When your job is on the line, at least try and salvage your reputation
Do I talk about the result? Do you want to hear about the result? Do I talk about the performance? Do you want to hear about the performance? I suspect not. You were there, I know what you witnessed, but I`m obliged to write about it and I suspect you want to forget everything about that performance, result, league position, attitude, endeavour, effort, tactics, line-up?
Did we learn anything new on Saturday against Yeovil at the Reebok? Let me think? Oh, erm, no hang on? What about, erm, no? Ah, the, erm? No, I got nothing. It was the same, lacklustre, devoid of ideas, deprived of confidence performance, which unfortunately has become the norm for Bolton Wanderers supporters. I don`t condone the actions of the two sub-human supposed Wanderers` supporters outside the team bus, but if they pay their money at the turnstiles like everybody else, even they deserve better than what is being served up by the current squad. What am I saying? Of course they don`t. I take that back, they deserve nothing of the sort. But you get my point, I hope.
I know our manager is facing the fire at the minute- literally and figuratively- but I honestly feel sorry for him. Even though I had fond memories of Owen Coyle as a player; two years of steady decline mixed with a plethora of banal rhetoric after every game, eventually eroded my sympathy for his predicament. A predicament in which, Owen Coyle was master and commander. Owen Coyle built that team, Owen Coyle backed that team and Owen Coyle was sacked because of that team. Unfortunately, most of that team is still making stud-marks in the Reebok turf today. Dougie Freedman can`t be blamed for that. Yes, Dougie has brought in players of his own, but unfortunately the Coyle players hanging around are the positions of the field which are responsible for either putting the ball in the net or keeping the ball out of it. Our manager is trying to fix the centre of defence with Coyle`s failures and he`s also trying to get goals out of Ngog at the same time. All this while trying to slash the wage bill even further. I know Jermaine Beckford isn`t the best player to recruit to get the goals. But if Coyle hadn`t spent nearly £10 million on Ngog and Sordell, maybe we could have gotten someone better and the mistake of Beckford wouldn`t have been so glaring.
Now, to the areas which frustrate me about Dougie`s tenure: As I write this, Liverpool are coming out to play Sunderland. While Suarez served out his ban, Brendan Rodgers lined his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Much like how the Whites set up. Or if you prefer a more realistic comparison: how Chelsea line up. Suarez is starting today, so Rodgers has set his team out in a 3-5-2 formation to incorporate his much maligned striker. I know Bolton are no Liverpool and I share Dougie`s sentiment that the 4-4-2 formation is ‘old-fashioned`, but that doesn`t mean that the 4-2-3-1 is set in stone. I don`t know if Rodgers will use the 3-5-2 formation all the time now the Uruguayan front-man is back, but it showed his character and versatility as a manager. Brendan Rodgers is a young manager who doesn`t claim to be the finished article- far from it. But even he doesn`t have a set formation with which he swears by. He`s fluid. He reacts to the situation.
I respect Dougie for his pride in his philosophies. I honestly do. But I`d respect him even more if he`d be flexible in his beliefs. I know he`s still learning his craft, but so is Rodgers. Surely Freedman understands situation, opposition and personnel can influence what team and formation you put out. That`s basic stuff, isn`t it? Dougie has been saying recently that he hasn`t been knocking opposing managers off-guard by not chopping and changing his team of late. Throw everyone off tilt, Dougie and try a new formation. Personally, and this is just me; Yeovil at home when a win is essential would have seen me play a 3-5-2 formation. Throw everything we had- I know that`s not a lot- at them, don`t let them settle and see how it goes. If we lose then, well at least we`ve gone down with our heads held high, rather than leaving the field with our tail between our legs.
If things carry on the way they are, Dougie won`t be sacked for his failures, he`ll be sacked for his stubbornness. One of these is unfortunate, but one is avoidable and if he continues to remain unwavering- even if it still feels like Coyle`s team- he`ll only have himself to blame.
If you`re going out, Dougie, go out with all guns blazing. At least then you`ll leave with some of your reputation in tact.
Who knows, you may even keep us up.