Big Phil’s got a list. You’re not on it…
During an international break, with no England players to worry about, when it comes to writing about Bolton Wanderers, you generally have to scratch around, elongate stories about the club cat going for a walk or generally make stuff up. The articles usually look like the essays you used to write at school, when your teacher told you that in the introduction you tell them what you’re going to write, then you write it, then in the conclusion you tell them what you’ve written.
Luckily, we don’t have to do that during this international break, as we’ve fired our manager. Maybe this could be a new thing to appease the literally six Bolton Wanderers fan sites. Get to an international break and fire the manager. Give us something to write about. Don’t worry about it not doing anything for stability. That’s not the issue.
As today progressed, managers were in and managers were out. Odds lengthened and shortened in much the same way that shadows do. A bald man from an impoverished club suddenly leapt in the rankings, soaring like a salmon to take his place amongst the top three favourites, whilst a dour Yorkshireman with grey hair and an even greyer demeanour was told that he wasn’t even on the shortlist. Or long list. Or even shopping list.
It is strange that a man with a track record like Mick McCarthy isn’t even being considered by the club but his non inclusion on the list of possible managers that Phil Gartside is currently grapsing in his hot little hand in one fell swoop limits the managers that we are going for to ‘anyone born after 1965ish’. Not that there were many managers born before that that Bolton fans were expecting. It does, however, get rid of any notion of Glenn Hoddle or Graeme Souness coming.
Michael Appleton’s sudden appearance at the top of the betting charts is a surprise. Whilst he is doing a job holding Portsmouth together with some sticky backed plastic and chewing gum, this doesn’t necessariy mean he is the man for the job. He cobbled together a team and beat us 3-0 in pre season, but the credit for that victory must go to the seventeen donkeys that lined up in a Bolton shirt that day. There is nothing to suggest that he would bring anything to the Bolton party, so best left alone in my opinion. He will, naturally, now be apppointed.
Rumour and counter rumour is rife. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pulled out of a speaking engagement in London because he was ill in Norway, despite being seen in the UK on Monday, like there is only one direct flight between Heathrow and Oslo per week. Big Phil was known to be in London this week with his list so people have put two and two together and come up with any number you want that isn’t four. Personally, if he is throwing a sickie to meet Gartside, then he obviously isn’t trustworthy, so forget him. Those people who have said that the fact that football in Norway doesn’t exactly pull up trees when it comes to continental football have a point, but he still seems to me to be a better bet than any other of the names linked with the job. Unless you include Billy Davies.
Di Canio has said that he is flattered to be mentioned in dispatches, before saying that no one has been in contact. And you would expect the phone in the manager’s office at Swindon to remain unrung from any number beginning 01204. I’m not saying that there is any difference between Di Canio’s credentials and Solskjaer’s, but there is just something so inherently unlikable about the Italian and likeable about the Norweigan. As I said yesterday, someone someday will take a punt on the former, but I just don’t expect it to be Bolton. Naturally, I have no basis for this assumption, only the fact that whenever I think of him sitting in the right hand dugout at T’Reebok, I get a shiver down my spine. And I only get bad shivers down my spine. Like Spiderman.
So, it’s still the baby faced assassin for me. You’ll probably have your own view. But, whatever the view, we are now three days into the process. The last two managers have been appointed eight days after the previous incumbent were fired. So, on that basis, what are you doing next Wednesday?
Right, I’m off for a 3:30am lunch. I’ll see if I can raise Al from the dead and will see you after the weekend.