Strange week all round really….
Evening all. Is it just me, but does it feel a bit like the few days between Christmas and New Year right now? We`ve got past one event but are now looking forward to the other. The game on Monday, fast on the way to being sold out, is gearing up to be a celebration of the life of ‘Sir Nat` and will be shown to the football world. With the tributes still coming in, it seems fitting that it is the current champions of England who are coming to The Reebok on Monday night. He doesn`t deserve anything but the best.
I had my first opportunity to go to The Reebok early this morning, virtually as it opened. There was one other person there, tying his scarf around the barriers. To see the tributes, not only from Bolton fans but from City, Rochdale and Blackburn lying on the floor, with words written that showed the affection that football in general had for man, was a humbling experience. I never understood before the need for people to leave mementos, sometimes cherished mementos, to commemorate the life of someone that hardly any of them met. However, looking at old shirts, one with Lofthouse 285, another a 1999 Play Off Final T Shirt, I understand now. Messages written in the condolence book nearly had Mrs X Snr in tears.
Phil Brown was on the Tony Livesey show last night on Five Live. Livesey, a Burnley fan lest we forget, and Phil talked about Nat and how, in the nineties, there was always one constant whenever a player went to a function, and it was Nat. Phil also put forward the notion, and wasn`t the first nor will be the last, that ‘Sir` Nat should be given a posthumous knighthood. It is a travesty that he wasn`t when he was alive. Just a note though that Billy Wright, Nat`s England captain, wasn`t knighted either. Beckham? Pah.
And before I get off the subject, the official website may be many things, mostly a glorified advertisement for things you don`t need, but they have really come up trumps with their tribute site. The only word I can think of is ‘fitting`.
Of course, life goes on and we are in the middle of a transfer window. Some wag suggested that Shaun Wright-Phillips may be on his way to T`Reebok on loan, This was quickly shot down by St Owen. I understand the thinking on SWP, he is quick, skilful and, thanks to South Korea`s 4-1 smacking of India this afternoon, we are still light one right winger. The problem with players that Citeh are looking to farm out is their massive wages. John Terry`s ex best mate is on £90K per week at West Ham and this after the Porn Kings of Dagenham criticised the previous regime at Upton Park about stupid money being spent on wages. SWP will be on a lot and a lot we can`t afford. I don`t fancy that we are looking at right wingers anyway. Rodrigo came on on Saturday and caused Stoke problems, causing a mystery as to why he didn`t start in the first place. One first choice, one back up, is all you need in a twenty five man squad.
Which leads us neatly into the on-off-on again David Wheater transfer. Boro asked for £3million, we said no. Apparently we have now reached the “compromise” figure of £2.5million, which is what we were paying anyway. I repeat that I`m not sure that Wheater is the answer to the question of who will step into Gary Cahill`s boots come July, if he goes. Besides, he now reminds me of that picture that comes to life in Ghostbusters II. However, as a back up in the AOB mould, I have no problem. Is £2.5million a good bit of business for what is ostensibly a Championship defender? I`m still not convinced. Gary Cahill is only priced at £15million because he is English, the same way that Darren Bent is only worth £18million for the same reason. So ask yourself this question. What would David Wheater be worth if he was called Davide Wheater?
Now you remember Fat Mike? I don`t know what Nat`s opinion of him was, but I do know what most Bolton fans think of him and someone as far removed from our greatest player you couldn`t imagine. You will recall that Fat Mike got himself into a spot of bother with plod in Hale last year. Yesterday at Trafford Magistrates he was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 150 hours` unpaid work, fined £200 and ordered to pay £85 costs. The money won`t be a problem for the “unemployed” footballer, but I think you`ll find that will be the most work he has done in the past year. Let`s hope those training sessions with Big Sam before Christmas included leaf sweeping.
Thank you, I`m here all week. Including tomorrow.