Never follow Sinatra, where Celtic are now


There was an old adage in show business, “Never follow Sinatra”.  If you were on a bill with Frank, make sure you appear before him; do not wait until the audience was whipped into a frenzy.  No one could match his success, after him, the audience would be inattentive and disruptive.

We talked about this before when discussing the rolling managerial shambles at Old Trafford when their crooner hung up his mic.  It wasn’t apparent to me at the time, but Moyes is no Sinatra and never would be.  Their fourth tribute act is now clinging to his job while everyone knows he is not a good fit.

My friends, this is where we are right now.  Our own Sinatra left early last year for the Midlands without dropping a trophy and scarcely a defeat.  Neil Lennon took the interim job on the condition he would be considered for the permanent position.  Having delivered league and cup and enhanced his CV, he should have let some other mug try their vocal chords out on an audience that had been taken to the heights with unmatched regularity.  But that was never going to happen, he wanted the Celtic job, so would you or I.

Now you, me, Neil and apparently half the world texting me knows we don’t have Sinatra, and we’re midway through a gig.  Does anyone have Dean Martin’s number?

We hit the jackpot recruiting Brendan Rodgers in 2016.  Though not without his weaknesses (cough), he was highly talented with personal connections to the club.  The parallels with Martin O’Neill are clear, both transformed Celtic on the field and commercially.  Had there been a comparable option prepared to come to Glasgow in 2019, that commercial success would have made the decision clear, but there wasn’t.

The Dean Martin-types (Pochettino) are not coming.  They know not to follow Sinatra and they absolutely know not to walk into a club displaying the toxic withdrawal symptoms winning 11 consecutive domestic trophies apparently expose.

If a new manager arrived today and won the Scottish Cup, he would be forgiven if he checked for hemlock before supping from it.  That will deter those further down the food chain (Howe) from coming.  Anyone building a serious CV, with options opening out before them, would know there is a huge risk to career progression coming to Celtic this mid-season.  Instead, we would get those struggling for a job, or those who have never worked at our size of club/budget/pressure.  This is not all conjecture.

What is happening in the dressing room is important.  In the summer, several players had offers to treble their wages elsewhere but the manager asked them to stay, as it was a big season for the club.  None of them ‘pulled a Dedryck’, there was no manoeuvering.

This week, I heard independently from two people with access to the goings-on at Lennoxtown who assured me the players are 100% committed to the manager.  Everything is going wrong but the criticism and hostility has cemented their ‘sporting bubble’.  I doubt any with options to leave will want to stay at the end of the season, with or without this trauma, but some of our top performers are here because Neil Lennon asked them to give it one more season.

What happens if you sack Neil Lennon and ask an assistant coach to step up, bring in an unemployed drifter, or appoint someone from a smaller club who has never learned from or been tested at this level, is open to conjecture.  The possibility that you trip into the scenario Manchester United took feels highly likely.

As we all know, sacking your manager is the easy part, appointing a better successor is far more important.  Objectively, we have a far higher chance of making a horrendous mistake that bringing in a competent turnaround expert right now.  Our chances of getting it right in the summer will be influenced by how we, fans and club, react to the curtain coming down on our run of successive trophies.  Read the headlines and ponder, what kind of masochist are we going to end up with next?  This narrative needs to change or we will mix our own poison.

I’m not going to tell you we’re going to win 10-in-a-row because I don’t think we will.  I don’t think Neil will take us there and I don’t think anyone else will come in and make the difference.  None of us are accustomed to the defeats we have experienced in recent months, it is a bitter pill.  If we fail, the regrets will be long lasting, but short of a transformational appointment that is not going to happen today/this week/this month, we need to figure out how to get through this crisis without becoming a toxic destination for an aspiring manager.

And please, for all that he has gone through in our name, respect Neil Lennon, forever a Celtic hero.

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  1. Good article. So, basically we have to keep Neil because no-one of any quality will touch us this season? How have we fallen to this mess?

  2. “I’m not going to tell you we’re going to win 10-in-a-row because I don’t think we will”



    I’d be interested to know at what point did you realise this ?

  3. BIG WAVY on 10TH DECEMBER 2020 12:02 PM









    Chasing busses is about the closest contact fans have with the players because of the covid restrictions so it’s understandable.







    There’s photos online of a similar shoot the board banner from the last time around so maybe that was a fan who knows his history. I doubt there will be any Osman warnings issued on the strength of it, though no doubt the SNP will use it to try to introduce some legislation or other. It’s what they do.







    The Celtic Trust are probably now the body to provide a lead for the fans.

  4. You can’t really compare Man U situation to ours, Man U are up against much better opposition in the league, who have comparable budgets.



    We don’t even appear to recognise European results when judging our coaches, only demostic.



    I don’t believe we can’t get better than Lenny when all we are asking them is take the most expensive and largest playing squad and beat Hubs, Ross County etc

  5. glendalystonsils on

    So there was no plan in place around 6 ,7, 8 ,or even 9 to give ourselves the best chance of achieving 10?



    The worst thing to do would be to only realise there’s a problem when you’re into the start of the ten .




  6. Neil didn’t just ‘follow Sinatra ‘



    This isn’t some open mic karaoke bar where anyone can put themselves up for a tune.



    Neil was appointed into this role. Those who appointed Neil openly boasted of not having considered anyone else.



    That is the path the board chose.



    They did this

  7. The problem with this kind of talk is that too many cannot see where we sit in Europe. We’re blinded by our love for our club.



    Ralf Ragnick, Pochettino, Rafa Benitez, Allegri, Martinez, Mourinho, Marco Rose, Laurent Blanc, Leonardo Jardim etc. have been discussed for the position either this time round or when Neil Lennon was appointed permanently.



    Not serious suggestions. None of them would consider traveling to New Douglas Park or the Tony Macorini Arena.



    Even Eddie Howe is questionable. His name has been attached to the WBA job which may become available soon. I don’t think he’d pass up the chance to have another shot in the Premier League. Especially considering WBA are objectively a bigger club than Bournemouth were.



    Neil Lennon’s replacement at this stage of the season and in this sort of environment is likely to either be somebody who doesn’t have long-term ambitions (Say a semi-retired Strachan) or a young guy who knows this is a chance that might not come round again in the summer. John Kennedy or somebody of that ilk.

  8. My reading of that is that the board have given up on the league title. The reason why it is a poisoned chalice is because we have waited far too long to recruit a successor and their inaction means any new manager would be up against it. If we had acted a month ago when it was apparent Neil Lennon wasn’t going to cut it and we still had a decent chance of the title it would have been an attractive proposition to candidates.


    A new manager is indeed an unknown but the one thing we do know is that Celtic are definitely not performing under Neil Lennon. If we aren’t going to replace him then we need to strengthen the coaching team and bring someone in to bring fresh ideas and support him.

  9. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    Paul67 – “…we would get those struggling for a job, or those who have never worked at our size of club/budget/pressure. This is not all conjecture…”



    Yes it is.






  10. Thanks Ernie,



    I wasn’t aware of the precedent of the ‘shoot the board’ banner. Still doesn’t sit right.



    What collective and how to bring about change seems to at least suggest we have been shaken out of our complacent slumber, all far too late to save this season of course. I guess that gives us some focus for the summer of 21 after the deluge as it looks clear from Paul67’s lead that any January review will still determnine that Neil staying remains the lesser of 2 evils.






    So there was no plan in place around 6 ,7, 8 ,or even 9 to give ourselves the best chance of achieving 10?






    Keep hearing this type of thing.



    Not really sure what people were suggesting. The club has to prepare the team to win what’s in front of them. They have done that successfully.

  12. What odds are Dean Martin for the manager’s job?



    “How did all you bums get in my room….?”

  13. ‘Had there been a comparable option prepared to come to Glasgow in 2019, that commercial success would have made the decision clear, but there wasn’t.’



    Obviously Pinocchio Lawwell wrote todays header.


    The question is, how does Pinocchio know that when he never looked at the CV’s?


    Just more lies from a compulsive liar.


    It was a long header today and you can see that Pinocchio is now pleading.


    He is sounding worried.


    What a horrible individual he is.

  14. UNCLE JIMMY on 10TH DECEMBER 2020 12:25 PM


    Neil didn’t just ‘follow Sinatra ‘



    This isn’t some open mic karaoke bar where anyone can put themselves up for a tune.



    Neil was appointed into this role. Those who appointed Neil openly boasted of not having considered anyone else.



    That is the path the board chose.



    They did this






    Football is not an exact science. No team wins everything forever. Juventus are having similar woes.



    They appointed Neil Lennon because he seemed the right man for the job at the time. He had shown he could successfully work with the players we had as a caretaker and had a successful spell as Celtic manager on his CV.



    I’m sure there are better managers out there but there is always an element of risk with any appointment.



    The names I see discussed by Celtic fans are fanciful. We operate with the budget of a top English Championship team in a league that’s considered a backwater.



    I think Neil should have gone after the first Sparta Prague game. But I don’t criticise the board for appointing him in the first place. Only keeping him too long.

  15. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    UNCLE JIMMY on 10TH DECEMBER 2020 12:25 PM


    Those who appointed Neil openly boasted of not having considered anyone else….





    Exactly! And that’s what Paul is saying is happening again – there will be no other viable option unless they look for one.



    Self-fulfilling defeatism – it is truly incredible. I can’t think of any other business in any walk of life that would take this head-in-the-sand approach to facing up to problems that are in front of it.



    Something stinks about this – it is too bizarre.






  16. So Lawwell’s latest is : no one wanted the job so Neil got it. We can’t get a better manager at this moment so we’re sticking with Neil. And please stop protesting about our incompetence because we won’t be able to appoint a new manager until you all pipe down. So you’ll be stuck with Neil.



    Sack the board.

  17. The Star above The Crest on

    Maybe ask the independent sources at Lennoxtown why those committed players have been crap this season.



    Lawell appointing his lackey in the shower without even considering anyone else is to blame for this.

  18. NOTTHEBUS on 10TH DECEMBER 2020 12:39 PM


    Fantastic ,well balanced article Paul


    Crystallising the thoughts of many I would think.






    Hiyya Peter


    Hiyya pal

  19. Andy Patons Mullet on

    Money talks.



    Pay the rate and you’ll get the man. The squad isnt as bad as the results show its simply through managerial skills and Lennons reached his capability ceiling. What recent history showed is the better the manager the better the results.



    Saying no-one will take the celtic job due to 10, current situation etc is nonsense.

  20. Let me get this straight, Neil Lennon is leading us into such a disastrous position that it would so difficult to replace him, that we have to stick with him….



    As Dean Martin once said; “I have finally seen the writing on the ceiling”

  21. Todays article basically tells me the board have no intention of doing anything no matter how bad it gets. So why should the supporters care if they don’t?



    The only part of the article I agree with is that NFL deserves our respect but he no longer deserves the job. I also believe that the support deserves respect from the board, season tickets sold out to watch garbage on the tv and this is how they behave? So is it incompetence or Marie Antoinette syndrome?



    I look ahead and see an end of season with a total clear out and that total clear out will not be due to performances this season, it will be due to the fact that the support has gotten as apathetic as the board and season ticket sales drop to the lowest since the Deila years. The clear out will be to balance the books and in return we probably hand the huns another treble.



    I’m not normally a glass half empty guy but this has an inevitability about it.



    If we continue in this manner I for one will not renew next year and I’ve been a season ticket holder since the old Jungle paper tickets in the early 80’s.



    I would suggest that those who signed up in the Rat years will be gone as soon as the title is mathematically lost.

  22. If he really did look at other people for the job, I wonder how bigger names would have reacted when Pinocchio Lawwell informed them that he would be choosing the backroom staff and assistants, and would be signing players that the manager didn’t want.


    Pinocchio didn’t even bring that up today.


    The man is coward.

  23. Never follow Sinatra…Lawwell went and lined up a busking act to follow Sinatra.



    He was told the street musician hadn’t performed on a stage before and his voice wasn’t what it use to be – but hired he was.



    Now we must stay with the street performance artist because all the professional acts are signed up.

  24. THE_HUDDLE on 10TH DECEMBER 2020 12:06 PM


    And Lenny doesn’t currently have a 100% hit rate in terms of domestic trophies.






    At the start of the season in his current spell as manager he did, which is what I posted.




  25. The buck stops where the big bucks start…………



    Failure to secure The Ten ( should that transpire) and its importance to us, the Support and its significance to our shared history must mean a change at the top. I’ve a feeling Big Peter would have been offski anyhoo. That we are in this position is dumbfoonering…………but plausible explanations of arrogant, lazy , unprofessionalism would seem to fit snugly around Big Peter’s prosperous girth.



    Dermot will have a unique take on performance, this too likely to be at variance to the Support. What happens there is above my pay grade.




  26. New Celtic Manager Required- Mime Artists only need apply.



    Nobody worth their salt,will work for Lawwell, his name is toxic in football management.

  27. TIMALOY.


    As virtually no players will stay at Celtic more than about 3/4yrs (except mibby homegrowns and hummers we can’t turn into first-teamers) I believe every Celtic acquisition is viewed with a moneyball value in mind (and by that I mean a buy-cheap, sell-dear guideline). The Sevvies dont use resale as a key signing criteria is my point.


    Thing is at Celtic, for every VVD there’s 4/5 Kundai Benyus.


    And I never said Lenny was forced into taking punts, but I believe the options that are presented to him as signing options will have a poss resellable element (incl Ajeti, Turnbull, Barky) except the ‘quality’ loaners.


    Belief, confidence, coaching and systems is where we’re being outdone and coming undone at present.


    I’m with the few that hope Neilly somehow, some way turns it around.

  28. ……..Bada







    Can the Fat Lady kick a baw? Tell her to bring her boots tonight, at thius rate she might get a game!







  29. I have posted many times on here,without any proof,that somebody somewhere has blackmail material on Lawwell, the SMSM ..?…..why would we totally surrender one of the biggest achievements in our history? Why did we help accommodate the huns? Why agree with the 5WA? Too many more….

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