Gary Megson Is Unloved and Unwanted

Well you’ve got to hand it to him, Gary Megson must have the thickest skin in professional football. I’ve seen him barracked by his own fans at 4 different clubs over the years and that’s some going, even in the fickle world of the football supporter. At a Nottingham Forest game, I saw fans come to blows trying to get to him, at Leicester I saw a fan throw his season ticket at him in his 3rd game in charge. At Bolton he famously finished last in an online poll with 1.7% of the vote behind A.N Other before being announced as manager.

It’s a weird situation when this kind of vitriol follows someone around throughout their career and he’s continually knocked noses out of joint wherever he’s been. Even as a player, whilst highly regarded, Brian Clough was disgusted with his pre-match ritual of throwing up before playing, so much so that he sold him on after only 4 months.

With the exception of the Leicester City job, out of his 8 managerial positions, he’s been sacked from 4 and resigned from 2. The two he left freely were Blackpool and Nottingham Forest, though for his own safety, I think he did well to get out of the City Ground alive. It’s the one thing that astounds me about managers, that whilst I appreciate the mangers success can only be as good as the tools at his disposal, why do so many bad managers keep getting work.

Now it may seem churlish to label Megson as a bad manager, but there is no doubting he is unpopular wherever he goes, with the exception of West Bromwich Albion. Albion were on a slippery slope when he came in and he got them in to the Premiership and they’ve been yo-yoing back and forth ever since, but good lord he plays awful football and that’s where the problem lies. My biggest criticism of him as manager of Bolton is his over reliance on the long ball game and consistently negative outlook.

The constant arguments between Megson and the Bolton fans took a new twist the other day when he said “We’re not Real Madrid”. I don’t think any Bolton fan is under the delusion that they expect the team to play as if they were, but surely Megson could try and pacify the fans rather keep coming out with statements that seem to deliberately antagonise them. With the players he has at his disposal, it’s not too far a jump for them to play football now and again.

The nucleus of a good side is there, with the likes of Matty Taylor, Sean Davis, Johan Elmander, the underrated Jussi Jaakelainen & Kevin Davies and Gary Cahill. Yet the negativity of the fans is beginning to drive a wedge between everyone at the Reebok Stadium. Did the Sam Allardyce reign give them a false level of optimism?

Some Bolton fans have never forgiven Megson for playing a reserve side in their biggest game for 50 years in the UEFA Cup. Megson’s idea was to rest the players for a Premier League game against Wigan the Sunday after, which they ironically lost.  That game against Sporting Lisbon was the high point of some Wanderers fans football lives and they resent the fact he didn’t care enough.Staying up was all that mattered and to some fans, that was a bridge too far.

No doubt, the most vitrolic Bolton fans are wanting him out, in 6 League and Cup games they’ve won two, both away from home. The win against Tranmere was no surprise, they are in big trouble already. If anything Megson would have been relived to see the pressure John Barnes is under at Prenton Park. The only win in the league was at troubled Portsmouth who can’t buy any luck at present.

Yet when Megson starts a home game playing with one striker what does he expect? By playing negative football at home, he promotes the negativity in the stands. Each fuels each other, Megson is now scared to lose games, the fans expect defensive, boring football. The fans boo, he complains about lack of support.  Trouble is, if Megson does go, who on earth will they bring in to replace him?

7 thoughts on “Gary Megson Is Unloved and Unwanted”

  1. Makes you wonder if Megson will be the first one to get the sack this season. However, I don’t see Gartside firing him – at least not yet.

    I love the Panini photo of Megson. Boy did he go from having a load of hair to almost none!

    He’s in a tough situation at Bolton. I don’t think the Bolton supporters will ever be happy with him. So he’s in a no-win situation, really. But I do predict that he’ll get them out of the hole and a couple of wins will help keep the supporters at bay.

    The Gaffer

  2. As a Bolton fan this is a really tough issue for me. I love my club and and I love my players and it kills me but the fact is I hate our manager. He doesn’t seem to care at all about the fans (he even called us “pathetic” once, that’s not a good way to gain popularity). But as you pointed out at the end of your article, could Bolton really get anyone better at this point? I don’t think we’ll go down with Megson (though he may be trying to prove me wrong with the way he’s started the season), so I think unless some brilliant manager is knocking at our door, we’ll have to stick with Megson.

    As for the Bolton fans booing, I really can understand. We’ve been playing ugly football for ages and we’ve been losing with it. It’s incredibly frustrating, I think we have real potential which we just aren’t using. But I also think the booing is incredibly counterproductive. It brings down the players and it brings down the atmosphere. As much as Megson doesn’t deserve our loyalty, the players do and the club itself does. Phil Gartside has made it painfully clear that he won’t listen to the fans opinion of Megson, and in the end the booing won’t achieve anything. It’ll just depress the club more.

    1. I think Megson is right to have a go at Bolton fans. It’s not a big club and is quite fortunate to be in the Premier League. Newcastle wanted pretty football too and look what those people get to watch this season.

      Appreciate your existence in the Premier League Bolton, cause like Megson said, you ain’t Real Madrid.

      1. I don’t necessarily want pretty football (though I wouldn’t be opposed to it) I just want points. Megson and the fans are supposed to be on the same side, calling us pathetic is practically asking them to boo. We’re perfectly aware we aren’t Real Madrid, and we don’t want to be Real Madrid, accusing us of that is completely misunderstanding the situation, and quite frankly it’s condescending. I’m a pretty down to earth person and I’m completely aware of what my club is capable of achieving. We don’t deserve European football, right now we don’t deserve silverware at all, but we are also good enough to be a consistent mid-table side. Watching us underachieve time after time after time hurts, that’s what we’re saying. If you don’t believe what we’re capable of look at when we visited Stamford Bridge last season. It takes quality and spirit to score 3 goals against a club like Chelsea when you’re 4-0 down. That what our club is capable of achieving, but instead we can barely get 1 all draws at home to Stoke.

        1. All clubs are capable of the same though. Bolton, Fulham, Blackburn and the like are all the same. Some years will be more exceptional than others, but most want. It’s still early days, and Fulham who finished 7th last season has even more than they had at this time last year. Too many soccer fans, not you Matilda, are just overly narrow-minded and can’t stand being appeased week in and week out. Their team must deliver all the time, full stop. It’s crazy obtuse.

          Bolton doesn’t look bad at all under Megson. Not as good as with Allardyce, but that might be for other reasons. Irregardless, chopping, changing, and listening to one’s fans is a sure fire way to gain entry into the Championship. Bolton will go down one day, but Megson is good enough to keep them floating along in the Premier if you guys would just get behind them instead of being a bunch of hard to please snots (again, not you Maltida, but some of your Trotter compatriots).

  3. Yes Newcastle get to watch their team play well and win every week. How awful for them. Fans will accept “win ugly” or losing when trying to play football (wigan, arsenal) what isnt acceptable is ugly, negative, boring, losing football where the team looks like they aren’t even trying.

    Its no coincidence that Megson has elicited the same response from the fans of whichever club he was at (except West Brom where only the chairman hated him and a lot of the players apparently – ask Jason Roberts why he wouldn’t come to Bolton)

  4. Bolton tipify ugly football at the moment. Megson is responsible entirely; both for tactics, and the players he brings in. They are probably good enough to stay up, but mid table dullness will lead to frustration in all quarters. I feel a little sorry for Megson; obviously caution clouds his every judgement, and he’s not exactly got a great budget to work with has he?

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