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In profile: Neil Lennon

12 October 2014

A potted history of the new Bolton Wanderers manager's career in the game to date

Neil Lennon returns to football management with Bolton Wanderers eager to continue a trend of success that has so far dominated his career. 

Best remembered for his days as one of the star performers of Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City and Celtic sides, the 43-year-old boasts a fine collection of silverware from both his playing days and time in the dugout so far. 

Lennon started his career in his native Northern Ireland with Glenavon, before he joined Manchester City as a trainee in 1987.

Making just one appearance during his time at Maine Road, he signed for Crewe Alexandra on a free transfer in 1990, and would go on to join the likes of Rob Jones and David Platt as one of the early Railwaymen success stories.

Lennon’s impressive displays for the club earned him a maiden Northern Ireland appearance in 1994 as he became the first Crewe player for 60 years to win full international recognition. 

In February 1996 O’Neill’s Leicester City parted with £750,000 to bring the midfielder to Filbert Street with his arrival paying dividends almost immediately as the Foxes beat Crystal Palace to win promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs at the end of the season.
Within a year Lennon would have the first major honour of his career as Leicester beat Middlesbrough to lift the 1997 League Cup, while they would lift the trophy again after beating Tranmere Rovers three years later.

Following O’Neill’s departure to Celtic in June 2000, Lennon was eventually allowed to link up with his former boss at his boyhood club six months later, leaving Leicester in a £5.75million deal.

Lennon finished his first season in Scotland with three winner’s medals as Celtic clinched a domestic treble, winning the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup.

He would go on to win a further four league championships, three Scottish Cups and a further League Cup during his time at Celtic Park, while he was also an integral part of the Celtic side that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup final.

Named captain by O’Neil’s successor Gordan Strachan in 2005, Lennon did not have to wait long to lift his first trophies as captain as Celtic won the league and League Cup during the 2005/06 season.

Lennon left the club to join Nottingham Forest in June 2007, but he returned to Celtic Park a year later, via a brief stint at Wycombe Wanderers, as he took his first steps into coaching.

Initially serving as first team coach, Lennon took charge of the Celtic’s reserve side before replacing Tony Mowbray as caretaker manager in March 2010.

Given the job on a full-time basis at the end of the season, Celtic won the first silverware of his reign that season as they defeated Motherwell to win the Scottish Cup.

In 2011/12 Lennon guided Celtic to the League Championship for the first time since 2008, as his efforts saw him named SPL and SFWA Manager of the Year.

Having famously beaten Barcelona at Celtic Park in November 2012, Lennon’s side clinched the League and Cup double in 2013.

After clinching the club’s third successive title last season, Lennon decided it was time for a new challenge as he left Celtic after four years in charge back in May.

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