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Saturday, December 19, 2015
Football manager Neil Lennon in 'knife threat' to mistress after she threatened to tell his partner about affair
Soccer boss Neil Lennon’s mistress has told of their relationship – and how he made a knife threat to her when she told him she would tell his partner.
It is a story the Bolton boss and BBC pundit tried to ban after he claimed he was the victim.
But today we can reveal how he had a year-long romance with the woman – 20 years his junior – behind his long- term partner’s back.
He began dating the girl after meeting her in a pub. But she claims their affair soured when she found Lennon had started seeing a third woman.
It was then that she threatened to go to his partner – only for Lennon to turn nasty, telling her someone “could” put a knife to her throat if she spoke out.
Since then the 44-year-old former Celtic manager has tried to stop the Sunday Mirror publishing the story of the mistress – who we are calling Kim.
Now we can disclose how they met and how he was open about the affair in front of colleagues – inviting the girl to stay in the Bolton team hotel the night before match days.
We can tell how he offered Kim £10,000 in cash to buy her silence when it all went wrong and how he paid an agent to serve her a gagging contract.
We also reveal how the soccer boss told police he was being blackmailed – even though Irene McCloy, his partner and mother of his child, had already been told of the affair by Kim.
Kim said: “Neil Lennon’s ruined my life. He told me he loved me and made me feel part of his life.
“But just like he has cheated on Irene, he was doing the same to me. When I found out, he became a monster.
"He made me fear for my life. He set powerful lawyers on me – and I found a police officer challenging my behaviour.
"But no one is too powerful to bury the truth.”
Lennon, from Lurgan, Northern Ireland, has cheated on Irene at least twice before.
In 2006, when she was pregnant, he was forced to admit Glasgow singer Jeniffer Jonsen was also expecting a child to him.
After that indiscretion, Lennon said: “I’m sorry for all the hurt I have caused.
"It was the most stupid thing I have ever done in my entire life. I’m in love with Irene. She’s the woman for me.”
Irene forgave him but was again betrayed. In July 2007 Lennon – then a player – was seen cavorting naked with psychology student Fiona Brown.
Since stepping into management, Lennon has portrayed himself as a family man, often inviting Irene to Bolton’s Macron Stadium.
He has taken his son to training sessions in a bid to motivate his players.
But last year he returned to his cheating ways after approaching Kim in her local pub.
She says the pair exchanged numbers and began meeting at the same bar for dates, with Lennon saying he was in an unhappy relationship.
Earlier this year, Kim said she stayed at Lennon’s house for the first time when Irene was away.
She said: “I was nervous going round there, I didn’t know what to think.
"Neil said he had no relationship with Irene, but it was still their house and we were sleeping in their bed.
“He reassured me everything was OK. Looking back, I can’t believe how relaxed he was, but that’s what made me feel like what we were doing was fine.
"But the next week, Neil got in touch to say Irene had found one of my false eye-lashes in the bed.
"He told me he lied and said one of the coaches had stayed over with his wife, but it was a close one.”
Despite hiding his affair from Irene, Lennon was less secretive in front of his friends.
They dined together at the San Carlo restaurant in Manchester and enjoyed a night out in London’s Covent Garden.
Over the past year, Kim also became a confidante of the troubled manager.
She says he even asked her advice on how to get struggling Bolton back to winning ways.
When Kim suggested he print off the league table and highlight the position his side would be in if they were to win, he did it, texting her: “If we win tomorrow you will get bonus x”.
Over the year they spent together, Kim claimed the pair had sex at Lennon’s home, at her flat and at the team hotel – normally the Macdonald Kilhey Court, Standish – before matches.
At a different hotel, on the night before Bolton’s 2-1 win over Wolves, on September 12, Kim found a text on his phone from a contact named “Shay” which simply read “Morning xxx”.
She confronted Lennon and claims that, after initially denying any wrongdoing, he admitted going on dates with another woman, a Bolton fan.
Kim said: “At first he tried to tell me the girl was his cousin, but I saved the number and told him I would call it and find out the truth.
“I made him dial the number in front of me, I can still remember his hands shaking as he held his phone.
"In the end he stopped, and I had to call her. She told me everything.” After the row, she stormed out of the hotel in front of Bolton staff.
"Then on Thursday, October 22, she picked Lennon up from Manchester Airport after he returned from working as a TV pundit.
They had an argument and Kim stopped her car on the side of the motorway, threatening to tell Irene the truth and expose his latest affair.
It was then, she claims, Lennon told her someone “could” hold a knife to her throat if she spoke out. Lennon has continually denied making the threat.
But upset at the sudden change in his character, Kim later pressed him on what he meant by the comment.
In a recording of a phone call with Kim, heard by the Sunday Mirror, Lennon replied: “No, I said that – that – that’s what will happen.
"I didn’t say I would do it and I – I didn’t threaten you with it at all. I said that it could possibly happen... and that’s what I don’t want.”
Kim says that, in the fallout of the threat, Lennon began to phase her out of his life, saying he would help her buy a house.
But, still reeling from the revelation about a third woman, Kim decided to clear her conscience and tell Irene.
Desperate to keep his secret safe, he began to behave erratically.
A week later he offered her £10,000 cash to end their relationship. She did not take the money.
“He told me he’d pay the money and I could start afresh,” said Kim. “I honestly thought it was his way of looking after me.
"He’d used to say he loved me, that I made him a better person. I believed this was his way of helping me move on.
"But I decided I didn’t want his money. I didn’t want to be bought.”
Days later, with Lennon in Ipswich overseeing a Bolton defeat, Kim knocked on Irene’s door and confessed to the affair.
Kim claimed: “When I told Irene about what had been going on, her reaction was one of sadness more than surprise.
"She invited me in and we talked things through. She even poured me a glass of wine. I sent her a voice recording I’d made of Neil’s rants at me.
"She apologised on his behalf.
“At one point, Neil called my phone. I told him where I was and he just put the phone down.”
With Irene now aware of the affair, Lennon ceased all contact with Kim – but the messages from his friends and colleagues became more worrying.
Hours after visiting Irene, Kim received abusive texts from the phone number of his assistant, the former Nottingham Forest midfielder Garry Parker, in which he used a foul four letter word to describe her.
Parker denies sending them. Worryingly, one message read: “You’re seriously f***** up. I’d be watching my back if I were you.”
Kim said: “I knew it was wrong to be in a relationship with a man who isn’t single, but I recognised that and tried to do the right thing, I wanted to come clean.
"Suddenly, all I was getting was abuse and threats that no girl should have to deal with. I decided I wanted to tell my story.”
After Kim made up her mind, Lennon went on the offensive and she claims sought to destroy her reputation.
He enlisted the help of a top London law firm and a “reputation management consultant”, offering her the chance to sign a contract and be paid £10,000 in three instalments.
In return, she would have to delete all her pictures of the pair together, any texts between the two and never speak about their fling to anyone.
Kim refused and sent the agent away – but she soon found Lennon had gone to the police.
“Before the agent left I told him how stressful the whole thing had been,” said Kim.
“I told him I’d been labelled a blackmailer by Neil – the man who’d been offering me money.
"The agent seemed to seize on that. He said Neil wasn’t minded to go to the police, but said he could do if I spoke to a newspaper.
"Neil tried to tell me before that I’d blackmailed him – but I knew there was no base to that claim.
"So I never felt threatened, but with another threat coming from this agent, I began to worry.”
Sticking to her principles, Kim refused to let her silence be bought.
But, in what appears to be another attempt to control the situation, Lennon finally reported a claim of blackmail to Greater Manchester Police on November 26 – but said he did not want to pursue it.
Despite this, a serving police inspector called Kim on her mobile.
He explained he’d come straight from an interview with Lennon and seen information which could amount to blackmail.
Kim pushed the officer on whether he was following an official line of inquiry.
She asked him whether his colleagues would be aware he was issuing the warning to her.
He said: “Er... probably not. No, they probably won’t confirm that.”
Greater Manchester Police have since confirmed they received a complaint of blackmail.
But added: “The complainant is not pursuing the matter at this time.”
Kim said: “This was the last straw. I was guilty of nothing more than having an affair.
"But because the man I happened to have an affair with was a football manager, I’d been intimidated by him, his coaching staff, expensive lawyers – and now even the police were telling me I could end up in a cell.
“All this was so devastating because I really did love him.”
Recordings of Kim’s calls to GMP appear to show the inspector misled her over the official nature of the complaint. Kim is confident there’s no blackmail case to answer.
Via his legal team, Lennon has maintained he is a victim of a blackmail – but has not produced evidence to our lawyers to back this up.
The complaint he made to GMP was issued with a crime reference number, but the force confirmed Lennon didn’t want to pursue the matter at the time of publication.
Lennon’s assistant Garry Parker denies he told Kim to “watch her back”.
Lennon also denied issuing the knife threat to Kim, but she has played us her recordings of a conversation in which he clarifies the threat.
After telling all, she said: “It’s been a nightmare. But I’ve never given up hope I’d be able to tell this story.
"People who do bad things shouldn’t be able to wave money at mistakes and make them go away.”
A spokesman for Lennon insisted that he was the victim of a blackmail.
Police 'warned' Bolton boss Neil Lennon's mistress over her 'blackmail'
After enlisting top lawyers to silence Kim, Neil Lennon turned to Greater Manchester Police to claim she was blackmailing him.
He filed a report to an inspector on November 26 which he insisted he did not want to pursue.
Despite this, the officer went to a property he thought was Kim’s but got the wrong address.
So he phoned her and a conversation took place which, Kim says, left her intimidated.
The officer, who told her his name, warned her if her “blackmail” continued she’d “probably be arrested”.
Despite the inspector’s warning that the matter “will be reported”, GMP have confirmed to us there had already been a report made.
They did not comment on why the officer misled Kim.
During the conversation, the inspector was told of threats of violence towards Kim.