Date: 11th September 2012 at 4:15pm
Written by:

Go ahead. Make my day.

People confuse the right to have an opinion with the right to have that opinion respected. The latter doesn`t exist. The former does. Ricky Gervais on Twitter today.

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody`s got one. Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in The Dead Pool (1988)

Late last night, as Andy Murray rose, then fell, then rose again, during one of the ad breaks I was having a look at the Vital Bolton Twitter feed. I don`t go on it often, but was having a look to see if anyone new was following or if someone had sent a message. Scrolling down, I saw that Emma Davies, wife of Kevin Davies for the one of you that doesn`t know, had called what is on this site “claptrap”. I sent her a message, thanking her for reading and this morning woke to find that she had replied, offering the critique that what is on this site is poisonous, clueless bile.

Now, it is a well known fact that neither Emma nor myself will lose any sleep over not sharing a coffee at Middlebrook Starbucks. She has nearly 6,000 Twitter followers and I have enough friends. And this article is not going to launch into an anti Emma Davies rant, irrespective of the fact that I do not understand how she can say that this site is claptrap, poisonous, clueless and full of bile whilst, in the same tweet, say that she has never read it, especially as she used the word “claptrap” about four hours after we did yesterday. But that may just be coincidence.

What it got me thinking was, is the negative thinking of sites like this, including the rant yesterday, having a detrimental effect on the team? Do forums continually calling for the manager`s replacement filter through to the players? Do tweets, sent in the immediate aftermath of a defeat, shake the confidence of a group already low on confidence?

I do not believe for one second that any of the players read any of the sites. Those on twitter may reply or retweet the odd tweet, but I do not think that they have the inclination to read any websites, whether what is on them is good or bad.

However, this does not mean that the club doesn`t read them. Mrs Davies` assertion that this site is full of unpleasantness would suggest that, regardless of whether she reads it or not, someone has made her aware of it. The former editor of this site, Richard McCormick, was once called into the oak pannelled office of Phil Gartside and called “an opinion former”. Whilst Owen Coyle said at the Fans Forum that he never read sites, it is a good barometer for staff at the club to get an all round idea about what fans are thinking. This site encourages people to comment on our articles, and we are happy that many do. They give the whole gamut of emotions, from aussiemike upwards. I find, reading back on them, that they are generally well written (the benefits of a classical education) and make salient points.

However, the vast majority of the articles are started with the end point already established and, as the months have gone on, it is true that they have gone from ecstasy, to hope, to despair, to, finally, anger. A bit like bereavement, but with the dead person still actually living. And this reflects the viewpoint of the majority of fans. Whilst it is still a small minority who boo, and this writer has never and will never do that, the number is growing. It would be remiss of us to not reflect this in our articles. And we can`t all be airy fairy, head in the clouds types. At my age, I`ve seen a lot and done a lot and one of those things was stand on the weed infested terraces of Burnden Park in Division Four. I don`t want to go back there. We recognise that there is a problem. To suggest otherwise would suggest that you don`t have the club`s best interests at heart.

This season, amongst those who know, didn`t begin with the expectation that we would run away with the league. However, it did start with the expectation that we would hit the ground running. The pre season showed a team that still had a problem and this has carried on into the games that matter. If it had been suggested at the beginning of the season that twentieth place was where we would end up, the level of expectation would have been very low. However, the club has set its stall out and has said time and again that only promotion will do. Therefore, expectation is high and our current position and style of play result in the current opinions being given. No one would be happier than me if we are to climb the table in the next three games, but nothing has been done so far to suggest that is the case. Therefore, the opinion that you give is one couched in disappointment.

Which brings me to yesterday`s article. Those that read between the lines, or even just read the thing properly, would have discovered that this wasn`t having a go at Kevin Davies but having a go at the club in general as he had to say what he had to say. But fans are tired of the same words having little to no effect on the playing style and are voicing that opinion. This author is a fan first and a blogger second and writing the amount that I do about Bolton Wanderers, you can easily see the same tired lines running through the same tired articles.

The disappointment of yesterday was that our captain and longest serving player was coming out with these heard it all before platitudes. Whilst we are aware that he has to show solidarity with the management, you would have expected there to be something a little more honest about his interview. Surely, the club can give the talisman of the team his own head? Instead, we are now running into repeats of interviews given by players during the Megson era. And we all know how that turned out and what players said once he had gone.

So, do opinions on this and other sites really affect what is going on within the club? Not a bit of it. If that was the case then Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger would have been long gone from their clubs the amount of times that websites have called for their heads. The new media gives people like me and you and Emma Davies the ability to voice their opinion, some more sensible than others. Talking heads on television and radio, phone ins, facebook, twitter. It is never ending. And if you don`t like it, you can just turn off or close down. I tend to do that with the people who ring Stan Collymore

But, whatever you do. If you have an opinion, know what you`re talking about before giving the opinion. Third hand information may have passed through the wrong hands. And suggesting you know what you are talking about when, in fact you don`t, is a skill only very few can pull off. And they`re all in politics.

Just another thought before we go. Yesterday, Jay Spearing joined the ranks of players saying that the team need to cut out the silly mistakes. I now make this the whole first team that have said that over the past eighteen months. Here`s an idea. How about we cut out the interviews about cutting out the silly mistakes?

We`ll be back with something akin to normal, for this site at least, tomorrow. Don`t have nightmares.


13 Replies to “Bolton Wanderers: Opinions Vary”

  • I thought this was a very good, interesting article. Talking about repetitive articles, the line in the BEN, “Sordell has been playing catch-up after missing the majority of pre-season due to his Olympic exploits with Team GB,” has annoyed me, because he would have trained with Team GB and even played in a competitive match, so he won’t have been short of fitness. And he won’t have missed any integration with the squad, because he’s been here since January. As you said in your last article, I don’t want anymore excuses, I just want to see results on the pitch.

  • I think what is really upsetting is that a lot of us have been Bolton fans, through accident of birth or otherwise (or both in my case – like you I started life as a Stretford watcher), for far longer than anybody at the club has been associated with the Whites. I was born in Bolton and have watched them for about 40 years. I get laughed at by my pupils because they support Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, etc; I live in London so I dont get to see the Whites much any more but I followed them around the country for decades. The point is that BWFC is a vital part of my life and I, like you, have every right to an opinion on what is happening at the club; provided, as you say, that it is formulated with a degree of intelligence. The Gervais quote is apposite in that I, you, Aussiemike, Muur and the rest ofthe Vital community do not ask for anyone to read what we write; we write it based on our own viewpoint. If they do choose the contents of blogs they cannot expect them to be universally positive especially (to quote / paraphrase TheManFromTheLandDownUnder) as we have been in freefall for about 18 months. We love this club from the core of our being (ok that’s hyperbolic and melodramatic), to the people at BWFC it’s a job. I am sure Emma Davies is a lovely lady and to me and the rest of us SKD is a Bolton legend, but we are Boltonians and we speak as we find….and what we find is an impending crisis at the club we love. I do not want us playing away at Darlington on a Tuesday night at any time.

  • Negetive comments and booing aren’t helping the team no, but if they where preforming well and winning matches in the first place the negetivity would not be taking place.

  • What is it that’s really changed at our club? Coyle showed up in January 2010 and was doing really rather brilliantly after 12 months at the club:

    Equal 4th most goals scored, a middling if not briliant defensive record, only one defeat at home (to Liverpool), and indeed we were still 6th on March 5th, before 7 defeats in 9 games turned us from European contenders into near-relegation candidates. And that run has continued ever since, culminating in relegation last season and a shocking start to this.

    What’s the cause? Was it Robbie Blake refusing to go to Norwich on loan? Was it Zat Knight’s return from injury? The defeat to Stoke in the FA Cup semi-final? Stuart Holden getting injured against Man Utd? Johan Elmander playing in midfield? Gary Cahill making noises about leaving to play Champions League football? Mikel Alonso’s arrest in his home country?

    It is possible, of course, for all of these things to affect morale, which any sports psychologist will tell you can massively affect performance. But these things aren’t “unlucky.” These things happen, and the responsibility falls at the door of one man to ensure the effect is minimal. That man is Owen Coyle.

    When he had them playing passing football, constantly pressing, movement from every player on the pitch who didn’t have the ball at their feet, bad things still happened off the pitch, but they were old news a few days later – that’s what playing well and winning games generally does to bad news.

    Now that we’ve seemingly reverted to playing almost exactly in the way that Gary Megson would have enjoyed very much and been confused as to why everyone else thought it was awful, pass and move has turned into hoof it and stand still, anything other than a defeat is a surprise and a lead is something to be nervous of rather than pleased about, it is hardly rocket science to understand why is it that the players are shoved in front of the TV and told to make excuses and say nice things. Quite simply, that’s all we have left. That isn’t good enough and, as much as he was a hero to me when I was younger and as much as I like and respect him, that’s Owen Coyle’s fault.

    It’s not too late to fix it. Fine anyone who stands still when one of our players can’t find a decent pass, pick Afobe and Sordell who can’t hold the ball up or head for toffee (so hopefully the ball won’t get hoofed at them), fine anyone who kicks the ball over head height unless it’s a cross, a corner or a goal kick, and reap the rewards of keeping possession of the ball and pressing the opposition back. Defense becomes easy as you spend the game in the opposition half, and when they come at you it isn’t in numbers. Scoring becomes easy as you’re not shooting from 30 yards all the time and the opportunities are plentiful.

    Bolton this season have the best squad the second tier of English football has ever seen. Getting them to play the Megson way is a surefire way of making sure that we don’t end up in the top half.

  • Saturday cannot come quick enough, the problem with the close season and internationa breaks is there is no club football to discuss, and Bolton Fans have been left with a relegation hangover from last year , and a poor start to this. Lets stop talking to the media about anything other than facts , the last match, the next match /opposition. Everyone who needs to know ,realises we need to be promoted, to be frank I dont care how we do it as long as it happens. So no more “Storming the League” or ” Best Squad in the League” which we may be, but we wont have that confirmed until May 2013. OC needs to get a grip and stop making excuses, we can turn this season around, the Championship is described as the most competitive league in the world, which is media speak for a bunch of average teams 15 of which could be promoted. We play Watford on Saturday who I personally have a bone to pick with since the Play Off Final when some Yellow Shirted Prat burst our youngest sons balloon. So Actions speak lounder than words, the team have to deliver on Saturday , and the crowd have to stick with them, No Booing. COYW

  • the article contained thoughful deliberations, FredMadagascar echos the concerns we all share. As a kid standing on the Burnden embankment fired a passion in my heart to support my town team with a pride I hope to carry to my grave.
    I cannot say if Gartside felt the club had reached a watershed when he appointed Coyle, wishing to drive out unsustainable wage demands and excessive transfer fees, Coyle as manager has supported Gartside in this task, both confident they would achieve this while preserving our premiership status and the Sky payments crucial to our financial survival. Both men made the fateful mistake of assuming results would take care of themselves and with it the points needed for our survival, regardless of the obvious detrimental effect to the team shedding our most talented players our highest wage earners. Ironically having failed under cruel circumstances to avoid relegation they have lost the very revenue stream of paramount financial importance to the continued success of our great club , far more important than individual players wages or any transfer fee. Gartside may feel a loyalty to reciprocate the support Coyle has given him, it should not however disguise the fact our sucess as a club is entirely dependant upon nothing other than results, regardless of the Chairman’s agenda the managers position is entirely subject to team performance and results, in this respect Coyle has failed miserably and repeatedly so. Mrs Davies may feel aggrieved with the opinions we express, I care to remind her the interests and preservation of the club remains far more important than the self interests and opinions of the manager, her husband Kevin or any other player. Priorities and loyalties have been misplaced for too long, Mrs Davies should concern herself with her husbands tenuous performances and nothing else.

  • Maybe articles posted on these sites can affect what goes on within a club, but it doesnt mean that what has been said has been said for a reason. People are not maliciously making things up, they are commenting on what is going on and why!

    This old article about depression of footballers was written by a secret footballer (rumoured to be gary speed) writing a column for the Guardian. It would suggest that footballers do read these sites and any negative info about their performance they can find

  • Given that footballers don’t exactly have long hours I would expect that they do read these articles. So if you are a BWFC player reading this, we know what you are capable of, let’s see some of it this weekend, and a kick on to a run of results. Then well see the back of the negative comments.

  • Having read this article, along with the previous one, which I’ve also commented on, the key reason I visit this site is the fact that the content is well written, constructive and heartfelt. We all have our opinions & i feel this site encourages them all to be made. We all care for OUR Club & this site allows us to show that feeling, long may that continue!

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