A strange day,yesterday. One which saw the club decide to cash in on one of our first team regulars-which suggests that others are highly likely to be leaving in what remains of this transfer window,or very early in the next-while our manager made a thinly-veiled attempt to retain his job by praising to the skies those who have control over his role at the club.
In the summer of 2019,less than two years ago,Jeremie Frimpong was looking forward to another season learning his trade in the youth teams at Manchester City. He had been with that club since the age of 9yo,progressing as he got older. He didn’t figure on any of the various lists we see published of youngsters to follow,and wasn’t lighting up the radar on any Most Wanted lists either. At 18yo,this slightly built youngster signed for Celtic for £350,000 with a sell-on clause of 20%. To say we were underwhelmed would be an understatement,this was clearly another one of Lawwell’s infamous punts. The saving grace here was that he cost us less than the usual rabbit out the hat who gets caught in the headlights types,and we cast him to the back of our minds.
That was the beginning of September. Later that month,I was home for a fortnight which allowed me the chance to take in three matches-plus a hugely enjoyable September Monday meeting at Hamilton!-the first of which was in The League Cup against Partick. My record in such games is not good,and I had to be talked in to attending-and I’m glad I was there!
I said at the time that we had a player on our hands,and I wasn’t the only person there that night who thought the same thing. It was a genuine pleasure to see him play,all energy and exuberance,speed and tricks. No shrinking violet in the tackle either,his timing was excellent. It soon became very clear that his emergence hadn’t gone unnoticed by the thugs in our game who,deprived of their previous target in Kieran Tierney,soon zeroed in on him-with the refereeing fraternity applying their customary questionable version of the rules.
It was last January,about four months into his career for us,that Powers of Kilmarnock moved faster than he had ever done before to nail the wee fella and damn near cripple him. Nothing wrong with that in the greatest wee country in the world,of course. Not even a yellow card. I think that finished his time with us,he knew that if he wanted to progress-or even to continue life without the benefit of a wheelchair-it couldn’t be at Celtic Park.
His trajectory has flattened since then,no doubt. It is difficult to continue improvement as a youngster in an underperforming side,especially one which is so poorly coached and when you don’t have a defined position in the team. There is little doubt that getting £10m for a player who has just turned 20yo,with only around forty games under his belt,can be viewed as good business.
Losing such an exciting young talent because he doesn’t see much likelihood of improvement with Celtic isn’t.
While the story about Frimpers was breaking,our manager was holding his regular press conference. I’m not sure whether Sky had any representation at it! Dave from The 90 Minute Cynic was in attendance though,and asked a fairly straightforward question of him. Along the lines of significant discontent amongst the fans at being out of the title race so early,do you agree with this?
The Cynic on Twitter: “We had @DavFlan at today’s presser. He asked Lennon about the huge discontent within the support being out of the title race at this point in such a monumental season. ➡️The audio will be discussed on The Preview ➡️Full unedited audio also available on Press Gang Podcast https://t.co/lZeQlUTSHf” / Twitter
Neil’s reply was a simple no-and he should have left it at that. He then expanded on it,referring to current events as a “difficult season”-wow,you’re telling us!-and then effectively telling us that this season isn’t important because we won four trebles and Nine In A Row.
What happened to “A Manager Is Only As Good As His Last Game”? What happened,indeed,to a bit of self-awareness? What happened to the Neil Lennon we were always told about,the intelligent man who knew what the fans thought,felt what the fans felt?
Well,the answer to the last bit soon became clear. He DOES indeed still know what the fans think,felt what the fans felt. Because he clearly knows that the fans want him replaced,and we want major changes at board level and in the structure of the club. Not content with bringing up the past while ignoring the all-important present,he then threw his fawning support behind the board in a cringeworthy attempt to curry favour with his paymasters. Honestly,you have to listen to the link before you can understand quite how bad this moment was,and it was surely a new personal nadir in a very bad season for him. But I deleted about a third of Monday’s article prior to publication because I thought it was too heavily critical of NL,so I’ll say no more on the subject-other than that…
Neil,how can you hope for respect from us when you have none left for yourself?
Above article by BMCUWP