Well it certainly sounds like Owen Coyle will be moving the 25 or so miles to Bolton Wanderers to replace the sacked Gary Megson. After being given permission to talk to the Trotters, Coyle looks set to become the manager of a club he served so well for two years between 1993 and 1995. By all accounts, it’s a done deal and Burnley will begin to look at who they will need to replace the excellent work that Coyle has started at Turf Moor.
Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman has certainly acted quickly to replace Megson, but their are two things about this potential appointment I can’t get my head around. Firstly, people are saying he has more of an emotional attachment to Bolton than Burnley and secondly, why on earth is Burnley’s chairman Barry Kilby allowing Coyle to talk to them?
The second point perplexes far more than the first. Why has Kilby allowed Coyle to talk to Bolton so easily? For all the criticism of football players agitating for moves, football managers it seems can simply walk away from a contract for nominal fees. Coyle signed a contract extension in the summer after turning down Celtic that tied him down to Turf Moor until June 2013. Now an offer from Bolton Wanderers is more appealing than talking over Celtic?
Now no-one can tell me that the Bolton Wanderers job is anywhere near the level of being in charge of Celtic. It’s a non-starter without question especially right now. Burnley are two points ahead, although having played two games more than Bolton and Wanderers travel to the Emirates on Wednesday night for one of their games in hand.
Burnley fans are rightly scratching their heads thinking what on earth is going on and I can understand their confusion. Why has Kilby not put his foot down and simply pointed out to Coyle the 3 years left on his contract. Or is Bolton’s offer simply too good for Kilby to turn down? Yet for all the money that may be on the table from Bolton to take Coyle, who on earth could replace him?
The first point that I mentioned, the much vaunted emotional attachment, doesn’t add up either. As a player, Coyle played 74 games for Bolton and as of Saturday, he has managed Burnley for 113 games. So how can he have such an attachment that makes Bolton a more attractive prospect than Celtic or staying at Burnley? It’s something that I just can’t understand, which seems to echo the feelings of the majority of Clarets fan.
To be honest, a move to Bolton is more of a sideways move right now than a move up the managerial ladder. Bolton, since Allardyce left have drifted along in the lower echelons of the Premier League, whilst Burnley have been on an upward trajectory ever since Coyle landed. All the pre-season predictions, except for one idiot, pointed to Burnley being cannon fodder.
Yes, their away form has been abysmal, but it smacks of naivety more than a lack of ability. On Saturday, they were being tipped as a team that could be embarrassed by lower league opposition in the F.A. Cup, but in the end, the comfortably dealt with M.K. Dons. They’ve impressed many people this season and good luck to them. Ironically, it was Coyle’s behavior after that game that set tongues wagging.
By claiming he couldn’t go the the post match press conference as he needed to catch a flight to Scotland immediately after the game, people thought fair enough. Unfortunately, Coyle was then caught out by still being at Stadium M.K. an hour later. It was then that questions began to be asked and since then, no-one has become any the wiser as to what on earth is happening. Just a word of advice for Mr Kilby, whatever you do, don’t give Graeme Souness the job!