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View Full Version : Lennonís expectations his downfall. Good article



timewilltell
28-01-2019, 12:26 PM
Good balanced article by Anthony Brown


In light of his remarkable post-match comments at Tynecastle last May, it was a surprise that Neil Lennon actually began this season as Hibs manager.
Although his first two years at the club had been fruitful and relatively harmonious Ė a Championship title followed by a fourth-place finish in the Premiership Ė the Northern Irishman appeared to be paving the way for his departure when, after a 2-1 defeat by Hearts cost his side the chance of second place, he eviscerated a group of players who had largely shone for him and simultaneously questioned the ambition of his superiors, with whom he seemed to be on the same wavelength until that landscape-altering night in Gorgie.
https://res.cloudinary.com/jpress/image/fetch/w_620,f_auto,ar_3:2,q_auto:low,c_fill/if_h_lte_200,c_mfit,h_201/https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/webimage/1.4863309.1548627610!/image/image.jpgNeil Lennon's exit from Hibs appeared inevitable following his post-match outburst when Hibs lost to Hearts last May
Perhaps it was the uplifting nature of the season-ending 5-5 draw with Rangers in the Leith sunshine a few days later that helped everything calm down again, but, after a few weeks of uncertainty over the close-season, Lennon was back to begin the the big rebuild after losing some key men, most notably John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch, a player he had ironically deemed surplus to requirement the previous summer.

Despite the lingering sense over the past nine months that a parting of ways seemed to be only a matter of time away, nobody at Hibs wanted it to end like this, with the club losing one of its most high-profile, popular and passionate managers in the most ugly, acrimonious manner possible. Lennon could have walked away as a hero last summer, as predecessor Alan Stubbs did after winning the Scottish Cup two years previously. He could have been headhunted by a bigger club after kicking off his third season in style, proving he could overcome the loss of his main men. Or he could even have left with his dignity intact at any point, acknowledging that the task of replacing the seemingly irreplaceable in the Hibs midfield had simply proved beyond him on the Easter Road budget.
Lennon is a fighter, though. Although he had hinted at leaving last May, the warrior inside him was determined to find a way of keeping Hibs competitive with the likes of Rangers, Aberdeen and resurgent Hearts. Ultimately his frustration at being unable to achieve what he had hoped to in Edinburgh has been his downfall. Frustration at not being able to replace McGinn, McGeouch et al with established big hitters Ė not that there were many obvious, realistically-attainable candidates to fill those midfield voids Ė and exasperation at the inconsistency and perceived limitations of the players left at his disposal has clearly manifested itself in the fateful ructions of East Mains on Friday.

While he wasnít helped by a wretched run of injuries this season, Lennon couldnít have envisaged ending his Hibs tenure with the team struggling in the bottom six, outplayed and well beaten by a ninth-placed Motherwell side. In his efforts to draw a positive response from last Wednesdayís limp display at Fir Park, he appears to have overstepped the mark in Fridayís video analysis gathering at the training centre, although exact details Ė and context Ė remain sketchy on the basis that nobody present is able to say too much about what happened due to the delicate nature of the situation.
That Florian Kamberi was at the centre of the blow-up comes as little surprise to anyone who has been following Hibs closely over the past couple of months. Ever since being substituted against St Mirren in December, and subsequently criticised by assistant manager Garry Parker, the Swiss striker appears to have become something of a scapegoat for the coaching staff. Harshly, it must be said. Kamberi hasnít hit the heights of last season, when he made a sensational impact after arriving on loan from Grasshoppers Zurich. In defence of the Swiss, he has largely been operating without Scott Allan, McGeouch, McGinn and Jamie Maclaren this term, the four players who were arguably most crucial to his superb form last season. The regular supply from midfield hasnít been there this season while he hasnít had a regular partner to play alongside, with Maclaren injured for much of the season and then going off on international duty shortly after returning to the side. Indeed, Maclaren is understood to have had his own issues with Lennon recently, raising the possibility that he could cut short his loan from German club Darmstadt this month.
When Lennon had another public nibble at his ďstrikersĒ in his post-match media briefing on Wednesday, it was clear Kamberi was again the target of his ire since he was only striker to start the match and was only joined in attack by Oli Shaw in the last ten minutes. To this observer, Kamberi was the least of Hibsí problems on Wednesday. He barely got a sniff, largely because he was working off scraps, but he seemed hungry enough to show for his team-mates and get involved in the play. Given Hibs pushed the boat out to get Kamberi last summer, Lennon clearly expected more from his star striker. It is worth remembering, however, that until arriving at Easter Road just a year ago, Kamberi, still only 23, had never previously been cast as the main striker of a top-flight team. He is not a proven top-level operator and was bound to have a drop-off at some point, particularly given the previously mentioned mitigating circumstances. Kamberi showed to an extent that he had the mentality to respond positively to the negative comments of his bosses by producing impressive performances at home to Celtic and away to Rangers last month, but, not surprisingly, the regular flow of withering comments about his work, at a time when almost every other Hibs player has been struggling for form, eventually caused Kamberi to snap.

Lennon, a former captain and manager of Celtic, has spent the bulk of his football career operating in an environment where personal criticism can be used as a motivational tool. Indeed, anyone who watched the compelling Netflix documentary Sunderland Til I Die will have seen Aidan McGeady, a former colleague of Lennonís who grew up at at Celtic, lamenting the fact that nobody in the Sunderland dressing-room, including manager Chris Coleman, seemed to be showing the required level of anger and concern as the team slid towards Englandís third tier last season. McGeady appeared to be pining for a Lennon-type figurehead to try and spark a response.
When it gets personal and persistent, however, there is a danger of it becoming a vendetta. Just as Lennon is entitled to crack the whip if he sees fit, a player is entitled to hit back if they feel they are being unfairly maligned, particularly in public where opinions can be easily influenced by the words of high-profile characters like Lennon.
For all that the Kamberi situation seems to have taken an unsavoury turn and become the straw that broke the camelís back, working under Lennon hasnít been a relentless slog for every Hibs player over the past two-and-a-half years. They wouldnít have enjoyed such success for the majority of his reign if that had been the case. Former Hibs striker Jason Cummings, for instance, said that Lennon was the perfect manager for him because his constant cajoling kept him focused. The high demands were never an issue with the players, all of whom wanted to better themselves. But throwaway slurs, such as branding the team ďamateursĒ in the previously-mentioned Tynecastle outburst, were never going to be well received. The general consensus among the Hibs squad was that when Lennon was in good fettle, he was a great manager to work under but when things were bad, it could be pretty grim, particularly this season.
While the hostility of battle and a ferocious will-to-win often brought out the worst in Lennon, it must be acknowledged that away from competition, he is an engaging, intelligent and personable character. Indeed, one prominent first-team member remarked privately last year that Lennon was the best man-manager he had worked under and helped him immeasurably on a human level to deal with a personal issue. I experienced Lennonís compassionate side first-hand around 14 months ago when he was the first person I interviewed following a close family bereavement.

From a journalistís perspective, it has been brilliant having him in Edinburgh. Media gatherings were rarely bland, with Lennon good value for insight and opinion on a broad range of subjects. Refreshingly, he was always honest, even if speaking his mind occasionally got him into trouble, as appears to have been the case behind closed doors on Friday. If Hibs felt the manager crossed a line, they had to act accordingly. There have been enough signs in recent months to suggest that an end point was coming for Lennon and Hibs, but there will be regret on all sides that a largely exhilarating alliance has culminated in implosion.

jacomo
28-01-2019, 01:02 PM
Who does Anthony Brown write for these days? If itís still the Scotsman, I was on their website earlier but couldnít find this article - but then they are in a real mess.

This piece doesnít really touch on Lennonís AWOL moment before Christmas, which I think has a big influence on the current situation. It is clear that Hibs feel the manager has not been carrying out his duties in a satisfactory way.

G B Young
28-01-2019, 01:13 PM
Who does Anthony Brown write for these days? If it’s still the Scotsman, I was on their website earlier but couldn’t find this article - but then they are in a real mess.

This piece doesn’t really touch on Lennon’s AWOL moment before Christmas, which I think has a big influence on the current situation. It is clear that Hibs feel the manager has not been carrying out his duties in a satisfactory way.

Think he's a freelance but still writes some stuff for the Evening News and Scotsman. Definitely one of the more insightful writers and very 'neutral' despite (I think) being a yam.

worcesterhibby
28-01-2019, 01:17 PM
decent read, thanks for posting.

Unseen work
28-01-2019, 01:18 PM
I think the majority of fans never expected us to replace Allan, McGeouch, McGinn, Barker etc with like for like replacements or to completely push on and split the old firm.

We finished on such a high last season and there was a real buzz, however the size of the rebuilding job was massive and we have to be realistic about who we can attract to the club with the amount of money we have.

What I do expect, is to definetly be above Livingston and St Johnstone. I also expected us to push on and be ahead of Hearts and Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock are punching well above there weight all because they have a fantastic manager. They donít have a bigger budget than us but use it better.

The Modfather
28-01-2019, 01:45 PM
I think the majority of fans never expected us to replace Allan, McGeouch, McGinn, Barker etc with like for like replacements or to completely push on and split the old firm.

We finished on such a high last season and there was a real buzz, however the size of the rebuilding job was massive and we have to be realistic about who we can attract to the club with the amount of money we have.

What I do expect, is to definetly be above Livingston and St Johnstone. I also expected us to push on and be ahead of Hearts and Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock are punching well above there weight all because they have a fantastic manager. They donít have a bigger budget than us but use it better.

Agree with the above. We had the biggest rebuilding job to do, but as has been pointed out before we werenít the only ones with a rebuilding job. Killie lost Mulumbu & Aberdeen McLean and Christie. Of course we canít replace like for like but Lennons plan seemed to be to recruit a load of number 10s and try and shoehorn them all in.

matty_f
28-01-2019, 01:56 PM
I think the majority of fans never expected us to replace Allan, McGeouch, McGinn, Barker etc with like for like replacements or to completely push on and split the old firm.

We finished on such a high last season and there was a real buzz, however the size of the rebuilding job was massive and we have to be realistic about who we can attract to the club with the amount of money we have.

What I do expect, is to definetly be above Livingston and St Johnstone. I also expected us to push on and be ahead of Hearts and Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock are punching well above there weight all because they have a fantastic manager. They donít have a bigger budget than us but use it better.

:agree:

I think most of the players that we recruited in the summer would get into the majority of teams in this league.

I think it's grossly misrepresentative of what happened to imply that Lennon's struggles with the team have been on the back of who he has recruited.

Our team will be significantly more expensively assembled than virtually every team bar Rangers, Celtic, Hearts and Aberdeen.

Lennon's been hamstrung (no pun intended) by the injuries the team have had, but not by the budget he's had.

HFCEighteen75
28-01-2019, 02:01 PM
If Lennon had been so driven to earn us second place, maybe he could've taken the time before that game at Tynecastle in May to work out that we only needed a draw to give us a very good chance of finishing in second place. By far his lowest and thickest moment as a football manager to date.

GreenT
28-01-2019, 02:02 PM
I think is also quite a good piece about Flo's situation.

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/florian-kamberi-analysis-incessant-neil-lennon-criticism-hibs-team-meeting-and-future-1-4863569

Springbank
28-01-2019, 02:04 PM
I think Stubbs made signings that gave a team a good balance (especially in his midfield 4s)
Lennon's signings always seemed to leave us more imbalanced than we had been before
Maybe not all of them were NL signings of course.

Liberal Hibby
28-01-2019, 02:11 PM
While both articles are well written I still think they're based on hearsay (and probaby lifted from here or other fans forum). The truth is does any journalist know what happened? No they don't and it's just speculation.

I'm sure Lennon and Parker will leave on mutually beneficial terms with the club and both sides for employment law reasons will say little. So I doubt we'll ever know the truth - but it won't stop this becoming another £150k to sign Lee Griffiths.

The Modfather
28-01-2019, 02:13 PM
:agree:

I think most of the players that we recruited in the summer would get into the majority of teams in this league.

I think it's grossly misrepresentative of what happened to imply that Lennon's struggles with the team have been on the back of who he has recruited.

Our team will be significantly more expensively assembled than virtually every team bar Rangers, Celtic, Hearts and Aberdeen.

Lennon's been hamstrung (no pun intended) by the injuries the team have had, but not by the budget he's had.

I donít necessarily disagree with you but is the bit in bold based on the players on paper rather than their actual contribution this season?

Also, I think it is a bit naive to suggest our recruitment (only 3 strikers, one of which requires specific service otherwise he can offer very little IMO, as well as only 3 wingers, one of which was a known fitness gamble, as well as not addressing the energy and dynamism missing in midfield - Iím just referring to those attributes not a McGinn level player, Omeomga appears to be that type of player. Time will tell on his quality) isnít a major part of why we are where we are as well as a number of other reasons, of which injuries is of course also a massive factor but only part of the explanation to this season not the sole reason IMO.

Keith_M
28-01-2019, 02:41 PM
I think the majority of fans never expected us to replace Allan, McGeouch, McGinn, Barker etc with like for like replacements or to completely push on and split the old firm.

We finished on such a high last season and there was a real buzz, however the size of the rebuilding job was massive and we have to be realistic about who we can attract to the club with the amount of money we have.

What I do expect, is to definetly be above Livingston and St Johnstone. I also expected us to push on and be ahead of Hearts and Kilmarnock.

Kilmarnock are punching well above there weight all because they have a fantastic manager. They don’t have a bigger budget than us but use it better.

That's basically my view as well.

Not being able to replace such a good midfield would be nigh on impossible... but being in 8th place, with 9th placed Motherwell catching us up, and having had only two wins from the last fourteen games is another matter entirely.

There have been too many games recently where we seemed totally devoid of any game plan, or at least one that didn't involve lumping long balls up to a solitary striker that doesn't appear to be adept at that side of the game.



It also didn't help when you're making the effort to go and watch this in person every week and some fellow fans are telling you to stop complaining, that you've never had it so good, and the only alternative was to go back to the days of Butcher.

:rolleyes:

Beefster
28-01-2019, 04:52 PM
If Lennon had been so driven to earn us second place, maybe he could've taken the time before that game at Tynecastle in May to work out that we only needed a draw to give us a very good chance of finishing in second place. By far his lowest and thickest moment as a football manager to date.

We get it, you dislike him. You donít need to insult him in the majority of your posts though.

chrisski33
28-01-2019, 04:57 PM
Much better article than keith jacksons one!

JimBHibees
28-01-2019, 04:58 PM
If Lennon had been so driven to earn us second place, maybe he could've taken the time before that game at Tynecastle in May to work out that we only needed a draw to give us a very good chance of finishing in second place. By far his lowest and thickest moment as a football manager to date.

:rolleyes:

Hindsight and all that he put out a team that played ok in a tight game unfortunately we gave away two poor goals which you cant really account for.

Hibees1973
28-01-2019, 07:23 PM
Much better article than keith jacksons one!

My thoughts exactly when I read Brownís article in the EN this afternoon. Was very balanced reporting, when in reality, we donít know the full facts yet....it is possible we never will.

Doesnít surprise me the Glasgow press giving more sympathy to Lennon, again without full knowledge of the facts. Lennon did do a good job at Hibs but for the Glasgow press to ignore all his tantrums, etc, is par for the course for them.

007
28-01-2019, 11:22 PM
Much better article than keith jacksons one!

That article is ridiculous. Jim Traynor, via his mouthpiece, taking the opportunity to have a pop at Hibs. They're obviously still hurting badly over failing to win their 1st trophy (excluding the Petrofac Cup) on 21.5.16.

Sir David Gray
28-01-2019, 11:34 PM
Much better article than keith jacksons one!

That wouldn't be difficult.

neil7908
29-01-2019, 12:14 AM
Much better article than keith jacksons one!

Evening for the that paper it wash a joke.

Basically just "I don't have an f'ing clue what happened but Hibs are s***e and then something about snowflakes". Might as well have gotten Katie Hopkins to write it.

Captain Trips
29-01-2019, 12:21 AM
Much better article than keith jacksons one!

A blank piece of paper was better.

judas
29-01-2019, 09:37 PM
Not a great article.. Iíll take my clubs side over Lennons.

It amazes me how people follow like sheep, this perpetually fashionable idea that the manager is some sort of unique winner, standing alone against an incompetent and morally vacuous club establishment.






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