Why Neil Lennon got the job


And so it’s Lenny.  Let’s put some easy to apply context onto the decision, Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez were not about to pitch up in the east end of Glasgow, those names were placed in the pubic domain by those in the betting markets.  Jose is pondering his next move, with a number of oil wells pumping away at his disposal.  Should Rafa leave Newcastle, he has a mind-blowing deal on the table from a Chinese club, and that’s before he is on the market.  There was not a candidate of Brendan’s calibre.

Salzburg manager, Marco Rose, ticked lots of boxes. Salzburg were scintillating against Celtic this season, but the whole of Europe knows about Rose, who will join ‘some German team’ in the summer.

We could have had David Wagner, two great seasons with Huddersfield before it all collapsed, but never having managed a club bigger than Huddersfield (or any other club), the risks were evident.  How would he cope with the scrutiny and pressure to win every game, when he has not actually won anything?  Before he joined Schalke, he was a possibility, but not a clear favourite.

We could have thrown the field open and gone for a Ronny Delia-type candidate, someone who has outperformed – and won things, in another European league.  There is a time for this kind of appointment, but is that now?

This month saw new names on the market, like Chris Hughton.  Hughton did for Brighton what Wagner did at Huddersfield.  He was a worthy candidate but there were red flags among the green.  Hughton spent £77m at Brighton this season (selling £12m of talent), but it was careless.  £17m went to Alkmaar for Alireza Jahanbakhsh, but the player was given 90 minutes only four times.  This is the kind of shabby recruitment that values Oliver Burke at £15m.  It is as wrong for Celtic as it was for Brighton.

The major consideration, and why Neil got the job, is that Celtic have a major rebuilding exercise to undertake.  They need to replace Lustig (whether he remains as backup or not), Boyata, Benkovic and Mousse Dembele.  Despite the mainstays of central mid being under contract, this area of the team needs at least one significant recruit.

Not only do they need to spend money this summer, but they need a high success rate from the new arrivals.  Signing the likes of Burke, Toljan and the legendary Compper would jeopardise the most precious of properties in football – a place in history.

Whatever you think of Brendan Rodgers, Celtic know very well the commercial impact a manager of his calibre brought to the club, but that level was not open this time.  We could have repeated the Ronny Deila experiment from Europe, or picked up someone recently out of a job in England, but not at this time.

Everyone at Celtic knows that for the next 100 years, fans will look back at this period and ask one of two questions: What was it like to live through +10-in-a-row? Or, How did they not get 10-in-a-row?

We need to spend, what for Celtic, is a lot of money, perhaps more than ever.  It needs to be spent well, with a lot more hits than misses.  If we break our transfer record again this season, the player(s) needs to an outstanding success.

Whatever Neil’s strengths and flaws, one comment from Peter Lawwell immediately after the Cup Final gave insight into what the club seen in the manager, “he has a great eye for a player”.  This appointment was not about stepping up when required, being a real Celtic man, or winning the league and Scottish Cup.  This was about spending a lot of money to make sure we get nine and then 10-in-a-row.

Celtic believe Neil Lennon can spend your money effectively.  That is why he is here.  Buckle up.


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  1. WeefratheTim on

    Night night James . Night night all. Onwards and upwards. It is magic being a tim. HH ?????????

  2. WeefratheTim on




    I don’t always agree with you as you know, but I didn’t see that much wrong with your blog. ?? HH bro.

  3. quadrophenian on

    JF – customarily interesting insights and inquisition. But…



    “He did not have to earn it, because it had already been promised to him”


    As another poster mentioned earlier, isn’t it possible that the ‘earn’ was to secure the league with the TT cup win as the icing on the cake? In that regard, it’s likely that these KPIs were, in fact, Neil’s re-audition and stripes-earners. If he’d stumbled on either one or both, it coulda forced the boards hands and lost NFL the gig.



    JF also writes:


    “I have to think the board knows the man it hired and what those limitations are.”


    I mused on this a few days back…I also think it’s worth considering Lenny’s take on the job, his own limitations and his fitness for the task at hand:


    I can’t conceive that – knowing the club, the emotional investment of fellow fans and the stakes of ballsing it all up – that NFL would put his and the clubs repute on the line all for a few payday dollars. Let’s accept, he’s handled situs that most of us could not face far less stomach and come back for more!!


    Maybe it’s Neil who feels secure in his own capabilities to secured what’s required for the great CFC!






    Well, excellent questions all.



    Neil’s targets, I do wonder how Lawwell expects us to take that seriously. Neil had an 8 point lead in the league; if he was promised the gig on the basis of getting that over the line then honestly, I am concerned because it would have taken a major implosion for that not to happen.



    By the way, a major implosion was not entirely out of the question. I think in the end we rode the luck a wee bit, but considering the hand grenade Rodgers left under the table when he cut and ran, that could have been a lot worse and it could have gone very pear shaped.



    But I cannot believe that the board would have even tried to sell Neil as the manager had we lost the Scottish Cup, I just cannot conceieve of that at all and it worries me for two reasons; first they appear to have made the man promises that this would not matter, and second, because if they really did sit for three months waiting for the right moment we’d be in one Hell of a hole right now having to go out and find someone with the clock ticking in the background. An appalling prospect.



    I agree that there’s a part of Neil Lennon’s character that is bursting with more self belief and self confidence than most of us will ever muster in a lifetime. And you know something? That is an enormous advantage, and especially over Gerrard … I reckon Gerrard is struggling with his own limitations in the dugout already. I suspect he did actually believe that those big occasions he was part of – especially that night in Istanbul – really were his achievements and a result of his inspirational leadership.



    But I watched Gerrard’s games closely after he became manager over there; I have no doubt that he got the players heads up that night, but it was the half time decisions made by a genuine tactical genius – Rafa himself – which turned that game. He was the one who moved Gerrard further up the park to the number 10 role where he was able to pull all the strings … Gerrard followed orders brilliantly that night, no question.



    But giving those orders and seeing the whole board as Benitez did that night … that’s way beyond his skillset and I think he’s starting to know it.

  5. quadrophenian on



    Agreed; the board couldn’t have appointed Lenny after a Cup calamity. Hence the wait.



    On – major implosion… Equally, minor miscalculations and malicious lady luck could easy have turned 8 points into squeaky bum time. As Economist stattos have documented, Managerial success is more to do with player performance and onfield fortune than it is managerial genius:





    In addition to NL’s acclaimed conviction of character, I think his own issues with the ‘black dog’ would make him incredibly self aware, and certainly more than most…including manager’s who have yet to suffer a major ‘slip’ in that role. (I hope too, that JJ’s claims of Neil’s maudlinism were mere mischief-making – a bad combo with Black Dogism, if true)


    I trust NL’s boz and enlightenment will shield him against the inevitable pack onslaught he faces next season. We have to back him.


    Keep on keeping on, provocateur. HH




    HH mate.



    On the subject of JJ … a scandalous, disgusting, shocking dredging up of innuendo and garbage to deflect attention from his own colossal mistake. That mistake was very satisfying to a guy who’s been on the end of his endless tirades of personal attacks on other bloggers.



    But it was the shameful segment on Neil Lennon which prompted me, for the first time ever, to have a go at a fellow blogger on my site. I was disgusted to read that today, but you know what? It felt damned good to be fighting in Neil’s corner again, although I wish I didn’t have to on issues like that one.




  7. Thanks by the way for the link to the Economist piece … I am intruiged. I’m going to bookmark that and read it first thing in the morning.

  8. quadrophenian on

    Yup, already read the evisceration!! But JJ has good days and bad ones (most do). His Moyes claim was bad PR.


    The Economist thingo crunched 15 years of EPL data – concludes clubs overpay Managers mainly with strong personal brands. No proof that a ‘guru’ can continue to do the bizo – Maybe BR read the research too ;)


    If true, the area for any club invest in, has to be the recruitment of game-changing – not bit – players.

  9. Goooooooood morning CQN from an insomniac, overcast Garngad



    Back to work this morning with a smile as big as a Cheshire Cat that’s got the-cheese or milk/cream????? Or to put another way just as happy as feck after a great day out on Saturday watching our wonderful club achieve history yet again ????????????.


    ????????? domestic trophys in a row.


    ???????? IAR.


    Retaining Scottish cup for 3 consecutive seasons in a row ???.



    All on the 25th of May and goals coming around about the same time as the Lisbon goals 52years ago. After big Billy and Stevie’s passing and BR leaving us in the lurch and major injury’s to every position for long periods this season, I think we have been incredible this season to finish with the stats/trophys above.


    There is something truely amazing about our glorious club.???





    Hail Hail



    D. :)

  10. i'vehadtochangemymind on

    We won the league again…………..



    Thanks BR, lennie, the team the club, we did it.

  11. A puff piece from go to Celtic fan Allison McConnell in The Times which has made its way to tabloids. How great Lenny is !



    We are in the slow lane and there is no ambition. We have a manager who is far from the level needed.



    Lennons last year was shambolic and emptied Celtic Park.



    People say it’s not his team ; thank god as we would not have done the treble.

  12. Some poetic disinfectant required to klean oot the ragin’ an’ rabid klan who are still obviously horrible an’ hurtin’………..



    In ither news…



    I’m no fan of iShortie’s usual brown brogue ootput but attention must be drawn to Archies fine commentary on our Rebel Treble. Well-written, appropriate and thoughtful. A lesson to currant hacks everywhere but one that will doubtless fail to register on that Bam English in particular. ( He should stick to the wugby)

  13. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Congratulations to the team, and the backroom staff, on the successful completion of the tttrrreeebbbllleee; a gladness tempered by the news of the death of one of my favourite players, Harry Hood.



    Appointing Neil Lennon was the right thing for Celtic to do; we need him to rekindle the spark that led him to such great success in finding players the first time around.



    The belittlers and the begrudgers are on his case already; they should remember it’s not the reception you get when you arrive at Celtic that matters, as how you are treated when you leave- compare and contrast Moravcik L, and Rodgers B.

  14. LUCKY CODY on 28TH MAY 2019 8:23 AM


    Lennons last year was shambolic and emptied Celtic Park.



    31 wins from 38 league games, 1 defeat, 82% win rate, 99 points, 102 goals. I think most Celtic supporters would take another shambolic season like that again next season.

  15. traditionalist88 on

    James Forrest



    Well said.



    We all want the same thing ie. what is best for Celtic. Naturally we don’t always agree about what the best actually is but we are in a position of strength right now. We’ve been here before but the difference this time is we have a really good core of players to build on and some very exciting youth prospects who are earning their right to be considered part of the first team squad as well. If Lenny puts his ‘eye for a player’ to good use again what a squad we will have.




  16. traditionalist88 on

    AULDHEID on 27TH MAY 2019 8:06 PM



    Thanks, yes I know about the website but haven’t had time to read for a while,




  17. AN TEARMANN on 25TH MAY 2019 6:30 PM












    That was the sound of my first treble dowm the hatch.on my way to town.come in and have a beer.timin of a treble treble was impeccable (givin the britherr the lead come in,have a beer.step back from the keyboard.?



    Enjoy tonight.be bout Gallowgate.



    Hail hail



    JAMES FORREST on 28TH MAY 2019 12:46 AM





    Gutted that I didn’t fully embrace and enjoy 3Treble day.



    But you know what? I will make up for it on 4Treble day :)



    Well james you missed a great night in among the Celtic fans-but u opted to type your nonsense.i know who i would rather have been with.singing bout Celtic,dancing bout with other Celtic fans,celebrating the unbridled joy of winning a treble for our third time.a triumph those who gave us Celtic could only dream off..you chose the wrong night to be a contrary cantankerous git in my view showing how detatched you are from Celtic


    Still wish ynu had experienced even 1 min of the total joy bout the gallowgate on sat nite but u chose yir keyboard.poor you and i mean that as a Celt.you lost out




  18. DBBIA



    ” compare and contrast Moravcik L, and Rodgers B.”



    A very good point.

  19. Regardless of the squad make up next season, NFL needs to radically change the style of play.


    The pendulum passing across the back and the safer option passing backwards has got to stop. Stick in the rubbish bin where it belongs.


    NFL needs to grow a team who can be spontaneous, unpredictable and above all, focussed on attack.


    Even the teams filled with cluggers put up a reasonable challenge to BR’s leftovers.


    For starters, 2 up front. French Eddie needs a partner up-front, someone with whom he can form a true partnership, ala Sutton & Larsson. Someone like Ikpeazu, he might not see eye to eye with SB at the moment but I’d love to see him and Eddie pairing up.



    I’d also like SB to drop back into defence alongside Ajer. I think they could become a great partnership like McNeill & Clark.



    That’d let CM run the midfield with RC making his tell-tale runs into the box.



    Hopefully TR will rediscover his form again next season. Ditch the meaningless games for Australia mate. I’d love us to bring Paddy Roberts back. If we had PR and JF terrorising opposition defences, it’d take a lot of pressure of the R & L back positions.



    Just my ponderings…..



    One thing we ALL have to bear in mind though: whilst we can all spout forth our ‘expert’ opinions of what is best for Celtic be that on the field or off it, the encumbents, the people who actually do the job, can’t just talk about it, they need to deliver, they need to make it happen.


    Picking/signing this player or that player is all very well but the management team (and it is a team) need to get the best out of the player, whoever it is. That’s the real challenge for NFL and his sidekicks.

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