At the start of every season the mantra among football exerts is that teams should be judged after 10 league games to chastise any snap decisions made at struggling football clubs in August and September. Of course these snap decisions are usually manifested by the said struggling clubs sacking their manager.
Well the time for snap decisions at football league clubs has now passed as the 10 game figure is reached. At the ever-increasing shambles that is Bolton Wanderers this was brought up in the now overly-familiar way of an under-whelming performance culminating in another defeat, this time at the mighty Millwall. Therefore, in a season where we have been told that the aim is to achieved an average of 2 points per game, Bolton sit on the pathetic total of 11 points from their 10 games and a a result an unthinkable relegation battle looks the more likely rather than the anticipated promotion charge. The only way to describe this situation is disgraceful and the time has come for heads to roll.
The obvious choice of person to pay for this shambles is manager Owen Coyle who seems to have lost any ability to motivate and organise a talented selection of footballers into the dominant force they should be in this league. Indeed, with the international break providing some respite in the seemingly constant grind of Championship fixtures now must be regarded as the time to make this change.
After the result and performance at the New Den there can now be no defence of our manager’s position. Only once this season (at Hillsbrough) have the Wanderers managed to play consistently well for 90 minutes and produced the sort of dominant performance that their playing talent merits and that is just not good enough. When this is looked in conjunction with the performances since April 2011, the decline of what had become an established Premier League club is swift and dramatic.
Of course Owen can’t be held solely responsible, and the work of his coaches that accompanied him from Turf Moor must also be queried as the same defensive mistakes and the same missed chances happen week after week. The players themselves (the consistently excellent Kevin Davies apart) must also look themselves in the mirror as none of them can surely look say that they have done themselves justice in recent times. In particular I look at Mark Davies who obviously has bundles of talent but he somehow manages to hide in the majority of games meaning it is quite easy to forget that he is there.
A mention must also be made of our Chairman who was everywhere to be seen when the times were good, but who has almost become the invisible man in recent times. The managers he has appointed since Big Sam left in April 2007 have in hindsight all been disastrous and that is not a good record. There is also the constant question of the dicey nature of the club’s finances that are always brushed aside. As promotion looks increasingly unlikely with each passing week these will no doubt come to the fore next summer!
The problem, however, is that we can’t get rid of the majority of these players overnight and the Chairman seems to enjoy the trappings of power too much to remove himself from his position meaning that the fall guy has to be Owen Coyle. However much of a nice guy he may be, unfortunately as the saying goes managers must be judged on results, and for too long Bolton’s have just not been good enough. For my money, I would go for Paolo di Canio to replace him but knowing our Chairman a certain Mr Megson will probably make a re-appearance.