A very simple question today: was appointing Neil Lennon the right decision
I made it pretty clear upon the sacking of Dougie Freedman that I wanted Chris Hughton in as our new manager. At the time he’d had three previous managerial jobs: Newcastle United, Birmingham City and Norwich City.
At Newcastle I thought he did a really good job. He got them straight back into the Premier League and they were playing nice football. They were doing reasonably well in the top tier, too, before his someone harsh sacking.
He took a step down to go to cash-strapped Birmingham where he led them to the group stages of the Europa League and a play-off place in the Championship.
He then ventured to Carrow Road where he guided them to an 11th place finish… in the Premier League. He was dismissed after struggling and this was probably the right decision as they wanted to do all they could to stay in the league, though they would have gone straight back up via automatic promotion had he stayed in charge, I reckon.
Anyway so as you can see, I think Hughton’s a very good manager at this level. He has struggled a little thus far at Brighton where I thought he’d do really well, but that’s not to say he’s a bad manager in any way.
We ended up with Neil Lennon. I didn’t want Lennon an awful lot at the time because of a few reasons- one being his lack of experience, managing an English side. The second being that I believed that there was no chance that we’d attract someone of his calibre so I subconciously thought that as a result of the low odds of him taking over he’d be a bad candidate- I know there’s no logic there. An the third reason is pretty simple- I always thought he was pretty annoying to be frank.
However, I’m all about giving people the chance to prove their worth and boy did Lennon deliver. He quickly gained the affinity from fans with his passion. It showed on the pitch as we began to shoot up the Championship table and some (including me) genuinely thought that a top six finish was on the cards.
Thrashing the likes of Wigan and Cardiff, anything was possible!
We’d earned a draw against Liverpool! This was amazing!
And then boom.
His fortunes turned quickly as our ever growing injury list began to bite us. It bit us hard. A couple of potentially questionable tactical decisions and personnel choices coupled with genuine bad luck saw our fortunes begin to run dry, and we finished disappointingly, well rooted in the bottom half.
This was by no means a disaster, but it had all looked so promising.
My question for you today is very simple: was hiring Neil Lennon the right decision?