[PROFILES] Neil Lennon, Johan Mjallby & Garry Parker

  • October 13, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/27802

Bolton's new management team report for training for the first time on Monday, but just who are they? We look at the careers of Neil Lennon, Johan Mjallby and Garry Parker.

Lennon was appointed as the successor to Dougie Freedman on Sunday, returning to football five months after stepping down from a hugely successful four-year spell in charge at Celtic.

He will be assisted at Macron Stadium by Johan Mjallby, while Parker, who also worked alongside Lennon and Mjallby at Celtic Park, joins Wanderers as first-team coach.

Neil Lennon

Born in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, on June 25, 1971, Neil Lennon grew up with a talent for gaelic football and represented both his school and county before turning his attention to football - where he went on play for his hometown side, Lurgan Celtic.

Dessie McGuinness, his former coach at Lurgan, spotted the ability of Lennon at the tender age of 10 and nurtured his talent until 1986, when Glenavon FC signed him to a trainee contract.

Lennon, who scored on his Irish League debut, spent 12 months with Glenavon before signing for Manchester City, but he made just one senior appearance during his time at Maine Road - coming on as a substitute for David White in a game at Birmingham City in April 1988 - before joining Crewe Alexandra on a free transfer in August 1990.

Still at the age of just 19, Lennon made his Alex debut in a defeat at Reading in September 1990, in a campaign which saw the Railwaymen relegated to Division Four. Crewe finished 6th the following season, but did so without the services of Lennon, who had undergone potential career-threatening surgery on a fractured back.

He returned to the side at the start of the 1992/93 season, as Crewe once again finished 6th in the old Division Four, but 1994 would prove to be the year that ignited Lennon's career. A 3rd-placed finish saw Crewe win promotion to Division Two and Lennon's impressive form saw him win a first call-up to the senior Northern Ireland squad for a friendly against Mexico - making him the first Crewe player to represent his country in 60 years.

In total, Lennon went on to make 187 appearances during his time at Gresty Road, scoring 18 goals, before joining Leicester City for a fee of £750,000 in February 1996.

His first season at Filbert Street was a major success, as he helped the Foxes win promotion to the Premier League by virtue of a play-off final victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley Stadium. He picked up a League Cup winner's medal the following season, as Leicester beat Middlesbrough to pick up the trophy, and he repeated that feat in February 2000 when the Foxes were 2-1 winners over Tranmere Rovers.

Martin O'Neill, the man who took Lennon to Leicester in 1996, paid £5.75million to make him a part of his Celtic team in December 2000. The Bhoys won a domestic treble over the course of the next six months, winning the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup.

Lennon won a further two league titles over the next four years at Celtic, as well as two Scottish Cups and a UEFA Cup runners-up medal - following their 3-2 extra-time defeat to Jose Mourinho's FC Porto, in 2003.

Following O'Neill's decision to leave Celtic Park in the summer of 2005, his successor, Gordon Strachan, handed Lennon the captain's armband and he lifted his first trophy in the role the following April, as Celtic sealed the Scottish Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Hearts.

Lennon's final game for Celtic arrived in May 2007, when a Scottish Cup final victory over Dunfermline Athletic clinched a domestic league and cup double for the outgoing skipper.

During his time at Parkhead, Lennon won a grand total of five Scottish Premier League titles, four Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups.

The 2007/08 campaign proved to be his last as a player, which started with him signing a 12-month contract at League One side Nottingham Forest. He captained the side on his debut, in a goalless draw with Bournemouth, and went on to play 22 times before ending his career with a brief spell at Wycombe Wanderers.

Despite moving to Adams Park on the final day of the January transfer window, Lennon left Wycombe after just two months after being offered the role of first-team coach at Celtic.

Tony Mowbray's arrival as manager in 2009 saw Lennon demoted to the role of reserve team manager, but he returned to the first-team setup in March 2010 after being announced as caretaker manager following the departure of Mowbray.

Lennon was named manager of Celtic on a permanent basis in June 2010, but found himself under serious pressure throughout his first campaign at the club. The Hoops finished 2nd to Glasgow Rangers in the race for the Scottish Premier League title, which came after Celtic had lost to their Old Firm rivals in the final of the Scottish League Cup two months earlier.

Victory over Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final perhaps saved Lennon's job at the end of his debut campaign, a decision which the club would eventually be thankful for. In the season's that followed, Celtic would go on to claim three successive Scottish Premier League titles, as well as the Scottish Cup in 2013.

Despite winning five trophies during his time in charge, Lennon's biggest achievement came 24 hours after the club marked their 125th anniversary. With Barcelona the visitors to Celtic Park in the UEFA Champions League, the home side ran out 2-1 winners against the reigning European champions - a team containing the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

Lennon stepped down from his position in May, following four years in charge of his boyhood club, and will become the second Northern Irishman to take charge of Bolton when he takes charge of training for the first time on Monday.

Johan Mjallby

Just as he did at Celtic, Johan Mjallby will take up the position as assistant manager to Lennon at Macron Stadium.

Mjallby, who was capped 49 times by Sweden, was signed by IK Bele in 1976 - at the minor age of 5. In 1984, aged 13, he had to make the decision between playing tennis at a professional level or making football his number one priority.

Having opted to pursue a career in football, he was subsequently signed to a youth contract at AIK Fotboll and turned professional in 1989.

AIK were crowned champions of Allsvenskan in 1992, but Mjallby famously refused to accept a winner's medal - claiming he hadn't contributed enough towards their success. His form over the course of the next few years saw him win an international debut for Sweden in 1997, capping a successful 12-month period which had seen his club win back-to-back Swedish Cups.

Having turned down an Allsvenskan medal six years earlier, Mjallby finally got his hands on the trophy when he helped his boyhood side to the 1998 league title in his final season at the club.

In November 1998, Mjallby signed for Celtic for a fee of £1.2million - where he linked up with Lennon for the first time. He made his debut in a 5-1 victory over Rangers and went on to win three Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish League Cups and two Scottish Cups during a six-year spell at Parkhead.

A disappointing 12-month spell at Levante brought an end to a successful playing career, although he did come out of retirement to play one final game for AIK before injuries forced him to hang up his boots on a permanent basis.

Mjallby returned to football in March 2010, as the assistant manager to Lennon at Celtic. He occupied the role throughout the Northern Irishman's tenure at Parkhead, before leaving the club in May 2014.

Garry Parker

Garry Parker, who will fulfill the role of first-team coach at Bolton, made a career as a solid midfielder, who played for the likes of Luton Town, Hull City, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and Leicester City.

Having made the grade as an apprentice at Luton, Parker moved to Hull City in the summer of 1986 and earned six caps for the England under-21 team.

His form for club and country saw him win a transfer to Nottingham Forest in 1988 and he won his first career honour the following year, as Forest beat his former club Luton Town in the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Parker added a second League Cup medal to his collection in 1990, but his time at the City Ground came to an end the following summer when he was sold to Aston Villa.

Villa finished 2nd in the inaugural Premier League campaign, but Parker struggled to hold down a regular place over the course of the next 18 months and was sold to Leicester City in February 1995.

The Foxes were relegated from the top-flight in his first season at the club, but made an immediate return with a play-off final victory over Crystal Palace the following year - a game which also saw Lennon named on the Leicester teamsheet.

Parker received his third League Cup winner's medal in 1997, as the Foxes beat Middlesbrough in a replayed final, before his playing career came to an end in 1999.

After deciding to hang up his boots, Parker joined the coaching staff at Leicester and oversaw one game as caretaker manager following the dismissal of Peter Taylor - a 6-0 defeat to Leeds United.

Parker spent the better part of a decade out of the game, before returning as first-team coach at Celtic in July 2010 - following the appointment of Lennon. He remained at Celtic Park until May, when he, alongside Lennon and Mjallby, stepped down from their respective roles.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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