It was inevitable, and it happened at the first opportunity – Bolton were relegated yesterday after their 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa.
While we’ve not technically seen the back of Ken Anderson, Laurence Bassini yet to receive the green light, there seemed to be a symbolic change as the teams walked out, Sweet Caroline and We Will Rock You, songs preferred by the outgoing regime, were ditched. That’s how people in East Germany must have felt when the Berlin Wall came down.
Anyway, onto more important stuff. We tried, and succeeded, in frustrating Villa in the first half. Harry Brockbank was a left-field choice, the youngster starting on the right of a back four, and managed to make a vital clearance off the line. Given the circumstances in which he came in, he had a decent game. Ben Alnwick, back in the side, made some good saves, but David Wheater and Gary O’Neil both had to come off injured.
Eventually, Villa’s pressure was just too much. Jack Grealish finally got going in the second half, and he opened the scoring before Tammy Abraham killed off any thin glimmer of hope, on both occasions undone by crosses. From there it was just a case of waiting for the end of the game and the end of the season as a going concern. At least we haven’t given Blackburn the pleasure of relegating us.
Going forward, it would be useful to try and use the last three games as preparation for next season, if certain players are definitely not going to be there, don’t use them. Some think the manager won’t or shouldn’t be there next season, but it’s hard to see that changing before the current campaign is done.