Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon
Neil lennon and excalibur.jpg
Personal information
Full name Neil Francis Lennon[1]
Date of birth 25 June 1971 (1971-06-25) (age 40)
Place of birth Lurgan, Northern Ireland
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Celtic (manager)
Youth career
1987-1989 Manchester City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1987–1988 Glenavon F.C. ? (1)
1989–1990 Manchester City 1 (0)
1990–1996 Crewe Alexandra 147 (15)
1996–2000 Leicester City 170 (6)
2000–2007 Celtic 214 (3)
2007–2008 Nottingham Forest 18 (0)
2008 Wycombe Wanderers 9 (0)
Total ? (26)
National team
Northern Ireland U21 2 (0)
Northern Ireland U23 2 (0)
Northern Ireland B 1 (0)
1994–2002 Northern Ireland 40 (2)
Teams managed
2010– Celtic
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Neil Francis Lennon (born 25 June 1971)[2] is a former footballer from Northern Ireland. He is the current manager[3] and former captain of Celtic.[4]

During his playing career he represented English clubs Manchester City, Crewe Alexandra and Leicester City before moving to Scottish club Celtic where he made over 200 appearances as a midfielder. Before retiring as a player, he returned to England to represent Nottingham Forest and Wycombe Wanderers.

Lennon made 40 appearances for Northern Ireland in nine years, scoring two goals.


Early life

Lennon was born in Lurgan, County Armagh[5] and attended St Michael's Grammar School in the town.[6] As a youngster he played gaelic football for the school and was also selected for the Armagh minor team.[7] He grew up supporting Celtic[8] and played football for the local Lurgan Celtic youth team.[9]

Club career

Lennon joined Glenavon F.C. after reaching the final of the Milk Cup and scored on his Irish League debut. He then joined Manchester City as a trainee in 1987, before playing for Crewe Alexandra and Leicester City, before moving to Celtic in December 2000.[10] Lennon became Celtic captain in 2005.

When his former club Leicester sacked Craig Levein, Lennon was linked with a return to the Midlands side in a player-manager role. He went on record saying he was flattered but wanted to captain Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title.[11]

Although he was also linked with a possible move to Crystal Palace in a player/coach role in the summer of 2006,[12] on 23 June 2006, Celtic announced he had signed a new one-year contract. Sunderland manager Roy Keane made an attempt to sign Lennon prior to the closure of the August 2006 transfer window, but his approach for the player was rejected by Celtic. On 25 April 2007, Lennon announced he would be leaving Celtic, and in his last game for the club on 26 May 2007, he captained the team to victory in the Scottish Cup Final against Dunfermline Athletic. Celtic's 1–0 win clinched the League and Cup Double.[13]

Lennon joined Nottingham Forest on a one-year contract with an option for a second year on 12 June 2007.[14] He made his debut captaining the side in a 0–0 draw at home to Bournemouth. He missed a week's training with Forest because of family reasons in Scotland and lost his place in the team as a consequence.[15]

Lennon joined Wycombe Wanderers on 31 January 2008,[16] leaving on 3 April to take up a coaching role with Celtic.[17]

International career

Lennon was capped 40 times by Northern Ireland,[5] scoring two goals. He also captained the team.

Lennon decided to retire from international football in August 2002 upon receiving a death threat before a Northern Ireland match against Cyprus. The threats came after his alleged claim that he wanted to play for a team representing a United Ireland.[18] The threat was allegedly made by the Loyalist Volunteer Force, although the organisation later denied this.[19][20]

International goals

Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first

Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 5 October 1996 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Armenia 1–0 1–1 1998 World Cup qualification[21][22]
2 18 October 1998 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Moldova 2–2 2–2 UEFA Euro 2000 qualification[23][24]

Management and coaching

Lennon was linked with the vacant manager's job at Hibernian after the resignation of John Collins,[25] but the job was given to Mixu Paatelainen. Lennon's first coaching appointment was as first team coach with Celtic in 2008.[26] After the appointment of Tony Mowbray as Celtic manager, Lennon took charge of the Celtic reserve team.[27]

Following Mowbray's departure from Celtic on 25 March 2010, Lennon was appointed caretaker manager for the remainder of the 2009–10 season.[28] He appointed former team-mate Johan Mjällby as his assistant. Celtic won all of their remaining league games under Lennon, including wins over Kilmarnock,[29] Hibernian,[30] and Rangers,[31] but lost 2–0 to First Division side Ross County in the Scottish Cup.[32]

Neil Lennon returned to play for Celtic in the John Kennedy testimonial match, 9 August 2011

Lennon was appointed manager of Celtic on a full time basis on 9 June 2010.[33] On 28 July, in his first competitive game as full time manager, Celtic lost 3–0 away to Braga in the UEFA Champions League.[34] In the 2010-11 season, Lennon was given a six match touchline ban for excessive misconduct, which was later reduced to four matches after appeal.[35] He was given another four match touchline ban by the SFA after an altercation with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist after a Scottish Cup match in March 2011.[36]

Lennon led Celtic to the final of the League Cup in March 2011, but they lost 2–1 to Rangers after extra time.[37] They remained in contention for the SPL title until the final day of the 2010-11 season, when they won 4–0 at home to Motherwell, but finished a point behind Rangers.[38] He won his first silverware as a manager when Celtic beat Motherwell 3-0 in the Scottish Cup Final a week later.[39]

Personal life

Lennon has spoken frankly about having battled depression since 2000.[40]

In September 2008, Lennon was the victim of an assault whilst in the West End of Glasgow.[41] His attackers were subsequently charged, convicted and jailed for two years each on 16 January 2009.[42]

In January 2011, Lennon reached an out of court settlement between himself and the Bank of Ireland after a company of which he was a director defaulted on a 3.7 million Euro loan.[43]

In January 2011, the Royal Mail intercepted packages containing bullets addressed to Lennon and Celtic and Northern Ireland players Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt.[44] In March 2011, a suspect package addressed to him was discovered in a mail depot in Saltcoats.[45]

In March 2011, Lennon and two high-profile fans of Celtic were sent parcel bombs. The device sent to Lennon was intercepted by the Royal Mail at a depot in Kirkintilloch, Scotland whilst the two other devices were delivered, but treated as suspicious packages and were not opened.[46]

In response to the death threats, First Minister Alex Salmond condemned those that “use football as a pretext for their pathetic and dangerous prejudices” and UEFA President Michel Platini said he would fight violence and sectarianism. Former Celtic Director Dr. Michael Kelly described the bombs and bullets as terrorism.[47] After these threats, Lennon was subsequently put under 24-hour protection.[48]

On 31 August 2011 a Hearts supporter was found guilty of a breach of the peace after running into the technical area of the football pitch and shouting and swearing at Lennon during a match against Celtic in Edinburgh on 11 May 2011.[49] A further charge of assault aggravated by religious and racial prejudice during the same incident was found not proven. The media and many observers disapproved of the jury's verdict. Mainly because of the admission of assault from the accused, as well as the evidence presented. The supporter was given an eight-month prison sentence.[49][50][51][52][53][54][51][55]



Lennon (bottom right) enjoying Leicester's League Cup victory on 27 February 2000
Leicester City


Personal awards and achievements

Managerial statistics

Team Country From To Record
P W D L Win %
Celtic  Scotland 25 March 2010 present[61] &1000000000000006200000062 &1000000000000004800000048 &100000000000000060000006 &100000000000000080000008 &1000000000000007742000077.42
Total &1000000000000006200000062 &1000000000000004800000048 &100000000000000060000006 &100000000000000080000008 &1000000000000007742000077.42


  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J. (2005). The PFA Premier & Football League Players' Records 1946–2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 367. ISBN 1852916656. 
  2. ^ Neil Lennon Football-Heroes
  3. ^ Celtic appoint Neil Lennon as their new manager Times Online, 9 June 2010
  4. ^ Tony Mowbray leaves Celtic STV Sport, 25 March 2010
  5. ^ a b "Profile: Neil Lennon". BBC Sport. 22 August 2002. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  6. ^ St Michael's Mercy Mission to Mukuru St Michael's Grammar School, 24 May 2001
  7. ^ Neil Lennon tips Armagh BBC Sport, 18 May 2001
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Lennon the man to lead Celtic's revival Belfast Telegraph, 9 June 2010
  9. ^ Neil Lennon has the drive to be great manager and proved it when he overcame crippling spine injury, says mentor Daily Record, 1 June 2010
  10. ^ "Lennon seals Celtic move". BBC Sport. 9 December 2000. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Crystal Palace open Lennon talks". BBC Sport. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 20 June 2006. 
  12. ^ "Celtic 1–0 Dunfermline Athletic". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 26 May 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  13. ^ "Lennon signs for the Reds". BBC Sport. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2007. 
  14. ^ "Neil Lennon’s Official Blog". MonTheHoops CSC. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "Veteran Lennon signs for Wycombe". BBC Sport. 31 January 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2008. 
  16. ^ Bean, Graham (26 March 2010). "In from cold, forgotten man Neil Lennon is back on centre stage". The Scotsman (Johnston Press Digital Publishing). Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  17. ^ "Lennon delighted with reception". ESPNsoccernet. 25 March 2001. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  18. ^ "Who really threatened to kill Neil Lennon?; Making death threats". Find Articles (Sunday Herald). 25 August 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "Driven out by hate". BBC News. 22 August 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  20. ^ 1996 MATCHES EUROPE (October) Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
  21. ^ HELD IN AN ARM LOCK; More woe for Bryan's boys! N IRELAND 1 ARMENIA 1 Sunday Mirror, 6 October 1996 (archived)
  22. ^ (Northern) Ireland – International Results 1990–1999 – Details Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
  23. ^ Dowie sparks recovery but slip-ups are costly Birmingham Post, 19 November 1998 (archived)
  24. ^ "Easter Road job interests Lennon". BBC Sport. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2007. 
  25. ^ Forsyth, Roddy (6 April 2008). "Neil Lennon in a whirl at surprise Celtic return". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  26. ^ Arthurlie's Celtic clash called-off Paisley Daily Express, 5 January 2010
  27. ^ "Celtic part company with manager Tony Mowbray". BBC Sport. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  28. ^ Lindsay, Clive (27 March 2010). "Celtic 3–1 Kilmarnock". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 March 2010. 
  29. ^ Martin Conaghan (4 April 2010). "Hibernian 0–1 Celtic". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  30. ^ Campbell, Andy (4 May 2010). "Celtic 2 - 1 Rangers". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  31. ^ "Neil Lennon slams the lack of Celtic hunger and desire". BBC Sport. 27 March 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  32. ^ Celtic appoint Neil Lennon as their new manager Times Online, 9 June 2010
  33. ^ "Braga 3–0 Celtic". BBC Sport. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  34. ^ "Celtic accept reduced Neil Lennon ban". London: The Independent. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  35. ^ "Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon receive Hampden final bans". BBC Sport. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  36. ^ Campbell, Andy (20 March 2011). "Celtic 1–2 Rangers". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  37. ^ Celtic 4 - 0 Motherwell BBC Sport, 15 May 2011
  38. ^ Conaghan, Martin (21 May 2011). "Motherwell 0-3 Celtic". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  39. ^ Christie, David (24 February 2007). "Lennon's 'pride' over depression". Herald Scotland. 
  40. ^ "Lennon knocked out during attack". BBC News. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  41. ^ "'Brutal' Lennon attackers jailed". BBC News. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 16 January 2009. 
  42. ^ "Bank and Celtic boss Lennon's firm in court settlement". BBC News. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  43. ^ Murray, Ewan (9 January 2010). "Neil Lennon brushes aside bullets threat as Celtic ease past Berwick". (London). 
  44. ^ Mackie, Allan (4 March 2011). "Police investigate hoax bomb linked to Neil Lennon". News (Edinburgh). Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  45. ^ "Neil Lennon parcel bomb 'cowardly act'". BBC News. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ Charged with a religious hate crime, the fan 'who attacked Celtic manager during Scottish football match' Mail Online, 12 May 2011
  48. ^ a b "Fan cleared of Lennon attack after not proven verdict". BBC. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  49. ^ "Neil Lennon assault case: an incredible verdict". The Telegraph. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  50. ^ a b "Football lout cleared of assaulting Celtic boss Neil Lennon - despite admitting it in court". Daily Mirror. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  51. ^ "Celtic Manager Neil Lennon Denied Justice". The Huffington Post. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  52. ^ "Neil Lennon verdict 'utterly bizarre and inexplicable', says top lawyer". 1 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  53. ^ "Back to the drawing board on bigotry ... and yes, I blame the jury". Herald Scotland. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  54. ^ "John Reid reveals fury over jury verdict and warns Alex Salmond over new hate laws". Daily Record. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  55. ^ Rangers win Old Firm final BBC Sport, 4 May 2002
  56. ^ Rangers retain CIS Cup BBC Sport, 16 March 2003
  57. ^ Porto end Celtic's Uefa dream BBC Sport, 21 May 2003
  58. ^ "Monthly Awards - September 2010". Clydesdale Bank. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  59. ^ "Monthly Awards - January 2011". Clydesdale Bank. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  60. ^ First Team Fixtures Celtic FC

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jackie McNamara
Celtic captain
Succeeded by
Stephen McManus

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