Celtic have announced that manager Neil Lennon has a signed a new 12 month rolling contract with the club. It is reported that the deal will see the Northern Irishman bring in around £1 million per year.
Speaking to the Official Celtic website, Lennon said: “I am absolutely delighted to agree this new contract with the Club. I have had ten great years connected to Celtic and I hope to enjoy many more. Clearly this is down to me and I will be doing everything I possibly can to ensure we bring our fans more success. I have been speaking to Peter over the past few weeks and we are both delighted to move forward together. We have sat down, looked at last season and now we look ahead.”
Lurgan born Neil Lennon replaced Tony Mowbray as Celtic manager on a caretaker basis in March 2010, after a 4-0 defeat away to St.Mirren ended Mowbray’s tenure at Celtic Park. And after improving the side in his first full season in charge, culminating in winning the Scottish Cup Final. Despite finishing second to Rangers in the SPL and runners-up in the final of the Co-operative Insurance League Cup Final against Rangers, the Celtic board and Fans alike believe that Lennon is leading Celtic in the right direction.
Lennon added: “I know that Peter and the Board’s vision for the Club is the same as mine. We are absolutely together on this, we want to bring success to the Club and reward the commitment which our supporters continue to make. We want to provide our fans with entertaining, attacking and professional football but ultimately we aim to deliver silverware. Work begins now on striving to bring domestic trophies to Celtic Park and on having some success in Europe.”
On plans for strengthening the squad, Lennon said: “We have already begun looking at the squad for next season. Whoever comes into the squad I know they will be joining some very talented players here who share my appetite for success. The players have connected with our fans, they know what Celtic means to so many people and I know they will be looking to deliver success for them this coming season.
And the former Celtic skipper thanked the Celtic fans for their support throughout a tough season for the Northern Irishman, which saw him targeted with bullets, parcel bombs, attacked [nothing alleged about it] on the sidelines by a Hearts fan and a campaign of hate by Rangers fans who orchestrated an online campaign for fans to send in complaints that Lennon had racially abused on loan Rangers forward El Hadji Diouf – which led to a Police investigation despite Diouf stating no such thing happened.
Lennon said: “I would like to record my thanks to our supporters. The backing they gave to me and the team last season was absolutely tremendous. Clearly there was a lot involved in last season and their contribution was immense. I said when I was appointed manager that we wanted to re-ignite Celtic Park and make it the place it should be – one of Europe’s finest, most atmospheric football arenas. There is no question this happened. There were numerous occasions last year when the fans’ unique backing played such a crucial role and I know that we can build on this for next season. I know that myself, the Board, my management team and all my players will be doing all we can to ensure that our fans have a team they can be proud of.”
Outgoing Celtic Chairman Dr. John Reid said: “We are very pleased to be able to announce this new contract for Neil. Neil has proven himself as a football manager with great talent and someone who we are delighted to have in charge. For more than a decade, Neil Lennon has shown tremendous commitment and dedication to Celtic. Last season was a particularly difficult one for Neil, but he came through this period with tremendous credit. This is testament to his real strength of character and fortitude, qualities which I know he will use again as he aims to build on this season and bring the Club even more success.”
Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said: “We have had very positive discussions with Neil in recent weeks. We all know the direction we are going in, we are already planning for next season and our supporters can rest assured that Neil will receive every support from the Board as we aim to build on last season. We look ahead to the future with confidence.”
As Lennon said after the final league game of the season against Motherwell, This isn’t the end, this is just the beginning.