Bolton Seal Relegation........

Thursday, 25 October 2007

For those of you who like a flutter...get down to the bookies to and put your whole life savings on the Trotters to get relegated at the end of the season. NOW.

There have been some baffling and dubious decisions in recent times. The invasion of Iraq, Britney Spears deciding to have children and Chris Langham being appointed as the head of the NSPCC (ok I made that up). Well to that list, you can add the decision by Phil Gartside to appoint Gary Megson as manager of Bolton Wanderers, who are currently languishing bottom of the Premier League.

Gary Megson had been manager of Leicester City for about 6 weeks, during which time he won one game and produced football so bad that Leicester fans are grateful for his departure. As soon as rumours surfaced that Gartside was interested in appointing the Ginger One, Bolton fans have been voicing their concerns on radio phone ins, Internet forums and on TV. However, Gartside completely ignored this to have Megson in place for Sunday's game against Aston Villa.

So why has his appointment left the Trotters fans hope of Premiership survival in tatters?

Before his brief spell at Leicester, Megson could not halt Nottingham Forest's slide into League One and there was unable to muster a successful promotion challenge. He had disputes with players and didn't share the greatest relationship with the fans. His first managerial post since his spell at West Brom was an undisputed failure.

No one can deny that his spell at the Baggies was a success and pretty much his only success in his managerial career. In his first season he saved them from relegation and the next season he guided them to the play offs on a shoestring budget. The following season he went one step further and took West Brom into the Premiership for 18 years following a stunning late run to edge out Wolves. During this time he had a tempestuous relationship with the chairman Paul Thompson. However, the fans loved Megson and proclaimed his "Sir Gary". His relationship with the Chairman reached total breakdown and Thompson left. The fans didn't really care, as in their eyes the most important man had stayed.

Relegation from the elite was inevitable and despite having little money to spend, Megson was show to be tactically inept and his ultra defensive tactics made sure that WBA were relegated with a whimper.

He managed to secure an immediate return to the Premiership. However, given a hefty budget to spend which allowed him to secure the likes of Kanu, Greening and Earnshaw he was unable to convince the new Chairman that he could get the results which would keep West Brom in the Premiership. He left after saying he would not renew his contract at the end of the year, but this was largely done to cover up the fact he had lost the respect of the dressing room, something which he admitted after his final match in charge, a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Crystal Palace. His position had become untenable.

Megson's reputation throughout the game is pretty terrible, his man management of players extremely suspect, and his brand of football tedious. Megson was a journeyman midfielder and the teams which he has managed so far mirror his playing style. His teams play with extreme caution, rely on being organised, on working hard and nicking a goal and holding onto it. This is fine if you are winning matches, but if you are not then watching his sides play should be compared to one of the worst forms of torture.

Megson once managed a team that I support. I never really sat near the dugout but one game I did and it wasn't one of the most pleasant experiences I have had. His foul mouth tirades during the game were unbelievable and he had no hesitation in pillorying any of his own players if they made a mistake near him.

I remember when one player made a mis-placed pass. Megson's reaction?

"Go and fucking get it back then"

It should be interesting to see how the likes of Nicolas Anelka react to that sort of instruction.

Megson had fallings out with Jason Koumas, Sean Gregan and Baggies Cult Hero Richard Sneekes, who at his prime was an outstanding goalscoring midfielder.

Sneekes later said that Megson's training sessions and style of football made him "fall out of love with football". High praise indeed for the Ginger One.

In his first season in the top flight with the Baggies, the Nigerian player Udeze made a mistake in a game and his hesitation resulted in the opposition scoring and the Baggies slumping to a 1-0 defeat. Megson's reaction at half time? Rumour has it that he spent the whole break screaming at Udeze, lambasting his error and almost had the poor lad in tears. It was reported that many senior players had to step in to quell the dispute.

In his earlier days as Stockport manager, Megson's side were performing so badly in a game that he gave the half time team-talk on the pitch, in order to humiliate the players. This sort of management may work in the Sunday League, but in the Premiership? I don't think so. I have yet to hear one glowing reference from any player that Megson has managed.

He struggles to manage players with talent, Jason Koumas being a typical example. It's almost as if he gets jealous that these players have more talent than he did as a player, and by banishing them to reserves he gets a massive boost to his ego. Koumas was one of Megson's most talented players, but he would often struggle to get into the West Brom side ahead of players like Andy Johnson (not the one at Everton). Don't be surprised if he sells Nicolas Anelka in January and replaces him with Geoff Horsfield. I'm not even joking.

It is unclear as to why Gartside thinks Megson can save Bolton this season. Although he was managing a relatively poor team his win percentage of 15% in the Premiership hardly inspires confidence(though it is more than Martin Jol's this season) and his style of football will have attendances at the Reebok diminishing at a rapid rate. In an era when fans are paying more than ever for their football the least that they want is a smidgen of entertainment, which Bolton are not going to get.

In his last game, Megson lost at home to Sheffield United. In a couple of weeks, he will be taking on Bayern Munich. He should enjoy it while he can as next year he could be well looking at fixtures against the likes of Scunthorpe and Blackpool.


1 Responses:

Trotter at heart Says:

Agree with every word mate. It's the worst decision ever made by a premiership chairman, and I say that without a hint of melodrama (ok, maybe a little). The man is proven to be useless and what's more he's a twat to boost. Sammy Lee may have been inept, but he was likable in an overly-excited, 'thought I'd been caught stealing sweets but instead I've been put in charge of the whole shop' kind of way. I guess we had our time in the sun, back to mediocrity we go ... for that we're going to need at least a mediocre manager, which'll be a step up from where we are now.