Lennon 'fraught' over death threats

Published Thursday, 06 June 2013
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Celtic manager Neil Lennon has told UTV he considered leaving football when he was the subject of death threats.

Lennon 'fraught' over death threats
Neil Lennon spoke exclusively to UTV. (© Getty)

Bullets and parcel bombs were sent to the Lurgan man in the latest in a series of personal attacks.

The 41-year-old was previously targeted when he was a player, leaving Northern Ireland in 2002 after a warning from sectarian gangs.

He said the attacks in 2011 were "fraught times" which made him question his future as a manager.

"There were very fraught times - particularly the season before last - when you're thinking 'Is it really worth doing it?'

"I had a lot of police intelligence who kept me informed of what was going on [...] but the one thing that kept me going was the players.

"Coming in and seeing them work every day, trying to improve, that whole environment that I worked in. I brought them here from all over the world and I felt as if I owed them that.

He added: "Thankfully things have turned a corner in all aspects of that. It's just amazing."

Lennon also denied he is "confrontational... bullish and not afraid to speak his mind", describing himself instead as a "strong character".

He explained: "If I feel that there's an injustice or something to say about certain football aspects I will say it, but I'm not confrontational.

"If you ever see a newspaper there's always a picture of me pointing the finger at one of my players, shouting at him as if I'm doing it for 94 minutes. But I do have time where I think about things in great depth.

Looking to the future with the hoops, Lennon said while some players will be leaving the club - including Republic of Ireland striker Anthony Stokes - he is also hoping to bring new players in.

Portuguese forward Amido Baldé could be on the move from current club Vitória SC with Lennon expected to lay down a £2.5m bid for the player.

But for now, Lennon is reflecting on last season's victories in the Scottish championship and Scottish Cup.

He added: "The way we finished off the season, it was a perfect day for us all and on reflection there was a great way for the three years to end."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
6 Comments
charlie in glasgow wrote (559 days ago):
To S.B.in Belfast.I utterly condemn any attack on Lennon,but your argument that he is targeted because he is a catholic from Northern Ireland is laughable.Why was Martin O'Neil,Pat M'cCourt,Anton Rogan,Nial M'Ginn,Michael O'Neil targeted for abuse when these gents are all catholics from Northern Ireland? And finally I condemn violence and intimidation against Mr. Lennon.It is totally wrong and out of order and I'm not making excuses for these thugs. Only stating facts about his conduct which is unbecoming of a boss of a huge club like Celtic.
SHORT STRAND MAN in belfast wrote (560 days ago):
well thankfully charlie from glasgow neil lennon never listens nor takes lectures from the likes of you or the bigots who frequent ibrox- the club that for years wouldn't have a catholic about the place.keep at it neil you're doing a great job.ynwa
S.B. in Belfast wrote (561 days ago):
Yeh Charlie you sound very convincing there...not! Your comments are straight out of the "some of my best friends are black" mindset. You say you don't condone the violence against Neil Lennon but then go on to make EVERY excuse for it! The fact is that Neil Lennon is targeted in Scotland because he is a Northern Irish Catholic who stands up to the bigots there and they just don't like it. Scotland is a very sectarian country and Neil Lennon is everything these fundamental Unionist/Loyalists hate. Don't insult us by turning this back to Lennon. Either violence and intimidation against him is wrong and to be condemned or you agree with it and and make excuses for it!
Rama in Belfast wrote (562 days ago):
Never ever submit to bigots! His only real crime is that he's an Irish Catholic. Very sad indeed
charlie in glasgow wrote (562 days ago):
I don't condone any form of violence against Lennon because these people are cowards however there has never been such a confrontational manager in Scottish football whose behaviour is shocking and this is a manager who falls out with anyone who dares to disagree with him like,Kenny Shiels,Ally McCoist,Charlie Nicholas,Murdo McLeod,John Hartson,The refs at home and abroad,the sfa,the spl,uefa,the Juventus team,Fraser Wishart,the pfa,Jim Goodwin,Alan Thomson,Pat Nevin,and the list goes on. Yet he's always portrayed as the victim.I don't think so. The sooner he leaves Scottish football the better for all.
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