Tom Jenkins discusses Neil Lennon’s worrying change of attitude and how it could lead to his demise..
In a recent article by the Lion of Vienna Suite we, as fans, were asked the question when it becomes right for us to level criticism at Neil Lennon`s door for our current predicament. Throughout his tenure he has been pretty much blameless for the shambles of a team we currently possess due to lack of funding to improve upon it. Another reason is because he did manage to unearth some very good signings in the cases of Adam Le Fondre and Ben Amos. For a while we were even playing some good football and getting results. However, since the turn of the year marked the start of probably the worst injury crisis in the history of football we have struggled wholeheartedly to produce anything more than one good showing in three. What has saved Lennon the most in my opinion is his attitude though. What did for both Dougie Freedman and his predecessor Owen Coyle was the fact they refused to see what was in front of them and point blank ignored their own failings. Lennon has been different so far but, for me, the delusion is creeping back in.
As a fan when my team loses I want answers. That isn`t too much to ask and to Lennon`s credit he has always been honest and has, on occasion, admitted when he has got something wrong. Fans love this because it`s what they want to hear. If you have been to a game you don`t have to be a football scholar to see what is going wrong/right and when your manager speaks you know what he should say. So often though they choose to ignore it and say how well the team did in other areas of the pitch. Lennon, to his credit, has never shied away from the hard questions hence his popularity. A manager who shows transparency in the worst of situations is, for me, far more useful than one who is winning but hides away from those problems that will catch the team out in future. It certainly makes them a better coach and in the long run they will be the ones who succeed.
If I had to sit through one more interview where either Coyle or Freedman said how well we did to be beaten only 4-0 then I would be in prison for homicide. They simply couldn`t see the clear as day problems on the pitch and definitely didn`t know how to solve them. This attitude, in the end, is why they lost any support from the fans and it certainly won`t have helped the players who know if they have done badly themselves. Who wants to be patronised after playing badly? Unfortunately, I feel as though this much safer yet disastrous attitude has become much more of a theme in Lennon`s interviews this year.
If you were to watch them all back again (not that I suggest you do) and were given £1 each time he says ‘the performance was there but not the result` you may be able to buy the club yourself. If we were playing that well we would be winning. In all fairness, I didn`t notice it until the Birmingham game when by all accounts we weren`t great and posed little to no threat whatsoever. Still we were told that a good performance had been put in. These are worrying signs.
Let`s hope that a good performance is actually given at Deepdale today and we can show Preston fans that even 14 years on we will still best them in the big game. This is most definitely that and I do believe that a loss could be the start of those familiar grumbles that ultimately did for The Deluded Ones of years past.