What do you make of Neil Lennon so far?
When many were calling for Dougie Freedman to be sacked, one of very few points in favour of keeping him was the fact that we may not have been able to attract a replacement of sufficient ability to keep us in this league.
Many said that we’d have to get an unproven manager with a reputation built on lower league experience or a manager who is comfortable at this level, but is less employable due to a damaged reputation like Malky Mackay.
When Neil Lennon was touted as a potential successor to Dougie Freedman I was actually rather surprised. I thought that we’d do well to attract the likes of Chris Hughton or Nigel Clough, but Neil Lennon, he who beat Barcelona- we’ve done really quite well.
The reason we were able to attract Neil Lennon is his lack of experience in management- he’s only ever managed one team, and that team is Celtic. Although he probably left Celtic, hoping to make a step up, he ended up at a club at the bottom of the second tier.
Caretaker boss, Andy Hughes did say that we’d be able to attract some big names- though I think few would have expected Neil Lennon to want to take the step down.
Upon arrival, Lennon was actually surprised at the size of our club, so actually thought he was joining an even smaller club!
I think it’s fair to say that Lennon’s impact has been very positive so far. It took a little time for Dougie Freedman to get results out of the very very strong team he inherited from Owen Coyle- featuring Marcos Alonso, in-form Chris Eagles and in-form Jay Spearing.
Neil Lennon almost immediately turned things around and at the moment, I’m pretty confident that we can kick on and push further and further up the table.
He’s been saying the right things in interviews to get fans onto his side, and his gracious gestures to the community haven’t hurt his cause either!
I’ve been conducting a poll on this site, and at the time of writing, 42% of fans would rate Neil Lennon’s reign as 9/10, 33% as 8, 14% as 10 and there were very few votes lower than that.
The trio of himself, Johan Mjallby and Garry Parker really seem to have instilled a winning mentality and have been providing the likes of Max Clayton, Josh Vela and Connor Wilkinson with invaluable first team experience- while also restoring the likes of Tom Eaves to the first team setup (before sending him out on the perfect loan move to Yeovil).
He’s sent Beckford, no longer part of his plans, away to Preston and other youngsters who had been robbed of first team experience due to poor management in the past have blossomed in Leagues 1 and 2.
With 17 points from nine games, I think we can safely say that along with Eddie Howe, Mick McCarthy and Mark Warbuton- Neil Lennon is one of the best managers in the league.
Not to mention, Eidur Gudjohnsen has been brought in, much to the appreciation of fans who are excited to see a favourite back in a white shirt.
Neil Lennon, you’ve been doing fantastically. Long may that continue.