clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Six Months In: A Neil Lennon Half-Term Report

New, comments

Guest writer Henry Hewitt returns with a look back at Lenny's first six months in the hotseat

Michael Steele/Getty Images

So, we've just passed the six month anniversary of Neil Lennon as the Bolton Wanderers manager and it's safe to say that he's been given an extended honeymoon period.

I always think that appointing a new manager is like having a new girlfriend.

We're still in that 'lovey dovey' stage, we see each other all the time and when she burps in front of you it's cute... that's until we lose 3 on the bounce and get knocked out of the cup to Tranmere, then even Tony Pulis starts to look attractive!

After the way our relationship with Dougie Freedman ended, (okay, I'm going to stop the girlfriend references) this appointment needed to be right... and so far it looks like it will be!

Neil Lennon seems to be an honest, straight-forward manager who doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to criticising performances. Too often we have become used to hearing tired old clichés and excuses when it comes to explaining defeats under previous managers.

Whereas Owen Coyle would spout off the same old rubbish about the players pulling in the same direction to survive in the 'Barclays Premier League', Neil has already stated that we are set for a clear out in the summer.

For me, the tenure of Neil Lennon can be broken down into two sections. October-January was fantastic, we remained unbeaten at home, picked up points away and held Liverpool for 178 minutes.

In the league we were within touching distance of the top half and pulled clear of the bottom three... then February hit and it's all gone down-hill!

You can blame injuries, bad luck or the players 'hitting the wall' but the performances recently have not been good enough. Six goals conceded in the last 5 minutes of matches have cost us dearly and extinguished any lingering hopes of the play-offs.

It looks like we are going to stumble over the finishing line to ensure we are in the Championship next season, after what I saw on Saturday I doubt Wigan Athletic are going to pick up another 15 points so two wins from the remaining seven games should keep us up.

I think we can all agree that the end of the season can't come soon enough for Bolton Wanderers, but what's the plan for next season?!

Don't get me wrong, this is a massive transfer window for Neil Lennon. He hasn't been in a situation before where he needs to re-vamp the whole squad, at Celtic he already had a team that  could turn up drunk and still get a 2-0 win away at Kilmarnock... this is new ground for a relatively unproven manager. Many of the first-team are out of contract and on big wages for a club in debt, it looks like Jay Spearing and Medo Kamara are already looking for new clubs but where does it leave everyone else?

You have to ask, apart from 5 or 6 players can anyone else state a claim to deserve a place in the team? Probably not!

We've accepted that it is going to take time for Neil to turn our fortunes around but there has been glimpses over the past six months which explains the extended period of faith that we have given to him.

As a club we just expect better, this season we have been in the top half once and that was only on alphabetical order before a ball had been kicked! It's not been good enough but I genuinely believe that we have a manager who will not except this sort of failure next season. We may not get into the play-offs but if we give a good effort and play some attractive football then that's all Bolton Wanderers fans can ask for.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Feel free to leave your comments below the line, and whilst you're in a good mood why not give Henry a follow on Twitter @Producer_Henry. His previous work for the site can be found by following this here linky.