Brother of Avram.
Well, blow me. You turn your back and the next thing you know there are just three days until we play Stoke City. It seems like only yesterday that I was saying that there were five days to go and now there are just three. Which it was, but I was never good with days of the week. Three days. Three days ago I was writing the West Brom report. We are now more than half way between capitulation and a performance of such lion hearted, chest beating excellence I have goosebumps on my goosebumps.
You have to believe, you see. If you don`t believe, then there is little point in supporting a football club. At the beginning of the season, you believe that your club will do as well as they can, maybe get to the final of a cup competition. You do this despite the pointers to the exact opposite. But who amongst us would have believed nine years ago that the team that who had survived on the last day would go on to reach the club`s highest position in over forty years and get to the final of a cup competition. Mid table security would have done, but they did so much more.
I know we`re all nervous as to what may come and when I saw the rumour that Avram Grant was readying his jowls to take over the good ship Bolton, I almost spat out my well known Muesli. This report has only come from the Serbian press, where Grant is currently leading Partizan Belgrade to league glory, but there are obviously two things very wrong with this story, which has come to you courtesy of the good people at Goal.com. And when I say good, I mean mightily misinformed most of the time.
Number one, Owen Coyle is Phil Gartside`s choice for manager next season, whichever division we play in. Premier League survival or relegation, Owen Coyle will be sitting in T`Reebok dugout come August. Unless of course, he “moves on”, in his own words. The report states that Grant will only take charge of Bolton if we remain in the Premier League. Secondly, this is Avram Grant. Whilst he may have been unlucky to have been fired by Chelsea after reaching the Champions League final, he also led two sides to successive relegations. No amount of success in a sub standard foreign land will clear that blot from his copy book, as funny as it was seeing West Ham go down.
I think even those who want Coyle replaced, when asked “well, name someone to replace him”, would have had to scratch their head very hard before coming up with the name Avram Grant. More would have plumped for a Glenn Hoddle or a Malky McKay. There would be those who would have preferred even Megson or Little Sam to return.
Undoubtedly there will be questions over OC`s future after Sunday if we are to go down. But those questions won`t be over whether he will be fired. He is held in high regard by a lot of people as an up and coming manager and those people will point to the injuries that we have suffered this season as well as the fixtures at the beginning of the season. In effect, OC is fireproof and, if it comes to it, there may be suitors for him from those clubs remaining in the Premier League who may be looking for a new manager. Chris Hughton seems to be the safe bet for the job being vacated by Uncle Roy, but the future of Alex McLeish is under a lot of discussion and anyone who has ever played Football Manager will tell you that Owen Coyle always ends up at Villa Park.
I know that there are a lot of people who may well be willing for this to happen but for the rest of us who still have even a smidgeon of faith in OC it would be hard to take. But we know that he is an ambitious manager, otherwise he wouldn`t have made the upwards step from Tuff Dour to Bolton. A poor season in the Barclays Premier League isn`t going to change that.
Elsewhere, LCY stands ready to make another appearance after his cameo on Saturday, although that amounted to little more than a couple of nice turns and being on the pitch as James Morrison scored the late equaliser. You would think that if things aren`t, God forbid, going our way on Sunday, OC will throw him on to add something to the mix. But only if we really need him. He wasn`t needed last weekend, I don`t care what anyone says, and both in terms of tactics and placement it was a bad move. I`m not saying that anyone else would have made a difference and that West Brom wouldn`t have scored, but if you are intent on holding a lead, then hold it with defensive players, to my mind. Both Alonso or Vela would have been a better option and four days hasn`t changed my mind on that.
At least the major paper in London has told it like it is. No one wants QPR to stay up, excepting QPR fans. It makes a change for everyone to be behind us, but that is what having a player collapsing on a pitch coupled with a QPR having funkmuffins like SWP and Joey Barton playing for them, managed by a man who has an over inflated sense of his own ability.
Right, we will leave it until tomorrow. Ready your Henry V, we may be quoting from it tomorrow.