Do YOU have faith in Neil?
Neil Lennon joined Bolton , a man on a mission. He had been very successful at Celtic although many thought his job was easier than it actually was. After consistent strong showings, mostly everyone behind Bolton believed in his mission and his ability to carry it out. With stalwarts Johann Mjallby and Garrrrrrry Parker by his side, nothing seemed impossible for some people.
However, we have been shown up by other teams, especially in the New Year and while almost pulling off a cup triumph against Liverpool restored some faith, many have started to doubt the former Crewe midfielder`s ability.
I started doubting him on transfer deadline day. As much as I hate to say this, I think he panicked. Towards the end of the window we lost one of the best players in the league, though he was replaced by Barry Bannan. However, the likes of Filip Twardzik and Simeon Slavchev really have left a lot to be desired.
They`re both very talented players at the beginning of their careers. They may well go on to great things, however the Championship is not the place for them. I`d love so much to be wrong but I don`t think that it`ll happen. Remember when Derby hammered us 4-1 when Twardzik and Slavhev were plunged into the deep end. Remember when Neil Lennon said he would try not to draft them into the team too early? Oh, wait he played them at pretty much the first possible chance.
Our performance against Bournemouth was shocking. The last hour of the match saw us dominated by a team operating on all cylinders, on the same wavelength. Meanwhile our back three of Dervite, Ream and Moxey panicked. Liam Feeney showed his technical deficiencies. Bannan and Danns tried but never really managed to get the upper hand in midfield. Walker tired and REALLY should`ve come off. Heskey and Le Fondre were frustrated by a lack of service and a lack of patience on their part, constantly being flagged for offside.
Lennon isn`t the manager I thought he was 5 months ago. He lacks the restraint I thought he possessed. I feel that he overplayed Eidur earlier on this season and I feel that he has overplayed Tom Walker in recent weeks. He constantly goes on about his judgement of utilising young players in a way that will prevent them from burning out. Yeah, good one Lennie.
All of these things would make you question the ability of a manager. You may well have found me going on about Lennon`s superiority over the vast majority of other managers in England a few weeks ago. Is he still the right man for the job? Yes. Do I believe he can bring us up next year? No. That`s because our club has become a steady Championship team and we need at least one year of stability before we can push on. Lennon can provide stability for sure, he`s proved that this season. However, it remains to be seen whether he`ll be able to step things up a notch. He`s said that he wants our team to be as good as Bournemouth this year in a year or two. We have the quality in the likes of Zach Clough, Max Clayton and co. to make that happen. However, whether it does is a completely different story.