Hello? Is that Bolton? Portsmouth here. Can you guarantee you’ll be able to put out a strong team on Saturday?
Afternoon all. Let`s see if I can finish this article faster than a Usian Bolt sprin?..no, I can`t.
So, what an amazing Saturday. Who would have thought we would see three of them, all magical in their own way. Never in my lifetime did I ever dream it would happen and you get that feeling that there are more on the way. You just have to stand up and applaud.
Yes, well done to Portsmouth, a club so ramshackle from top to bottom, if Dante were alive today, he may have given them a ring of hell all to themselves. And yet, three goals scored by a team of those that never were, never will be and never heard of. And a mercenary footballer who used to ply his trade in Bolton. I know that Al did a report yesterday, but I just cannot leave what has to be the most embarrassing pre season result without giving my two pence worth.
In hindsight, you knew we were heading for a fall when Owen Coyle sought assurances that Portsmouth would be able to put out a team that could match his own. What with the results in Scotland and at Crewe, you would have hoped that OC would be happy that we had the (apparent) opportunity to stick a few past a team that, in football terms, came free with your box of cereal. There was something slightly graceless about this assurance, as if a team of professional footballers are not worthy of Bolton visiting them.
The gracelessness continued with this tweet from Phil Gartside, commenting on the Portsmouth programme that showed a Portsmouth side with only seven players. “Opps forgot boots” said the Chairman, as if taking the piss out of the sad demise of a fellow professional football club is a matter for comedy. This is the chairman of a football club and an FA board member. He is also the chairman of a football club as massively in debt as Portsmouth, regardless of who the debt is owed to. But “there but for the grace of God” doesn`t figure in Big Phil`s world. This tweet was retweeted by a number of people, made a favourite by another and replied to like it was a joke by one of his sycophants. It wasn`t funny and showed an utter lack of class. He should be ashamed of himself. I know I am.
Then Portsmouth ran out deserved winners, David N`Gog damaging his back in the process. I know that pre season friendlies mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, but this was a match that, for all intents and purposes, should have been a walk over. Little OC tried to compare it later to Brighton beating Chelsea, like Brighton are a team that have come together over the past couple of weeks and were recently tonked by Gibraltar. Even with the first appearance of the on loan Benik Afobe, Saturday brought no positives and no excuses. And how you can ‘loose’ a league, like Junior wrote, I don’t know. What are they teaching them at school these days?
“We always knew it was going to be a game of intensity but we didn`t do ourselves any credit and reach anywhere near the standard we are capable of.” said the manager later. Many will recognise this constant refrain from last season when we didn`t do ourselves any credit nor reach the standard we were capable of on a regular basis. As the pre season goes on, there appear to be more things needing to be ironed out rather than being put straight. The return of Marvin Sordell from the Olympics may give the forward line more potency, but it is obvious that there are issues from front to back that need sorting out.
We go to Tranmere tomorrow and Mrs X will be insufferable if we lose that. There is the chance that we will be going, which will be nice. I may have to get changed before we go though and then just go straight to the stands.
Elswhere, Big Sam has sent his sympathy on our relegation, which is nice of him, although he did have to get a little dig in about our lack of ambition which caused him to resign. Old news and all that, but as Mr Gartside continues to dig himself holes with his running of the club, there are those that will look back at the time that Allardyce was in charge and become quite emotional. Whether the club should have invested in the striker that would have taken us to the Champions League is a moot point and we will never know what situation we would have found ourselves in if we had failed. Leeds are a salutary lesson in what could happen. It will be interesting to see how Sam does in the Premier League with a bit of money behind him AND the backing of the chairman, although there is only a finite number of former Bolton players he can sign.
Finally, heart stopping survivor and all round attendee at everything that is going on, Fabrice Muamba, took time off from attending the opening of envelopes to have a kick about in Dubai whilst on holiday, he told talent show judge and publisher of fake pictures Piers Morgan over the weekend. As with him selling his story to The Sun, a little bit of me died when I heard that Morgan, a man so lucky Leprechauns rub him, was interviewing him. Whilst it is good news that Fab is able to run around and kick a ball on a beach, it is another thing to take on a forty six match season and nothing has been set in stone yet for any attempt to return to training. But, for all that is holy, would there be any chance for him to now stop showing up at things that he wouldn`t have been invited to if he hadn`t died. People are calling him an ambassador, but the only thing I can see him promoting at the moment is ligging.
And with that, another downbeat ending, we will leave you. Al will be back tomorrow with a Tranmere preview (good timing that as I don`t know what I could say that wouldn`t have to be redacted once Mrs X saw it), and I will be here on Thursday with a report on our victory.