Date: 22nd September 2013 at 12:37pm
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When times are tough, there’s only one man’s words will do

The much maligned views of aussie mike must now be resonating with all Bolton supporters. These are dark days, people and at times like these, only one man has the rhetoric to describe our plight.

I normally say enjoy, but…

I have said it many times; Phil Gartside is an accountant by profession. He has continually failed to provide the club with the talent needed; players and team managers to take the club forward or maintain the standard required to protect and secure our future.

Inside the 14 + years he has been chairman in excess of £650 million has been squandered with nothing to show for it beyond what we now witness: a first team of questionable talent, unable to put a single good performance together and a manager devoid or bereft of the ability to do just that.

As for the decisions taken on the players the club has engaged and those they released, its clear the judgements applied have failed spectacularly. Less than 2 years ago we gambled over £10 million on N’Gog and Sordell (fees & wages) neither of which has made any meaningful contribution; A shocking reflection of the incompetence of those in control at the club.

We now operate under austerity measures introduced by Gartside that make Greece appear affluent. Measures that by their very nature can never attract the talented players the club needs. Policies that both Owen Coyle and Dougie embraced are failing badly and were always destined to fail. Cutting the wage bill, placing reliance on average youngsters from the academy were never anything other than a mask to cover up the chairman’s incompetence.

At best, Gartside hoped to put the brakes on our slide and stop the financial bleeding, however, the reality is you can only ever achieve that by bringing in genuinely talented players and for that you have to spend money in order to get the right lads. I expect the talented managers interviewed when Coyle was sacked told Gartside exactly that. Of course, knowing the money was gone he wanted to enforce his own cost-cutting agenda and refused to see it derailed,
Freedman- due to his lack of experience- was prepared to go along with it. Maybe he thought, if it fails so what, I am getting £1,500,000 for trying, regardless of the disruption and damage cost-cutting might have on the players already at the club.

We now see the futility of this wisdom. I for one object to seeing those in control deliver nothing but continual abject failure. Sure, if we beat Yeovil as expected next weekend, many will use it as the excuse they have been waiting for to claim things are now getting better; we have turned a corner? the truth suggests otherwise. They simply wish to keep the mirage alive rather than admit their own mistakes and failings. We have been conned and it will continue.

Sadly, I don’t see any cure on the horizon.


6 Replies to “BWFC Guest Article: The Demise In A Nutshell.”

  • I wouldn’t be too sure that we’ll beat Yeovil! Harry says they will give anyone a game. So, that will definitely include us! I can’t see the present squad lighting up the division unfortunately, but remember what the signing of one player last season, did for our confidence. It may be odious to compare Bolton to the great Man U, but the principle is the same. I would argue that until Fergie signed Cantona, he was going nowhere. His team was not really that successful. I still believe that he showed them the way forward. Now, I’m not advocating signing Cantona MK 2, but one or two exceptional players at Championship level, can make a huge difference to the team’s ability to win and consequently gain more confidence. That’s what Dawson did for us. He was our talisman. We knew he probably wouldn’t be coming back, but did we watch, listen and learn…..No!..Whatever good he did. Whatever good advice he gave and what he showed by his ability, presence and composure on the field, has not been built on. It’s as though he was never with us. Surely, the manager and players must have learned something from the experience. We keep berating the manager, and that’s fair enough to some extent, but he’s not working in a vacuum. What about his assistant and other coaches, how much influence have they brought to bear? They have oodles of experience between them. And what are the scouts up to? Can they not find a striker or a couple of good defenders to sign. Or is it simply as Mike keeps saying, that PG has permanently put the brakes on!…Who knows! But we’ll get out of this, I’m convinced. Just don’t ask me when!

  • Thank you Mike; a very eloquent and cogent article. As regards PG I can only assume that ED is either a very patient man indeed or a wholly disinterested owner. I further assume that he is not in the Abramovich mould of hands-on owner. I say assume as I am on the outside looking in and have no sources for these assumptions other than observation and intuition. What this means, as you have vehemently argued for years, is that it is PG who is ultimately culpable for the shocking demise of the club we love and one that was playing in Europe a few short seasons ago. In our relegation season from the BPL we started with a horrific fixture schedule from which we garnered precious few points; we also lost our one true quality player, Stuart Holden. A precedent for our current position you may ask. To my eyes it is not, other than that we have again lost Holden. This season we have not lost to the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea; we have lost to Forest, QPR, Blackburn and Brighton. Talk of Yeovil is, to me, rather an irrelevance. Of course we should beat them every time but the way we are playing there is no guarantee that it will happen next Saturday. Should we do so it will be scant cause for celebration and will simply be a papering over the cracks; unless we put about 20 past them and play like 1970’s Brazil! We are witnessing a bi-weekly display of almost total incompetence from a group of players on both an individual and team level. They seem capable of playing well for short periods, sometimes even entire halves, but incapable of either sustaining it or capitalising on it in the form of goals. We get lots of shots off but I can only presume that in training they use goals that are 30 feet wide and 30 feet high and they are only allowed to shoot from 10 feet outside the penalty area. Eagles 1, Baptiste 2, Pratley 2, OG’s 1. 6 goals in 8 games. Midfield beating defence 3-2 with even OG’s doing better than of our strikers. Brighton only had 2 shots on target yet still beat us 3-1! David Lopez has now scored more goals for Bolton than our entire strike force have managed in 8 games! This is not an especially new phenomenon. Last season Eagles top scored with 12; the strikers mustered 22 in total (Ngog 8 from 31 games). The year before Klasnic top scored with 8; strikers 17 (Ngog 3 from 33). The one before that SKD bagged a whopping 18 with the strikers between them notching 33 times. Altogether, since the start of the 2010/11 season our strike force have scored 72 goals from 130 games; this equates very nearly to a paltry 1 goal every other game. To finally nail the answer to the “Is Ngog really that awful?” question, he has found the onion bag 11 times in 71 games; not perhaps what we are looking for in a centre forward. And particularly one we paid good money we could probably ill afford for. Craig Davies is over half way to matching his record having played a handful of games off the bench and having been with us for about 10 minutes. (Part 1 of several)

  • To establish my credentials for commenting on this facet of our game, I played cr*p football in the lower reaches of London Sunday leagues and vets teams until the age of 52; I was mainly a centre back but also a centre forward when we had a surfeit of CB’s and I once notched 19 times in a season playing mostly at CB. So I know about this footy mullarkey! The point is, goals win
    games and we don’t score enough of them. And I haven’t even mentioned Beckford. I don’t want to endlessly analyse our current playing roster man-by-man; we have a pretty average squad but it is mostly no worse than our competitors. Perspective can be provided by names such as Okocha, Campo, Djorkaeff, Hierro, Gardner, Anelka, etc who have donned the shirt in recent years; quality we can only now dream of. What we have is a squad of journeymen, most of them honest, if limited, footballers plying a trade for which they have a talent and for which they are handsomely remunerated. They are, however, not playing to their potential. They do not look like they have a plan out on the park other than Plan A; they lack leadership and are inevitably demoralised. This is not PG’s fault; this is the man who has had the responsibilty devolved to him, namely DF. That his training methods, planning, motivational skills and opponent analysis are currently found wanting must ultimately lie with him. The problem is that the club also employs an army of coaches who do the nitty
    gritty with the cones and the bibs and the whiteboards. Perhaps this is where the problem truly lies. Douglas presumably has a vision, on a game-by-game basis and a seasonal one. This he must convey to the coaches who action it on the training pitches; I am suggesting that this could well be where the problem lies. We can’t afford to sack Douglas, either financially or from the point of view of making the club look like Blackburn. Maybe, therefore, we should be looking at changing the backroom staff who have day-to-day involvement with the players. Rather than argue whether Knight, Wheater, Baptiste, Mills, Ream or my mum should be at centre back, we should have all of them trained to play there if called on (even my mum). Mind you my mum is 80! I have to say Mike that figure of £650m is quite staggering and Mike, I hope you are proud of yourself – you were right all along!!!

  • I know it’s early in the season and we can’t even yet apply Mike’s 10 games test but I am seriously worried about us doing the same as the other Wanderers. I have said it before but I really don’t want to have to go to Wrexham ever again! With or without the added bonus of Robbie Savage’s arse (no, not that Robbie Savage – the original and genuine one!)

  • dear Fred, I am not proud of anything I have written, I just say things as I see them, at the end of the day I want what we all do, at team that reflects the heritage of our great club, one that we feel proud to support through good times and bad, regardless of the league we are in. We all gaze at the fantastic statue of Nat Lofthouse outside the ground and what we then witness inside the ground out on the pitch is an affront to his memory, it is absolutely shameful and nothing short of a disgrace. I would hope that PG, DF and all the players hang their heads in shame when passing alongside Sir Nat as they come and go from the ground – they certainly do not have the right to look him in the eye, the great man must be turning in his grave. I know todays players live in a financial bubble and the contracts they sign, ensuring guaranteed income regardless of playing or performance, may transpire to demotivate those who are happy to take the money and do no more than go through the motions, it remains for senior management to weed these types out and get rid, good management would make sure they are not taken on in the first place. I asked an ex pro earlier today what he thought the problem was down at the Reebok and his thoughts are not dissimilar to our own, we ploughed over several topics that are regularly aired on here, he did mention one subject that stuck out and that was the bad tactics that seem to be applied in modern coaching ” in my day we were told to always man mark, keep on your opponents shoulder, let them know your there, close them down – it gives them something to worry about and knocks them out of their stride ” he thinks we give opponents far too much space and he also thinks many of the players are lazy, quote – ” half the team come of the pitch at the end of a game without ever breaking into a sweat ” something that was unheard of in his day. As for our strikers he thinks they are simply bad players not worthy of pulling on the shirt. I came away thinking he endorsed the fact half the team are lazy, half are just bad players and the management don’t have a clue when it comes to tactics. Enough said.

  • Most players from the past, no matter how talented couldn’t live with today’s professionals. The game is much faster now and played on excellent surfaces. I think it’s wrong to try and compare past and present. It’s almost like criticising today’s kids when they get their 13 A*!….”It was much harder in my day!” Well, it was certainly different! You can’t tell me that people like Chungy and Spearing Pratley and Tierney, just to mention a few, don’t give 100%, every game. Seriously, we are just short of two or three players at the most to improve matters. And we have to find them! What is aggravating is the money wasted on players that most fans wouldn’t touch with a barge pole! The Ngog’s, Beckford’s, Mills’ and Sordell’s! And now we are stuck with them! Most of them are Coyle’s fault. He signed them with PG’s blessing!

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