Date: 17th September 2007 at 11:39am
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A sign at the side of the pitch advertised the Co-op`s football funeral service. It seemed appropriate. According to some fans, Bolton`s defeat at Birmingham should signal the end of Sammy Lee`s managerial career.

Even Lee couldn`t find any ‘positives` about the Bolton`s display. Only El Hadji Diouf, Gary Speed and late substitute Daniel Braaten can draw some comfort from their own performances. The rest of the team looked as if they`d rather be somewhere else. In a match devoid of any real quality, only Birmingham showed a willingness to fight for the result.

The most disappointing aspect was Bolton`s reversion to long ball tactics, after encouraging performances against Reading and Everton and it`s here that Lee needs to show some backbone. Sam Allardyce didn`t care what the fans thought. He persisted with a system he thought correct, even in the face of supporters` hostility to it. Of course that has its limits. Bolton`s results have been poor since the New Year and Allardyce`s refusal to change a system that had ceased to work is partly to blame.

However, Lee has abandoned his desire to play a better passing game far too soon. Maybe he`ll survive, maybe he won`t. If it`s the latter then Lee, principled man that he is, will find it difficult to live with himself if he loses his first managerial job because he didn`t have the courage of his convictions.


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