Date: 28th April 2010 at 11:15pm
Written by:

A first and a last. The only time that an article on Vital Bolton`s front page will be written in the first person, and the last piece I`ll write as editor of this site. After three years, McCormick is moving on.

I do so with some regret. The e-mails of support have been gratefully received, and the readership figures were always encouraging, even if the forum was never busy enough.

But there`s relief too. Football has turned from sport into show business and the change isn`t for the better. The big clubs have the best players, the most money, the referees in their back pocket and a fawning media to rely on. If you`re a fan of a less fashionable outfit, it`s difficult to escape the idea that the dice has been cast against your team even before it`s set foot on the pitch.

The extent to which the game is dominated by money was demonstrated on this very site yesterday, when we were forced due to copyright, to remove an article because of the images it contained. There were two pictures of Owen Coyle being interviewed, one of him with Brian Laws and another of him on his own. Not a ball in site, but it was deemed harmful to the Premier League`s commercial interests.

Then there`s Bolton. It seems a long time ago that the Whites had a proud set of players who achieved four consecutive top eight finishes. They and manager Sam Allardyce have never received the due amount of credit for that achievement. By comparison, today`s team is limp and lacking in backbone.

It`s been an intriguing three years though. Sam took his ‘rest` from football two days after I commenced the editorship. Then there was the shotgun marriage appointment of Sammy Lee, almost followed by Graeme Souness. Whites fans hadn`t quite finished the sigh of relief when Gary Megson pitched up. It was like avoiding a mini, only to be run over by a truck.

I had a lot of fun with Megson, but as a man, I didn`t dislike him. He seemed like a decent enough sort, albeit one with too many flaws to succeed at top level. He was treated unfairly, but didn`t do himself any favours. There was more than one chance to build bridges with the supporters, but his insecurity led him to spurn them all.

‘I don`t know, I`m not bothered,` he said after this season`s home game against Stoke when asked if the fans had gone home happy.

That statement alone demonstrated how out of touch those employed in football are. Without the fans, the armchair variety, and those who come through the turnstiles, they wouldn`t be receiving million pound salaries for doing a job which is a long way short of being essential.

The most surreal moment was a meeting with Bolton Chairman Phil Gartside, engineered by him under completely false pretences in September 2008, with the aim of bullying me into writing things less scathing. As you will have gathered, that quest failed.

He`s an odd bod Garty, a curious mixture of diffidence and arrogance and why he thought that my words were of such importance was a mystery to me. I don`t kid myself that this column is much more than a blog – one person`s take on the club he supports. Helen Wood, the now departed head of communications, considered me an ‘opinion former`. It was news to me.

Vital Bolton under my tenure had its critics. If you`re fan of the rose-tinted variety with the critical faculties of a nodding dog, then it wasn`t for you – but if you want a dull as ditchwater regurgitation of the news, without character or flavour, then go read Burnden Aces.

The rest of us know that investing so much emotion in a football team is an absurd thing to do. You pay extortionate amounts of money and travel thousands of miles over a season, only to be threatened by orange jacketed baboons if you dare to get too enthusiastic. But still we do it.

Thanks to my mate Tomog for his help with the forums, and for his stunning success in setting up the Vital Bolton Facebook group. The same to Conor Weaver for looking after the Twitter side of things.

But most of all, I thank you the readers, who`ve returned to this site day after day. Players come and go, as do managers, chairmen and even owners. It`s the fans who stay forever. Some way down the line, those who control football forgot that.

Enjoy the last two games of the season, the summer and the World Cup, safe in the knowledge that there will be a tenth season of Premier League football to look forward to. For a small club, that`s a fantastic feat. Let`s hope that Owen Coyle can put the pride back into Bolton Wanderers.

All the Best

Richard McCormick

 

18 Replies to “And It’s Goodbye From Me”

  • Sad to hear your going Richard, always enjoyed reading your take on football, good luck and take care from one blues man to another

  • Wherever you go, Rich, let it be known that you are the one who,to paraphrase Ol’ Red Nose slightly, ‘knocked Amos and LittleDutch And Nikolaijns off their ******** perch’ and for that you’ll always have an ad
    irer over at VS. Your articles were always a pleasure to read, and usually well grounded. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • From one little whites supporter to another. Both our clubs have a great history filled with many characters from the past! More important than silverware! But thats not promoted these days. Please join us in supporting our unbelieveable europa run and if we win then it will show that even little family clubs have there day! Its all about the journey…..

  • As you say nothing is forever apart from passionate supporters.
    Cheers Rich you will be a tough act to follow. (Le-Arse supporters having a party) PMSL they loved ya really.

  • Thanks for the ‘spikey’ nature of your articles and thought-provoking and funny prose. Hard act to follow for someone…

  • Sorry to hear your leaving. Some great articles. Particularly enjoyed “the terrible truth about owen coyle” and your persistent gooner bashing. Fantastic stuff. All the best Mr. McCormick.

  • I have take the time to say that I am really saddened to see you go. This is the ONLY Wanderers fansite that I go to and the only reason for that is because of Richard’s incredibly well-written, hilarious, insightful and brazenly honest articles.

    I also thought that you were the master of providing your own take on events whilst keeping the basis of your pieces as balanced and fair as possible. This always made for an informative but entertaining read.

    I don’t know what you do for a day job but I would seriously consider taking this up professionally as you are extremely gifted in this area. I always looked forward to reading your newly posted articles.

    Indeed Richard will be a hard act to follow but I sincerely hope someone does as the voice of the fans needs to be heard. The whole story about Gartside you referred to shows that the suits are trying to stamp out the opinion of the real fan.

    Thank you, good luck for the future and God bless.

    P.S. You’re sign-off article was excellent too!

  • Al the best Richard. I was first brought to the site when I came across the Evil Gartside articles – fantastic! I don’t agree with you all the time but that is the whole point of a site like this. I certainly do agree with your comment on the Burnden Aces site – what exactly is the point of that if you can access the club site and Bolton News – it never has anything else on it. The most amazing thing to me, whilst following your articles, was the attention given by Arsenal fans, most of whom didn’t seem to understand anything that contained humour or was said ‘tongue in cheek’. Anyway, good luck to you and I hope we are all lucky enough to get a worthy replacement.

  • Very much agree with all the above Richard. Always enjoyed your articles. Your ‘tell it like it is’ approach is bang on and should be used by all fans – they will never see it from most of the press, which as you say, has too much to lose to ever do the same. All the best. I will attempt to keep up your good work with a bit of gooner bashing, plus a whole load of Man U, Purple Conk bashing!

  • Bin away on hols,can`t believe it!! Whatever am I gonna do now?Richard`s articles were the first read I made every day.Best Vital site IMO.Good luck Richard.Is Quentin X the upper crust merchant banker who frequents Canary Wharf and “loves” the Gunners?Only joking,hope you can keep the standard up.

  • Over the last number of years I have enjoyed your articles immensely but I’ve never left a comment. So this comment is to say thank you for the enjoyment your articles have given me. Also the fact that you are so quick to criticise your own team is refreshing and I felt your style of writing was great too.

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