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02nd Feb 2018

Neil Lennon explains why he terminated Anthony Stokes’ contract

"I can’t keep rapping him on the knuckles and saying it’s all right."

Ben Kiely

Anthony Stokes

For the second time in six months, Anthony Stokes has been released by a football club.

How times have changed for Anthony Stokes.

In 2005, he was graduating from the Arsenal academy. Fast forward to 2018 and he’s getting his contract terminated by Hibernian. His contract at the club was due to run until summer 2019. This happened just six months after Blackburn Rovers gave him the axe.

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has always liked Stokes as a player. He brought him to the Easter Road club for his third time last year. Initially, his faith was rewarded as the former Republic of Ireland international banged in seven goals in 18 appearances.

However, it was Stokes’ disciplinary issues that sounded the death knell on this stint at Hibs. In November, he was dropped after a training ground altercation. After Hibs’ 2-1 win over Motherwell Lennon told BBC that enough was enough. He had to do what was best for the club and that, in his eyes, was getting rid of Stokes.

“I was very disappointed with the way things ended. There’s only so many times you can push the envelope. I have to do what I think is best for Hibs, I have to do what I think is best for the supporters, the board and most importantly, that group of players in there who have done wonders for this club over the last couple of years.”

“There is a line that I won’t tolerate, and Anthony had plenty of chances not to cross that line. We’ve been saying for years (that he’s a talented player), and it’s a shame, but I can’t keep rapping him on the knuckles and saying it’s all right.”

It will be interesting to see if any clubs take a chance with Stokes now that he’s a free agent.

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