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11 Years On and Football finally condemn those targetting Neil Lennon

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After 11 YEARS OF ABUSE, it takes ANOTHER cowardly attack to finally unite football under one goal to support Neil Lennon and condemn the sick, cowardly, cretinous individuals who are targetting Lennon, McBride and Godman because of their allegiances to Celtic Football Club.

Lennon has been targeted ever since he joined Celtic from Leicester in 2000. The Protestant Northern Irish crowd turned on Lennon thereafter during the game against Norway at Windsor Park in March 2001. And the following year when Lennon was set to captain his country, a death threat was made and Lennon quit international football for good.

In 2003, Lennon was assaulted by two students and the following year had threats painted outside his apartment. And in 2008 he was brutally attacked by two Rangers fans on Ashton Lane in the West End of Glasgow, after an Old Firm match. The two attackers were jailed in January 2009.

And in January this year, Lennon was sent live bullets, as were Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt. A month later the News of the World reported that the Loyalist Paramilitary Terrorist Group, the UDA were plotting to harm Neil Lennon. Since then Neil Lennon has received numerous hoax bombs, reportedly sent by Rangers fans with loyalist terror links.

However this latest attack has now been upgraded to a viable IED threat. Meaning that the parcel bombs were designed to maim or kill the recipients.

Rangers Assistant Manager Ally McCoist has condemned those that have perpetrated a Parcel Bomb attack on Celtic manager Neil Lennon, Paul McBride QC and former MSP Trish Godman.

McCoist told BBC Scotland, “I’m probably as shocked as horrified. It’s absolutely preposterous in this day and age. I just hope they find the culprits. “Unfortunately, the sad thing is no matter what I or other people say and do, I don’t think it’s going to have a major effect on these individuals. Quite frankly, they are sick individuals who need the police to get them. Obviously you would appeal to them not to do these things. I just think these individuals are hell-bent on causing trouble and widespread damage.”

Meanwhile Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell issued a statement through the official club. He said, “Celtic Football Club and Neil Lennon have been kept fully briefed by Strathclyde Police with regard to recent events. In the face of these attacks, we will continue to liaise with the police in order to ensure the safety and security of Neil and all our staff.

“Neil Lennon is a football manager who simply wants to carry out this role to the best of his professional ability. However, in this horrific ongoing campaign, he and other Celtic personnel continue to be the subject of repeated threats and intimidation.

“It is an intolerable state of affairs which must end. Celtic, from our inception, has been a club open to all. We enjoy friendship and respect throughout the world yet, here in Scotland, we are caught up in these vile events.

“The most recent targeting of Neil Lennon, Paul McBride and Trish Godman – three people who are linked only by an affinity with Celtic – deserves condemnation from all right-minded people.

“Celtic and its supporters are more united than ever and we thank them for their expressions of goodwill to Neil at this time. We appeal to our fans to remain calm and to respond only through positive support for Neil and the team.

“On behalf of Neil and the Club, I would like to thank the police for their support and professionalism. We hope their investigations achieve a successful outcome as quickly as possible.

 

“Celtic supporters should rest assured that Neil will continue to receive the full backing of everyone at the Club. They should also understand that we will remain strong in the face of such intimidation.”

SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster echoed the views mentioned by many. He said, “We are distressed and concerned by the developments reported recently which are now, quite rightly, the subject of a major criminal investigation. Such things have no place in football; indeed they have no place in any civilised society.”

 

“Football is a game which should be enjoyed safely by all. The eyes of not just Scotland or Britain will be on Glasgow this weekend; the Old Firm derby will be watched throughout the world. We hope that the fans of both Celtic and Rangers join in making the biggest football match in Britain this weekend one that is remembered for excitement on the park and for passions safely enjoyed and expressed off of it.”

This sickening and cowardly act has reached the corridors of power in Westminster and at UEFA as well. With Prime Minister David Cameron condemning those who have perpetrated the attack. UEFA President Michel Platini has condemned the attacks, he said, “It’s a pity in football that we have these problems. We have to keep politics and religion out of football and sport, that is very important. It’s a very bad thing that has happened to the manager of Celtic and the whole of UEFA support him. We have to do try to help football and to do something. With my heart I am with him.”

And the Police have warned other high-profile individuals linked with Celtic Football Club to be wary of opening packages also, even more so after a package addressed to Celtic Director Brian Wilson was intercepted today.

And in a statement on behalf of Rangers Football Club, Chief Executive Martin Bain condemned the behaviour and says it has no place in Scottish sport or society.

The Rangers Chief Executive said, “We are utterly appalled by the news today that the Celtic manager and others have been subjected to threats which are now the subject of a major police investigation. Such behaviour is to be condemned out of hand. These acts have no place in society and no place in football.”

While everyone now welcomes the mass condemnations of the cowardly attacks, questions MUST be asked about why it took so long for the media, the football authorities and rival clubs to condemn the attacks and abuse that has been levelled on Neil Lennon. A man who has been battling depression since 2000. That is nearly as bad as the cowards that have abused and attacked Neil Lennon for 11 years now.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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