Ex-Celtic boss Neil Lennon in contention for Anderlecht job

Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon could be poised to make a surprise return to management with Belgian side Anderlecht.

Neil Lennon's Champions League experience would be crucial to Anderlecht. Picture: SNS.
Neil Lennon's Champions League experience would be crucial to Anderlecht. Picture: SNS.

The Northern Irishman is one of several men that the Brussels club are looking at as a potential replacement for current coach Besnik Hasi, who will be officially sacked today.

Lennon is on a list of candidates Anderlecht are considering, according to media reports yesterday in Belgium. Also in the frame are former Denmark coach, Morten Olsen, and one-time England manager, Steve McClaren. The trio are all out of work and would be able to start immediately, with the Anderlecht board keen to make a quick appointment after losing the Belgian title two weeks ago to rivals Club Brugge.

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It was that setback, the second in two seasons following Gent’s shock success in 
2014-15, which prompted Anderlecht to fire Hasi after just over two years in the post.

While Olsen would be favourite with the fans, because of his special status as a player in the Anderlecht side which won the Uefa Cup in 1982, he is now 66 years old and has said he would not take another football job without getting permission from his wife after 16 years in the 
Denmark role.

Olsen actually lives just outside Brussels because of his Belgian wife and commuted to Copenhagen for his Danish FA work. McClaren won a Dutch title with FC Twente but the man sacked by Newcastle United in March is not seen as a genuine contender in Brussels.

At 44 years old, Lennon is the youngest candidate but crucially for Anderlecht is the fact that he has Champions League experience with Celtic. In fact, Anderlecht will also have to pre-qualify, going in at the third qualifying round, with Brugge taking the only group stage passport.

Two days ago, Lennon revealed he had been close to rejoining Celtic but lost out to Brendan Rodgers, but also saw a future abroad after the torrid time at debt-ridden 
Bolton Wanderers.

“Moving abroad is definitely something that would interest me, because I’ve enjoyed the European experience [at Celtic],” he said. “No question, if an opportunity arose that I really liked the look of then I’d seriously consider it.”