Date: 23rd February 2010 at 12:06pm
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So Owen Coyle isn`t the messiah after all. He`s not even a naughty boy, just one who has yet to come to terms with the task he`s inherited.

Bolton fans are happiest when they`re at each other`s throats and the small bunch of Megsonistas who remained loyal to the previous manager are now in gloat moat. It wasn`t completely the Ginger One`s fault after all.

So who is to blame? The glove puppet that is Phil Gartside has to take his share of responsibility. Gary Megson should have been removed at the end of last season (as was stated on this site at the time) but the short term view, that he had kept Bolton in the Premier League, was taken. The campaign started badly and it`s continued that way, with a squad that lacks quality in vital areas.

It could be argued that the Bolton chairman`s incompetence stretches back further. Sam Allardyce claims that he left because of a lack of ambition at the club. The big man`s statements are never anything other than self-serving, but he`s right to point out that Gartside and club owner Eddie Davies failed to see that the model which had served the Whites so well was no longer valid.

Having done so much with so little for so long, Allardyce was expected to continue the process. He was denied funds to invest in players and chose to leave. Of course he got that money at Newcastle and spent it poorly, but had he been granted extra resources at Bolton, his departure and the ensuing disruption may have been avoided.

Sammy Lee`s tenure, like the man himself, was short and inconsequential. The supermarket sweep of players, necessary because of a looming European campaign and a too small squad, resulted in the recruitment of individuals unsuited to the Premier League who had to be jettisoned later on.

And so to Gary Megson, unloved and unwanted, at least by the fans. Megson`s puzzlement at the rage he encountered is understandable. He had a brief to keep Bolton in the Premier League and then restructure the club. He succeeded on both counts.

But the man had too many shortcomings to be truly successful in the top flight. His personality didn`t help either – stubborn, insecure and with an appetite for conflict.

A journalist who had dealings with Megson at a previous club, tells of the dual sides of the much travelled manager`s character. A likeable, engaging man much of the time, but prone to rage, even berating the journo by mobile phone as he travelled home from a family funeral. Ivan Campo`s assertion that the players didn`t trust him, suddenly has context.

It`s too soon to be judging Owen Coyle, but initial results and performances are disappointing. Injuries and the poor form of key players are a hindrance. As is a midfield that can never be balanced with the personnel available.

The failure to score in nearly eight and a half hour of league football, coupled with the inability to keep a clean sheet earlier on in the season, leaves virtually nothing to be optimistic about. It shows amongst the players.

So far, Coyle has been cautious. Now he needs to be inspirational. There is usually one side amongst the strugglers who puts together a run to haul themselves out of trouble. If it turns to be Bolton, the man from Paisley will have performed the best managerial feat of his career.

 

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