Today, the Green Brigade made their feelings known about Neil Lennon…publicly. This isn’t unusual for the ultra group, but my initial feeling on this is that they’ve caused greater harm by going public.
In my lifetime Celtic fans have always made their feelings known when things weren’t going well or they disagreed with matters. In an era when Celtic have been the dominate force for close to a decade, this is a concrete showing of how spoilt a fan base we are.
Let’s get one thing clear here. Nobody, including myself, is happy with the way this season has gone so far.
Individual performances, team performances, tactical decisions, team selections etc. They’ve all been questionable and well below the level of expectation and what we are capable of.
Nobody knows what has gone wrong. We only know that we are gambling with 10IAR.
We’ve already chucked Europe out the window the way Brexiteers did. The worry now is that we are doing the same with the league.
This banner outside Celtic Park is a response to the ongoing poor form and the perceived inaction behind the scenes. Whilst it sends a direct message to the club, it does us no good.
The media are all over this and it hands a massive mental boost across the city. I don’t wholly disagree with the sentiment of the statement, but there was no need to stand outside Celtic Park with a banner.
Their accompanying statement read:
Neil Lennon and many of the current Celtic squad have delivered unprecedented success for our club and deserve enormous credit for their achievements.
However, past accomplishments are not enough to excuse the level of performance and lack of desire we have endured throughout this momentous season.
Despite having the best squad in the country, the football on display has been dismal, lacking in ideas and belief.
Many of our best players have disappointed and we have performed poorly both domestically and in European competition, winning only two games from our previous eight.
Whilst we would love nothing more than to see Neil Lennon win us the championship, we are part of a growing element of the Celtic support that has sadly concluded that he is unable to turn our season around.
After a decade of unrivalled footballing and financial dominance it is disappointing to find ourselves 11 points off the league summit and virtually out of the Europa League, having failed to make it past even the second round of qualification for the Champions League.
We appreciate all that Neil Lennon has done for the club and endured in his time in Scotland.
However there is simply too much at stake to persevere in hope rather than expectation, and a managerial change needs to be made.
Celtic Football Club is bigger than us all and the good of the club must come first.
Peter Lawwell and the Celtic board must act now in a bid to save 10-in-a-row as well as their own legacies.
Should they fail to deliver this title, it will be them who are held to account.”
With the club and the fans at loggerheads, it’s a stalemate. The message out of Celtic Park is that they stand by Neil Lennon.
Lennon himself has acknowledged the banner and has stated he won’t engage with it as he has work to do. That is why I wrote the other day that things would have to get a lot worse before things change.
Some fans don’t think it can get any worse but it can. We’ve endured worse, but when you’re at the top it’s tough to take.
I’m not protecting Lennon because of this attachment to the club as a fan, player, captain, coach or two time manager. In fact I am not protecting him at all.
This particular campaign is not lost yet and despite how poorly things have been going it is not beyond being turned around. That doesn’t mean we aren’t running the risk but things will have to improve between now and the end of the year.
We have five league games and those should be our priority. The draw at Easter Road on Sunday was the final straw for many fans despite the fact that no Celtic manager has won there since January 2014.
The protestations we’ve seen today are an all time low in my opinion. Tony Mowbray made it until the end of March 2010 when the deficit was 10 points and we’d played two more games.
Are we really going to call Lennon’s time now? Nobody is happy with the current gap of 11 points but we have two games at hand to bring that down to 5 points.
It isn’t easy to watch us drop points and play mediocre football whilst a vastly cheaper funded side is enjoying unbroken domestic bliss. At the same time, we have to endure this as the players and coaches are in the hope that something will change.
Right now Neil Lennon is being hounded out of Celtic Park as Gordon Strachan was and it isn’t even December. Tony Mowbray didn’t even get the chance for a protest because he was out before we had a chance to say anything and he was out of his depth from day one.
We’ve lost one league game this season and drawn three which is one more draw and win than our rivals. Whilst what we do is always measured against them, unless the Ibrox club are onto an invincible season I think by rights Lennon will feel he is entitled to turn things around.
It would be a dark day to see off a manager in November. 10IAR is not lost and as a Celtic supporter I hope that things will turn around before the year is out.
By the end of 2019 we were defeated at Celtic Park in the derby. That was hard to take and it left us two points ahead with our rivals having played one game less.
At that point we all had a sense of impending doom, but we turned it around. It was unthinkable that we would throw the league away to a side we didn’t value or rate even if they did collapse after new year.
The same can be said of this season. Whatever you think of what’s happening across the city though you have to acknowledge and accept that they are a much improved side.
Their followers are most likely seeing this banner and rubbing their hands as the Green Brigade publicly declare their position. All they’ll be waiting for next is for civil war so let’s not give them the satisfaction.
This banner is now causing a rift amongst the fans as well as between the fans and the club. If the Green Brigade had held up something that said something like, “We love you Neil, but you need to turn things around now or 10IAR is done!” then it still says gets the message across.
What they’re asking is for him to leave with immediate effect. And who precisely would come in a turn things around?
I won’t rhyme off the rumours, but there’s zero guarantee that a change in management would improve our chances. Whilst things are nearing a critical stage, it could be much worse.
My feelings on this banner won’t be shared by everyone. I do think it has done more harm than good though.