Date: 21st September 2009 at 5:18pm
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‘Am I bovvered? Look at my face, does it look bovvered?`

Ok, Gary Megson didn`t quite go that far, but after his latest post-match outburst it would be no surprise if he morphed further into Catherine Tate. Meanwhile the PR attempts to deflect attention from the miserable efforts of the team onto the fans continue. Gary Cahill is the latest recruit to be roped in.

‘It`s weird, I try and block it out and do what`s got me to where I am now,` he told the Bolton News, referring to a first half in which fans booed and slow handclapped.

‘But sometimes it`s hard for some of the players to do that. There is stuff going on off the pitch and maybe players are a bit quicker to move the ball on, whereas they might have taken a touch or got at players.`

Cahill`s words are moderate and a good way from the scathing attack on the supporters that the town`s newspaper has tried to portray, but they still have the whiff of ‘it weren`t my fault guv` to them.

Criticism has focused on the manager, but the players need to take a good look at themselves too. Whites fans don`t expect Champagne football. They do demand desire and commitment, and that was lacking on Saturday, not for the first time.

The goal that Bolton conceded was a prime example. Cahill competed poorly in the air with Ricardo Fuller and Sam Ricketts was turned easily by Dave Kitson. But if Zat Knight had rushed to cover his defensive colleague, he could have intercepted the ball. Instead, he jogged back at his leisure and Kitson had a free run on goal. It`s typical of the lack of cohesion amongst the defence.

A seat in the upper stand areas cost £28 against Stoke, a season ticket as much as £449. That compares favourably to most other Premier League clubs, but it still isn`t cheap. Top flight footballers, for who such amounts are loose change, might well consider that before attacking those who turn out week after week.

Bolton fans can be as good as any in the league. Those who travelled to Middlesbrough and Spurs, the season before last, when the club was in much worse shape will testify to that. But they have to have a reason to be that way.

The point of no return between Gary Megson and the supporters was passed some time ago. But that doesn`t apply to those who wear the shirt. The relationship can be rebuilt, but not by feeding the hacks of the tabloid press, or relying on the lap dog tendencies of the Bolton News. Leadership must come from on the pitch. That, and an admission by the senior players that the fans have a legitimate cause for complaint.

 

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