The truth about somebody or a situation can be extremely unpopular if a person or an incident can be tainted or put simply, blown out of the water. One area that truth is unwanted is in regards to criminals. Nobody wants to know if their favourite villain or hero is a Walter Mitty, and certain myths have grown up around these people. One myth is the hard but fair image of Lennie McLean. In recent years, more stories have circulated about McLean being nothing but a violent bully.
A few years back, I was delivering a book to a man, who collected biographies. We soon got talking and he asked if I had heard of McLean. Yes, I said. He told me that his wife had an uncle from the East End, now retired in Spain, who knew McLean many years back. The uncle told him that McLean was nothing but a violent bully. Boxing promoter Frank Warren, was related to McLean and he did not shy from being honest, saying that McLean was a violent bully, who like bullies, could not stand up to men as tough as, or tougher than him. When you look at his unlicensed fight record, he had twelve fights, losing six, and in four he was sparked. Twice by Johnny Waldron, a former top notch Light heavyweight and twice by heavyweight Cliff Fields. Fields pro ring record was 15 fights, 11 wins, 4 losses. His best effort was a fight with Richard Dunn but was ko`d in 4. McLean also was supposed to have been laid out by Mick Gluckstead in a bar fight. These incidents did not make it into McLean's memoirs. Obviously his memory conveniently failed him.
In a book by a former counterfeiter, he told a story of an enforcer for a big villain, who watched McLean batter a kid in a pub, walked up to McLean and in front of the people in the pub, told McLean that he ought to give him a slap for hurting the kid. McLean said nothing, turned around and walked out. Another man recalled his time as a doorman. His boss, the head doorman, received a visit from a McLean flunky, telling him that McLean s coming to the club that night and wanted champagne and the red carpet treatment. The flunky was told that McLean had to pay, like everybody else had to. When he showed up later, the head doorman asked McLean to step somewhere quiet so they could straighten this out. As soon as they were out of sight, he put a gun to the head of McLean and said he would kill him if he ever tried that again with him. McLean left. The guy recalling the story, said that as far as he was concerned, McLean was nothing but a bully.
McLean, in his memoirs, told how he got heavy with a kid who laughed at the hammering given in Spain to Ronnie Knight. Knight was hammered allegedly by a hardman for hire known as "The Enforcer" a 16 stone hardman from Rochdale. "A man in his fifties getting a leathering like that." Of course, all the people nowhere near capable of standing up to him that he inflicted damage to, that was alright then. Naturally, there are people who would cry about people telling stories like these. They would be called everything derogatory but when it comes to what has been told, particularly with proof, their mouths are kept firmly shut. That speaks volumes.