A 9-year-old applied for the Bolton coaching job but lost to Neil Lennon

“You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

It’s a refrain we tell children all the time.

“Find what you love and chase that dream.”

Up until the beginning of October, Dougie Freedman was the manager of English Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers. When Freedman left Bolton, “by mutual consent” (wink, wink), the vacancy attracted a lot of attention and, ultimately, applications. One of those applications was sent in by former Celtic manager, 43-year-old Neil Lennon. Another application was sent in by Bolton season ticket holder Thomas Fielding. Fielding is a mature nine-year-old.

The job ultimately went to Lennon, a man with a little bit more experience than Fielding. Although Fielding probably does have more experience with the club. But in a show of maturity, the classy Lennon paid a visit to Fielding’s club, Oxford Grove U10s. It was an unprecedented move, as new managers rarely visit their competition after beating them out for a job. That Lennon went to Oxford Grove, a U10 club with a history of hooliganism, without security, is a testament to Lennon’s bravery and character, as you’ll note in the video below. Kids in the single digits are dangerous.

After meeting Fielding, Lennon told Bolton’s website, “It’s a great little story. His letter was very similar to the one I sent in — it’s just his had better handwriting.”

No need to patronize, Neil. You’ll just provide more fuel to inspire your competition to come after your job.

If Lennon fails to make the grade at Bolton, don’t be surprised to see Fielding walking the touchline at Macron Stadium this time next year.

WHERE TO WATCH