Date: 13th June 2012 at 2:30pm
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No Zat Knight news appears to be bad news. Plus, will the team next season really be better than last season’s. We investigate.

Good day. I know, three articles in a row. You’d have thought there was some news. At least, some good news. Like, I don’t know, Zat Knight leaving the club. On Darren Pratley’s back. In a car driven by Phil Gartside.

But no. Nothing of the sort. Indeed, if anything is to be read into yesterday’s report on the Bolton News, it would appear that, due to his ‘good relationship’ with the backroom staff at T’Reebok, he is erring towards the side of signing a new contract.

This will be the backroom staff that, for all the bluster of OC saying later that next season’s team will be better than last season’s, of which more later, is the same backroom staff that took us down. Davis. Stewart. Hughes. The same backroom staff. An awful backroom staff.

So it all fits really. Zat Knight cannot ever be described as a great defender and his relationship with a backroom staff that most fans would be glad to see supplemented by someone, anyone, better is said to be the reason why he may re-sign. A conspiracy of epic proportions, with insider dealing not seen since the appointment of Gary Megson.

The offer of a new contract should not be based on how well someone gets on with backroom staff otherwise Sir Nat would have been playing for us until the day he died. It should be based on performance, something in which Knight has been severely lacking throughout his Bolton career. It’s not even as if we need his seniority as, despite the talk of reducing the average age of the squad, three first teamers are over the age of thirty and four others are in their late twenties. It is understandable that the club want to reduce the outlay on transfer fees, and re-signing Knight would mean that the club wouldn’t need to look in the direction, but it should never be to the detriment of the teams performance. Knight playing any more games for Bolton, based on previous experience, would do that.

There are plenty of young Premier League defenders who would jump at the chance of a season long loan at Bolton, given the success that we had with Wilshere and Sturridge. The club should look to this, given that David Wheater will return at some point, unless the pins in his leg come loose, poke out of skin and stab him in the eye. We could get a highly fancied kid from The Arse or Citeh (not Boyata, that ship has sailed), and look at where we are in January. Without wanting to go on about it until I am blue in the face, which is not a good look, this club does not need Zat Knight. I would be surprised to find anyone that would think we ever did.

Excepting Owen Coyle, the man who is wanting Knight to stay. And this is the man who believes that we will have a better team next season than this, doing a disservice to the likes of NRC and Ivan Klasnic who, for all their contract releases and general laziness respectively, did do SOME good for the team last season.

The return of Stuart Holden and LCY will obviously be ‘like new signings’, and there is scope to bring in new players, but whether or not they will be of a Premier League standard remains to be seen. Those players that were released other than the above two were of a peripheral nature at best and hardly figured in the first team after Christmas, Steinsson being the notable exception. So, take NRC and Klasnic out and put Holden and LCY in and we are in a slighlty, only slightly, better position than we were last year. However, SKD is another year older, David Wheater will be out for half the season, N’Gog has yet to prove that he doesn’t use a barn door as target practice, Muamba has a defibrillator inside his chest and we still have Darren Pratley. It’s hardly Barcelona is it?

There are the kids like Sordell, Riley, O’Halloran and Eaves whilst FIFA can’t stop Gregg Wylde playing for us come August. But it is still difficult to find the reasoning in which OC comes to this conclusion. We have hope and optimism, as any relegated team have, but looking at it through dispassionate eyes, there really is nothing to suggest on what he bases this argument on.

There are games where I`ve looked and thought ‘this or that could have happened` but in terms of how we went about it, working our socks off, then I don`t know what else we could have done.

Naturally there are games where we ‘worked our socks off’ but to count them you wouldn’t need three hands. Swansea home and away, Wigan at home, Fulham at home and the two sloppy goals in the last minutes against West Brom cost us. Knowing that only a win would do against Stoke didn’t exactly have the players coming out of the blocks. Yes, there were issues with players but everyone and anyone could see that at times substitutions were muddled and too late, formations and selections were wrong. So, OC is either exceptionally self deluded or blind to his own limitations last season.

It is talk like this that has people turning against the manager and he does himself no favours trotting out the same excuses. At the end of the season, regardless of injuries and fixture lists and the like, you end up where you deserve to be. We are in the Championship and we deserve to be there like the other twenty three clubs. What people like me would like is a bit of introspection and culpability, not deflection.

And would there be any chance of someone, anyone, saying ‘sorry’, as, again, there is no mention of it here.

Still, at least we can cheer ourselves up with the fact that 11,000 people have bought season tickets, a figure up from this time last season. Price freezes and early purchase discounts have done well for the club in the past and have proved to have done so again. It is a remarkable figure considering and does show a large amount of good faith amongst the faithful. Plus, you get more bang for your buck next season and we will be visited by some exotic teams that haven’t taken the trip up the A666 or M61 for some time. It’s just like 2001 all over again.

And, with the news that people are reporting that Jussi may have signed for our former feeder, now parent, club, we will leave you for today. If we all chant, Knight Out, Knight Out over and over again, the club may get the message.

After three. 1…………..2…………..3


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