Since playing for the club eleven years ago, and taking over as manager back in 2010, Neil Lennon’s life has revolved around Celtic Football Club. In all those years involved with the club, the Northern Irishman has had to put up with a level of hatred that no other manager in Scotland has ever had to endure.From being assaulted at the sideline at Tynecastle, to parcel bombs and bullets, he has had to put up with a campaign of hatred since moving to Scotland eleven years ago.
But why has it gotten so bad? In my opinion, it is down to how the Scottish media portray him.
The words used to describe Lennon’s character in the press create an unfair perception of how he actually composes himself. I’ve watched him at press conferences as an intelligent and composed individual, only to see words like ‘raged’, ‘exploded’ or ‘angered’ attached to his comments in the paper the next day. While his comments were actually delivered without raising his voice and could only describe him as answering in a calm and collective manner.
There never seems to be pictures shown of Lennon deep in thought or laughing. No, the pictures that do actually make it into the papers are usually ones of Lennon snarling, that haven’t even been taken from that particular meeting.
This paints a picture of the Celtic manager at war with everyone. Not just in his battles with the SFA, but illustrates him as having a go at anybody he comes across.
Meanwhile, other managers of SPL clubs are shown in the media in a completely different light. Take Craig Brown as an example, back in a 2010 European tie, he actually punched Odense’ sporting director. It got laughed off by the media as Brown getting ‘a bit carried away’. Virtually nothing was done about it. Now imagine if Lennon was to punch someone in a Europa league match, the media would have a field day.
The way the media show Neil Lennon is in no way fair or balanced reporting’s of real events. It creates a hostile atmosphere between fans, which as we saw last season resulted in bullets, bombs and an attack on the pitch.
Maybe one day the Scottish press will realise Neil Lennon isn’t the monster they make him out to be, but as it stands right now, they continue to be the ones who stir up this hatred for the Celtic manager.