A lot, and I mean a whole lot, of things really infuriate me with the way Neil Lennon has managed Bolton Wanderers this season. Yeah, he's under extremely strenuous circumstances, but even so, he should be getting more out of this team than he has managed to do so far.
The signing of players, he clearly doesn't rate and has never seen play, who have been brought in and haven't been given a chance in the slightest. Refusing to give the likes of Tom Walker, Kaiyne Woolery and others game time even though they literally couldn't do any worse and the constant misunderstanding of what 'inconsistent' means are but just a few of the many things that have made me come to the opinion that ol' Neil is one of the worst managers in our history.
And that's just the on pitch stuff.
One aspect in particular, however, is beginning to irk me more than any amount of the increasingly bemusing excuses could - and that is Neil Lennon "if it ain't broke don't fix it" policy.
Now, some of you may argue that it has served him well in the past and to that I'd say it was probably more due to look or divine intervention, rather than design.
Let me set the scene: we're playing on a brisk Tuesday night at Hillsborough. Up against play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday, a team praised this year for the wonderful, attacking football they're playing. A team containing talent such as Barry Bannan, Gary Hooper, Fernando Forestieri, Kieran Lee and others. Everyone, including Bolton supporters, are going there expecting a right thrashing. But low and behold! It's the 62nd minute and David Wheater has just scored a lovely header which lobs their 'keeper and brings the game level, 2-2! There's 30 minutes left to play and we're still in the game, how unusual! In fact, wait, what's this? Are Bolton actually... Are they actually in the ascendancy here? Well, they've got hold of the ball a lot more than the other team and the taking it towards their goal. Actually, the other team kinda look a bit rattled! We are in the ascendancy!
That lasted for about ten minutes, then Gary Hooper flicked the ball over Wheater's head and duly twatted it into the goal. It was fun while it lasted, eh?
This, my friends, is a perfect example of why Lennon isn't very good. He could see, well at least I hope he could, that we were actually on top and had a chance of maybe, actually, going on to win. An ambitious, clever, proactive manager sees this opportunity and leaps on it. He looks to his bench and looks to sieve the chance, he brings on some added attacking impetus.
Now, I'll grant you, we usually only have Stephen Dobbie on the bench and what's the point in bringing him on, but at Hillsborough on Tuesday we had Zach Clough on the bench. Don't give me all that about him having a hip injury A) if he wasn't fit to play he shouldn't have been on the bench B) do we really think that injuries real?
If Lennon had have brought Clough on during that brief moment of momentum we might have actually gone on to win that game. It was tight and edgy and could have gone either way, in the end a quality finisher settled it, we left ours on the bench until it was too late. Bringing Clough may have backfired and we may have gone on to lose by three after sacrificing some defensive solidarity, but at least in that case he would have actually tried. In that case he wouldn't have meekly thrown Clough on in a last ditch attempt with six minutes left.
In that case we might have shown some fucking balls for once.
But hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it.