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Daniel Brigham

Neil Lennon: who are you? - latest blog

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With Neil Lennon linked to the Norwich manager''s job, Daniel Brigham

has trouble working out whether that''s good or bad news for Norwich.
Is Neil Lennon a good manager? It''s

a genuine question. I really have no idea. Does he believe in

win-at-all-costs football or don''t-lose-at-all costs football; tiki-taka

or lumpy-bumpy? Is he on the same page as Chris Hughton or from a

different planet? I have no frame of reference outside of watching two

or three big European matches in which he understandably – and

successfully – set his team up to not concede. I have no idea if

that''s how he sets his side up in the Scottish Premier League, because

I''d rather watch Simon Cowell eat a packet of crisps for 90 minutes than

watch the SPL. To me, Scottish football''s only use is allowing time for

a toilet break while Football Focus spends two awkward minutes discussing it every Saturday.So, not only do I not know how good a manager Lennon is, I don''t know what sort

of manager he is – other than from what I''ve read by people who have

seen a lot of Celtic (and also by people who have seen very little of

Celtic yet appear to have somehow formed a strong opinion on him). During

David McNally’s chat with Chris Goreham (which was disappointingly

conducted during daylight hours at Carrow Road rather than on the stroke

of midnight in McNally''s secret lair) he did a fiendishly excellent job

of sort of, maybe, kind of admitting that he had names lined up should

he sack Hughton. From a few little bits I’ve heard hear and there Lennon

is rather high up that secret list of names.So what do we

really know about him? He''s won the SPL two times in three full seasons.

Both of those titles were claimed after Rangers’ demotion, which seems a

bit like wining a tennis match with no opponent. You’d back

even Cliff Richard to take Celtic to the Scottish title under those

circumstances and, also like Sir Cliff, Lennon has his own calendar out

in which he, variably, stares moodily into the distance or looks rather

pleased with himself, like he''s invented a cure for male baldness but

isn''t going to tell anyone. The calendar has been marketed as

“official”, presumably to distinguish it from those hundreds of

knock-off Lennon calendars flooding the streets of Glasgow. Lennon

also has his own website. From there you can buy mugs, pint glasses,

fleeces, ladies sweat pants, cardies, wallets, mousemats, beanies and

t-shirts, all with his name, initials or face printed on. Imagine all of

this in the Norwich club shop. Just imagine it. You too could

open your beer bottles without ever forgetting the initials of Norwich

City’s manager; you too could run your mouse over Lennon’s face the next

time you check the Pink’un.   So perhaps there is a vanity to

Lennon, but there is also a bravery. He was one of the first footballers

to openly talk about battling depression in 2006, a courageous thing to

do with such a stigma attached to the illness in sport. Lennon deserves

immense credit for speaking honestly about it and helping to combat

ignorance.All of this might tell us a bit about his personality

but it doesn''t really tell me about his qualities as a manager (despite

his mousemat, now reduced to just £5, subtly influencing me by calling

him a ''Champion Football Manager). It''s impossible to make a judgement

without the greater knowledge only available to those who have seen

Celtic play regularly. After all, I know exactly why I don’t want Malky

Mackay as Norwich manager. I''ve seen plenty of Cardiff and enough of

Watford to form an opinion that although he might create enough of an

emotional bounce to get us two vital wins this season we''d be in exactly

the same position this time next year while still playing the same

uninspiring football. I have also seen enough of Marcelo

Bielsa''s sides over the last decade to believe that he would be an

inspired choice for next season (should we survive) but a disaster at

this stage. Not only is he unfamiliar with the Premier League but

Norwich''s players will be unfamiliar with his style of play. It would be

like asking morris dancers to master the Harlem Shake overnight.Yet

I can’t say with any confidence either way with Lennon. Logic suggests

that two Scottish titles in a league with no competition and a couple of

excellent European performances shouldn’t be enough to convince McNally

that Lennon is suited to a job as a Premier League manager. Lennon

does, however, come across as a fighter, a scrapper. He has a bit of

the mongrel about him, a striking antithesis to Hughton, who is more of a

loyal Labrador. However, that alone doesn''t make Lennon a better

manager. Just a different sort of manager.So, can anyone say how good – or bad – he really is?   Daniel Brigham is features editor of The Cricketer magazine.Follow him on Twiiter: @cricketer_dan

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[quote user="Dubai Mark"]So, we are still non the wiser then? ...."good post" ???[/quote]I don''t think we''re better informed but I would say we are a bit wiser. Because not having a clue whether Lennon is any good as a football manager - and no-one knows - is in itself an answer for a club that is not and will not be in a position to take a risk on someone without a track record in a serious league.

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Looking at Lifes Rich Pageant of managers (Bielsa is an excellent option and streets ahead of lennon or, what if we give it away to mackay) its clear that those that think Lennon is some sort of superman have just a touch of madness & have me laughing like a hyena. These days, I beleive, norwich fans thinks even the flowers of guatemala would be a better option than CH.

DBs conclusion is the only one that can be drawn. If we take the risky option of such a flaky character with unknown capability (a couple of CL games; lutons manager achieved the equivalent in the FA Cup last season showing how you can be successful in a one off, why not choose him?) from the begin the begin you will fund me underneath the bunker screaming cuyohoga and swan swan h before the men in white coats fall on me

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My gut instinct is that Lennon isn''t a great manager - to me he seems one of those managers who will get a team playing as well as the sum of its parts, but not beyond that. But like many, I just can''t say for certain.


What I do know is he has a Twitter account, and I don''t like the idea of a manager with a Twitter account.

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Ha, thanks Ron. Very kind. Bethnal, that''s my gut instinct too, but that''s all it is - an instinct. I think he''d be an enormous gamble, and a pretty underwhelming gamble as well. Does he use Twitter to promote his ladies sweatpants?

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Not really sure what to make of Lennon, defo got more fight in him than Clueless, or that he shows it more on the sideline!! but that said, a Celtic team which he has should not be losing home games in the SPL, bit like Man City losing at home to us!! Never should happen!! but has there been any decent Manager to have failed at Celtic!! only one i can think of who has failed in recent is Mowbray but he was not decent!!!

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