Look, don’t mention Europe. I may have mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.
Evening all. I write this whilst watching the Blackpool v Chelsea game, the biggest mismatch since Ashley Young v Staying On His Feet.
As any amateur comedian will tell you, Bolton have probably got two hopes of getting into Europe. Bob Hope and No Hope. Sixth place will open up if, and only if, two teams already qualified for Europe get into the FA Cup final, but seeing as how we’ll be knocking one of them out come Saturday lunchtime and another one will have to go at Old Trafford, that looks unlikely. And even if it does, the Scousers are in the driving seat, thanks to the United defence’s inability to stand on it’s line and block off Dirk Kuyt.
We can of course get to the final and win it, or play one of our Greater Manchester cousins or Arsenal and lose it. But as the press think the only way to save the FA Cup is to have a United v Citeh final, and screw the nostalgia trip if Nat Lofthouse’s club get into the final in the season he died, you can bet we’ll be one of the cold balls, alongside Stoke/West Ham, come next Sunday, which will aim to keep the Mancunian ‘giants’ apart.
Three years after Lisbon, Bolton fans are chaffing to get back into Europe, to, as Sam Beckett did, put right what once went wrong. So we dream. And keep on dreaming.
The fact that with nine games to go, we are seventh, two points behind Dalglish’s resurgent Liverpool, has given St Owen Coyle reason to bring out the old ‘concentrating on the league’ quote:
‘Talk of Europe has never left my lips. If that scenario was to come about it is something you would give consideration to. But at this moment in time it has not.’
I dare say that he will find an ally in Tony Kelly, but if you ask any Bolton fan if their plans extend to thinking about trips to deepest Ukraine next autumn, a whistful smile will fall over their mouth, before muttering something about Sheffield Wednesday’s manager, spitting on the floor and then telling you that they would love it.
And why not. Out of the last ten games, at least seven of them are doable. Following our dumping of them out of the cup, we travel back to St Andrews in early April to do the same again. West Ham follow that at home (‘cry at The Reebok etc…), before going back to Craven Cottage, where we’ve already won this season. Two weeks later we go to Blackburn, who have a team that appears to be being picked by chicken farmers, before Sunderland at home which is never easy, but with an attacking side shouldn’t be a problem. By the time we travel to Blackpool in mid May, they will have been relegated and will be so gung ho in their last home Premier League game, we’ll score six.
That leaves United away, and everyone’s beating them at the moment, Arsenal at T’Reebok (probably the trickiest game) and Citeh at home in the last game, by which time they will already be looking towards next season after imploding as per.
As West Ham proved last week, Liverpool are not this juggernaut, trampling over everyone with King Kenny sized boots on their way to the Premier League title 2011-12. They’ve always raised their game against United, so it was no great shock to see them outdo a United team that had Gary Cahill’s England back ups in central defence and a couple of geriatrics in midfield. And Scholes and Giggs. They’ve still got hard games coming up, having to play Citeh and Spurs at home as well as Arsenal away.
Trust the X. I say that Bolton can get back into Europe, either by FA Cup or League. Or be justly proud of getting as far as we have eighteen months after teetering on the brink of The Championship. Not that we’ll get any respect for it. Still, at least Peter Reid stuck another nail in this idea that Sheffield Wednesday’s manager was hard done by over the weekend.
Now, let’s talk drums. If you’ve been following me on Twitter (@QuentinX…with extra swear words, although it’s not big nor clever) you will know that at times I get a little bit peeved by the musicians down the bottom of the North Stand. As Baldrick once wrote ‘BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM’. Is there a man, woman or child amongst us who think that these guys, last seen on Saturday smiling for the cameras with their feet up before reminding themselves what they were there for, add one iota of difference to the atmosphere at the ground?
The Reebok, like all new or redeveloped grounds, can be quite quiet at times and if the fans aren’t going to be singing away or dancing their little feet off as another Winter Hill blast comes down off the moors, they aren’t going to do it when some Dave Grohl wannabe wants to warm his hands. Nevermind.
Now, let’s talk in form strikers. What are the chances, you ask, of Danny Sturridge being included in any England squad before he returns to Chelsea? I refer you to the earlier mentioned, English born US vaudeville star of stage and screen.
Until tomorrow, who’s driving this car, Stevie Wonder?