Joe Ledley explains why Celtic refused his request to train at Lennoxtown

By David Walton

April 13, 2021

Joe Ledley today said that Celtic rejected a previous request to train at Lennoxtown, but has explained why he was turned down.

Ledley was a smash-hit at Parkhead after signing on a free from Cardiff under Neil Lennon in the summer of 2010. The Welsh international would go on to make a fine 157 appearances for the Hoops, winning three league medals with the Hoops as well as a Scottish Cup success.

Frustratingly for many Celtic fans, Joe would leave for Crystal Palace in February 2014 – Lennon’s last season as manager during his first spell. Since then, he’s featured for Derby County, Charlton Athletic, and Newcastle Jets before landing at Newport County.

But it was after leaving Derby that he sent the request in to come up and train in Scotland. Celtic, according to Ledley, bizarrely rejected the ask. And speaking on the Huddle Podcast, the midfielder has stated why he feels that was the case:

“When I left Derby I sort of messaged about whether I could come back up and train. But I wasn’t allowed inside – people wouldn’t let me come in. So it’s just one of those things when I moved on, the club were moving on, so I would never criticise anyone about that. The older you get the harder it is.

“I wasn’t allowed to come and train. I had asked to train and I think it was because of the media hype as well. They didn’t want me to come in and have speculation about me signing and stuff like that.

“I totally understood they were in a position where they’re fighting for the league and the last thing they want is media speculation. I know Lenny – he would’ve had me any day to come and train, but certain things weren’t allowed.”

Joe Ledley wasn’t allowed to come back and train with Celtic…goodness knows why

Ledley left Derby back in February 2019 and didn’t actually manage to bag his new club until that December. Therefore, it’s clear that Lennon would’ve been the manager at the time – whether it be caretaker or permanent.

Surely it should’ve been down to the manager to decide what would’ve been best for the team. After all, would having an experienced figure such as Ledley in training not have helped the players? At the very least I’m struggling to see how it could’ve been detrimental.

We’re talking about a player who was at the club for three-and-a-half years. A player who managed to develop a winning mentality and produced big for the club back in Lennon’s first spell. Both domestically and in Europe, Ledley shone and became a fan-favourite. To not allow him back to train seems a bit poor.

Joe Ledley celebrates with Celtic (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Granted, we don’t know the full details, but if it’s simply down to media speculation, how would that have negatively affected the team? Would our players have crumbled under the pressure of a few stories about Ledley potentially signing? I’m struggling to see how it should’ve had any relation to on-field performances.

This was disappointing to hear from Ledley today. The reason that was given to him is most certainly a poor one. Especially if it was something Neil Lennon was happy to go through with at the time.

Regardless, it’s good to see Joe is fit and well as his career rolls on with League Two Newport. Hopefully, at 34, he can keep going a fair while yet.

In other news, we discuss the improvements Scott Bain appears to be making to his game.