Lee Naylor discusses previous contact with Hammond; will pitch players to Celtic this summer

By David Walton

May 18, 2021

Lee Naylor has revealed that he pitched several players to Celtic in the summer only for them to be turned down, and feels Neil Lennon didn’t have a say.

Naylor, who used to play for the club between 2006 and 2010, is now working as an agent. And it appears that during last summer’s disastrous transfer window, he put some ideas forward for Celtic that he felt could’ve been successful.

Before they left the club, Lennon and Hammond worked together in a partnership that did more harm than good. Hammond was the Head of Football Operations, but it was never clear how big a say the manager had on transfers. As is always the case, you would’ve hoped that it would’ve been Lennon who had the final say. He certainly got plenty of stick for the signings over the course of the campaign.

But speaking today on the Celtic Huddle Podcast, Naylor confirmed he doesn’t believe that to be the case after previous dealings with the club.

“I put a few in at the start of the season but there was no takers. There was a centre midfielder and striker. They would have fitted in well.

“Nicky Hammond was there at the time. I don’t know if Lenny had much say, to be honest. It depends on what a manager has to say, if he’s ruling the roost.

“But I don’t think Lenny had much say, especially this season, and I think you could tell. I’ll have a few lined up this summer. It will be interesting to see who takes the reins – I just need to know who to speak to.”

Lee Naylor to talk to Celtic again this summer, but club must make responsibilities clear

Naylor won’t be the only agent to try and push their players for a move to Celtic. After all, the club probably has hundreds of agencies doing exactly that in the close-season. Especially this term with so many changes occurring and players being required at Parkhead.

However, what’s more concerning here is the idea that Lennon had absolutely no say. Whilst many may have guessed that to be the case, it would be extremely worrying if that turned out to be true. Considering the manager is the one who has to coach the player every day, it should be he who always has the final say.

But this uncertainty all comes simply from Celtic failing to let us know the responsibilities of its senior staff. We simply don’t know what too many behind-the-scenes at Parkhead do. It was unclear whether Hammond was actively signing players or whether he was simply putting recommendations to the manager.

Lee Naylor doesn’t think Neil Lennon had a say in his Celtic signings / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Granted, you can’t say every signing arrived a poor player. Their regression as well as the rest of the Celtic dressing room is down to Lennon and Lennon alone. But how can you appoint a manager and then fail to back his recruitment strategies? That suggests Lennon should never have been given the job to begin with.

Celtic will likely have to go about things differently this season. They won’t get away with telling the likes of Eddie Howe he isn’t bringing in his own players. If you want a top calibre of manager then you have to give him some guarantees. Things such as signing his own players and picking his own backroom staff shouldn’t even be  in question.

But then again, this is Celtic. We’ve hardly put ourselves forward as the cream of the crop when it comes to boardroom decisions.

In other news, take a look at Eddie Howe’s reported stance on the Crystal Palace gig.