Neil Lennon: Bolton Wanderers manager leaves by mutual consent

Neil Lennon
Bolton Wanderers won 18 of Neil Lennon's 79 competitive games in charge

Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers have parted company with manager Neil Lennon by mutual consent.

The 44-year-old former Celtic manager was appointed in October 2014 and leaves with the club 11 points from safety at the foot of the table with nine games left to play.

Lennon's departure comes five days after the Sports Shield consortium completed their takeover of Wanderers.

Academy boss Jimmy Phillips will take over the first team as interim manager.

"All at Bolton Wanderers would like to thank Neil for his contributions during his time at the club," a short statement on the club's website read.external-link

Struggles on and off the field

Much of Lennon's 17-month reign was dominated by Bolton's financial troubles.

They were £172.9m in debt but it is believed the majority has been written off by former owner Eddie Davies, who does not wish to reclaim the money owed to him.

Bolton, who have won just four of their 37 Championship games this season, are back in the High Court on Monday over a winding-up petition brought by Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill.

Ex-striker Dean Holdsworth, who leads the Sports Shield group and became Bolton's chief executive following the takeover, says the bill has been paid in full.

Bolton have not played in the third tier of English football since 1992-93 but are faced with that prospect unless they can achieve an unlikely escape from relegation.

'Changes needed at terrible mess Bolton'

Former Bolton striker Kevin Davies, who played 407 games during a 10-year spell with the Trotters, said Phillips has little time to prove himself as a permanent replacement, while Southend manager Phil Brown - who was among the first to be linked with the vacant job - would find it difficult to turn down an offer.

Brown, 56, is a former Bolton player and worked under both Colin Todd and Sam Allardyce at the club. He also had a stint as caretaker boss of Wanderers in 1999, winning four of the six games he was in charge of.

"I know Jimmy would be keen to take the job full-time, so it'll be interesting to see how he does but I think they've probably left it a little bit too late," Davies told BBC Radio 5 live.

"If they did make an approach [for Brown] I think he would be interested. His family's still up here and it's obviously a very big football club."

Prior to his arrival at Bolton, Lennon won three Scottish league titles and two Scottish Cups with Celtic, as well as leading the Hoops to a famous victory over Barcelona on their way to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2012-13.

Analysis

BBC Radio Manchester's Bolton reporter Jack Dearden:

"Four wins all season, bottom of the Championship table, nine games remaining, 11 points adrift.

"I don't think anyone will be surprised. It's a results-driven business and Neil Lennon himself has admitted that, but to be fair to him, he has been the manager in suitably difficult circumstances.

"Mathematically it is still possible (that Bolton could stay up). Realistically, not a chance at all. The players have got to accept their share of the responsibility as well and I'm sure that they would do."

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