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St Mirren board still unclear on future of Lennon

DANNY LENNON will not discover until after the final game of the season whether he will be kept on as St Mirren manager.

Danny Lennon has still to be offered a contract extension
Danny Lennon has still to be offered a contract extension

A board meeting yesterday failed to reach a decisive outcome, meaning Lennon will go into tomorrow's home SPFL Premiership game against Hearts still unsure of his future.

Recruited from Cowdenbeath in 2010, Lennon's four-year deal will expire in the coming weeks and he is yet to be offered an extension. A short statement from the club revealed that the board would meet "early next week" to discuss the matter again, by which point Lennon and his players will be on holiday following the conclusion of the league campaign. A win tomorrow could ensure St Mirren's highest league placing since 1989.

The statement read: "The board of St Mirren Football Club met this morning to discuss various routine matters. There is obviously speculation regarding the manager's contract. No decision was made in relation to this and the board will reconvene early next week to consider matters further."

As well as the manager, several first-team players will also soon be out of contract including captain Jim Goodwin, Paul McGowan, Kenny McLean, Marian Kello, Darren McGregor, David van Zanten and Gary Teale. All of them await news on their futures.

The matter is complicated further by attempts of a group of directors to sell their majority shareholding in the club. Talks are said to be ongoing with a consortium fronted by Jim Methven, the former Cowdenbeath chairman, although it is understood another Scottish-based group have also entered the bidding. According to one source, the latter consortium are "very close" to concluding a deal, a move that could explain the delay in making a decision on the manager.

The future of Lennon remains a divisive issue among St Mirren supporters. His backers point towards his success in winning last year's League Cup, the club's first major trophy in 26 years, the successful introduction to the first team of a number of players from the youth academy and Lennon's role in ensuring top-flight football in Paisley for a ninth successive season.

His detractors, however, believe the team should be doing better than simply avoiding relegation most seasons and also highlight Lennon's fairly wretched track record in the transfer market, with players like Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Cornell, Jake Caprice, Stephane Bahoken, Gary Harkins and Danny Grainger all having made little impact.

Regardless of their stance on Lennon's future, there appears to an agreement among supporters that it would be better to have the situation resolved sooner rather than later. "If you had asked the question a few weeks ago about whether people wanted Danny to stay you would have got a much different answer," said David MacDonald, owner of the popular St Mirren fans website, Black and White Army.

"Back then a poll showed 80-90% of fans wanted him to go but now because of the recent good results it's probably closer to 50:50. The fans now just want to know one way or the other so the club can get on planning for next season either with Danny in charge or another manager.

"It would have been nice to have known before the Hearts game if Danny was leaving as most fans would have liked to have given him a proper farewell. He's done well, delivered us a major trophy and kept us in the league year after year. So if he is going, it would be nice to have the chance to thank him after tomorrow's match. He deserves a decent send-off. Now it doesn't look as if we'll get that chance."

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