fools try to build a football club any other way.

Celtic runs on a break-even basis.

There is no sugar daddy behind the scenes pumping cash into the operation. Our accounts are public. Every penny that we bring in and spend is accounted for.

There’s nothing in those accounts about secret slush funds registered in the BVI topping up the transfer kitty or anything remotely like it.

I understand kissing up to the boss, and hero-worshiping the man who gave you your big break, but Lennon is never going back to Celtic Park in any capacity whatsoever.

I know there is a part of him which “refuses to rule it out” but he might as well because it’s no more than a fantasy of his and one that will remain that way. So what’s he up to doing all this “worship at the feet of Dermot Desmond stuff?” And why Desmond? Has he fallen out with Lawwell?

Honestly, what’s he even bothering about this stuff for?

Why are we getting this hymn to our Irish billionaire now? Dermot Desmond is riding a second wave at the moment, and everyone massively credits him with helping bring Rodgers back, and after Postecoglou we needed a big, big answer to the question about who will manage the club.

Desmond is getting plenty of good copy, and he earned every bit of it.

It’s the fact that we are a well run club, one that doesn’t over-extend, which has allowed us to build the financial powerbase which can give a manager like Rodgers big bucks to spend without endangering us in any way, shape or form. None of that comes out of Desmond’s pockets.

You know, that man has made a lot of mistakes in his time in charge of Celtic. But that alleged “failure” to fund the football operation from his own enormous wealth is not one of them. As we’re all well aware, that is the road to ruin … and we all take a certain pride, I think, when we visit Celtic Park and understand that we are the ones who built the club.

My God, Lennon’s comments aren’t just daft, they are an ignoramuses insult to all of us, echoing Hugh Keevins last week (and which he repeated today, like a complete moron) and which I wrote about.

That’s the kind of company he’s in making such stupid remarks as that.

He really does need to sort out what he wants to do with himself, all this peering over the garden wall isn’t good for him, or for us.

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