Hibs boss Neil Lennon has revealed how his players run the risk of being fined a week’s wages if they dare bring their mobile phones into the club’s East Mains training centre.
Lennon laid down the law immediately after become manager, adamant his players should spend their days concentrating on football rather than social media. And rather than becoming engrossed in texting and Twitter, he believes they should be talking to their pals – their fellow team-mates.
He said: “It’s simple, mobile phones are left in the cars. They are fined a week’s wages if they are caught using them or social media. They are here at the training ground with their team-mates who are their pals and they should be communicating with each other.
“The last thing I want to see is somebody using a phone or a lap-top. There are too many players who have no social skills any more because they have been brought up in the social media environment and era.”
Lennon’s move may appear draconian given today’s world, but he insisted he’s not fussed, saying: “I don’t care what the players say, it is my rule, my house, my ball and they have to accept it.
“I don’t think it’s a major thing. For some it may have been a case of cold turkey for a couple of weeks. It is my own observation, we didn’t have that when we were playing as football was your focus.”
Adamant that the outside world should be forgotten at the door of the training centre, Lennon went on: “Any issues they have away from the club are left in the cars. This is where they come and play football– they are footballers after all. It is what they enjoy doing. I don’t want any outside influences annoying them. The only influence is me.
“When they go out the gate they can do what they like. They are not allowed to tweet things regarding the club obviously. I can’t stop them from doing things they want to do as I don’t rule their life for them. But in terms of football and social aspect of things I can control what goes on in here and I think that works.”
And, as for the accusation he could be seen as “Mr Grumpy”, Lennon replied: “I am very grumpy. I have a laugh and a joke with them but there is a time and a place for it. The training ground is their place of work. I don’t want them worrying about coming into work, I want them to come in with a smile on their face.”
Meanwhile, Lennon admitted Hibs are ahead of schedule, their opening five Championship matches won and with the chance of setting an all-time club record of six if they beat Ayr United tomorrow. He said: “I can’t ask for any more, five wins out of five.
“You don’t know what way the season is going to go. You still don’t know much about the teams and there’s new players coming in. It’s trying to find your feet at the club as well but it’s gone better than I could have asked for really.”
Lennon will decide within the next few days whether to offer former Welsh internationalist Neal Eardley a contract. The 27-year-old, freed by Birmingham City at the end of last season, continues to train with Hibs and played in the development squad’s 2-1 win against St Mirren earlier in the week.
He said: “He has done okay. We have not made a decision yet, but we’ll have to give him an answer sooner rather than later.”