Neil Lennon, tools, and a safe working environment.

If a bad workman blames their tools, how bad is the workman who blames the systems put in place to make sure the employees aren’t injured, or don’t deliberately try and cause harm or subvert the achievements of others?

I’d say they were a bad manager, who put success above safety and honesty, and who had no respect for the precautions put in place to ensure a functioning, healthy and fair working environment.

Neil Lennon however, would rather see decisions taken by those employed to referee the workplace as malicious attacks on himself and his team.

I’m not denying Beattie’s goal in yesterday’s cup semi-final resulted from a soft penalty – but it was a great penalty kick. Equally, Hooper’s header to score Celtic’s goal was instinctual football at its best, even if he was a wee tad offside.

As far as I’m concerned, even if we get replay technology, some refereeing decisions in football will always be contentious because they’re an individual’s interpretation of events? Was he the last man? Was that a goal scoring opportunity prevented? Was that a deliberate handball? And when it’s your team who are on the losing side of the interpretation, it will always feel harsh if you saw it differently.

That’s why it’s a game.

And frankly, Neil Lennon’s ongoing belligerence, including rushing on to the pitch not to criticise his players for being a bit rubbish and missing two amazing goal scoring opportunities, but to weigh in to the ref, is really beginning to sour my enjoyment of the game.

And it makes me sad, and mad, but mostly sad. Because then you see managers like Mick McCarthy who, when asked about a series of ‘bad’ refereeing decisions (including a clearly offside goal as I recall), calmly said that the team should just have done better. If they’d been playing as well as they could, the decisions would have been irrelevant.

Which is the crux of the matter. Every team will experience bad luck, whether it’s a bout of food poisoning before a big game, or that your star players have to go home to participate in the Africa Cup, or that the turf makes the ball bounce in an unpredictable way, or it turns out you owe HMRC millions, or you slip and fall on wet grass, or you have a heart attack mid match, or get diagnosed with leukemia out of the blue. Refereeing decisions are just one more of the uncontrollable (for the team) aspects of football. What you can control, as a team and as a manager, is how well you play. Oh, and your gamesmanship. Claiming success or failure based on anything other than that spoils the beautiful game.


2 thoughts on “Neil Lennon, tools, and a safe working environment.

  1. I wouldn’t normally bother to comment on football as personally I find its histrionics and over dramatisation of piffling events to be irritating beyond belief. I wonder how many managers who are busy slagging off the match officials have ever tried to do the job, taken the exams, done the hard graft of getting the experience to be refereeing at top level. Footballers and by extension their managers seem to display an attitude that the wins the thing whatever the cost, and honesty, decency and effort count for nought if you can manufacture a foul or fake a goal.

  2. Wholeheartedly agree and would add the irony of the bullying and/or whining from top dogs like Lennon, Di Matteo and especially Ferguson, made particularly pertinent yesterday with Man U getting a very dubious penalty after 7 minutes for amateur dramatics in the box and Chelsea’s crucial second ‘goal’, neither of which would have been given to lesser teams. It’s one of the many pleasures of supporting a lousy team like Grimsby that you develop good-humoured misery and part of the pre-match prep is inventing ironic, preferably surreal ‘explanations’ for the injustice for each of the goals you will inevitably concede. Optimism combined with low-expectations is an important life skill. For the referee’s point of view, I refer you to the classic Half Man Half Biscuit account:

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