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Bolton Makes Wrong Decision By Sacking Gary Megson

Watching the entertaining match Tuesday night between Bolton and Hull City, the thought crossed my mind that being the manager of Bolton Wanderers was the least desirable job in the entire Premier League. Little did I know that less than 24 hours later Gary Megson would be sacked as the gaffer.

The only Premier League manager position that is possibly less desirable than the Wanderers is Hull City. But I would argue that Bolton is much less desirable. At least with Hull City you have sympathetic supporters who don’t have high ambitions and who have a team brimming with interesting characters such as Jimmy Bullard and Geovanni.

In fairness to Gary Megson, he shouldn’t have been sacked. I was against Paul Hart being sacked. I was against Mark Hughes being sacked. In all three cases, I was against the managers being sacked because the results on the pitch didn’t match the predicament they were in. Portsmouth were playing with enough confidence and enthusiasm that they could eventually burrow their way out of the bottom three. Manchester City would eventually get their defense right and would be able to turn those draws into wins. And for Bolton, no matter how much supporters dislike Gary Megson, they had two games in hand. If they had won those two games in hand, they would have moved from 18th position to 10th spot in the league! But even if they had won only one of their two games in hand, they still would have moved up to 13th position.

Tying 2-2 against Hull City should have been no disgrace for Bolton last night. Both teams played well and Bolton were so close to scoring an all-important third goal. Even the two goals that Steven Hunt scored were nothing criminal. The first was from a decent cross and was an excellent header into the net. The second took a fortunate deflection for Hunt into the goal.

Looking at Bolton’s recent results, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. They drew 1-1 against Burnley in the local derby at Turf Moor, and we all know how strong Burnley are at home. Prior to that, the Trotters beat West Ham United 3-1. Chelsea only just beat the Hammers recently. Megson’s side drew Manchester City 3-3 in a game that City were lucky to get a point. In late November, Bolton salvaged a point against Fulham at Craven Cottage (a team that beat Manchester United 3-0 at the same ground). And so on.

The reality is that it wasn’t the results that sacked Gary Megson. It was the supporters. Megson fell out of favor with the supporters and openly criticized them. And that may have been a major factor in the final decision by the Bolton chairman Phil Gartside.

Watch Megson’s post-match interview above, which was sadly his last one as manager of Bolton Wanderers.

As I said at the beginning of this article, Bolton is the least desirable club in the Premier League to manage at. One, it has never been a fashionable club. Two, the supporters have higher expectations than they should because they’ve been spoiled by Sam Allardyce’s past successes. Three, the club has a track record of playing a certain brand of football that isn’t endearing to club managers or footballers.

The sad thing is that I can expect a few managers to turn down the position before someone takes it. Whoever walks into this club as the next Bolton manager needs to be someone with a steely character and something to prove. It’s not going to be easy to find someone but they’re out there.

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  1. mr

    January 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

    he clearly needed to be sacked, what a boring man. The blog I wrote about him is the only thing that is not laced with mediocrity.

  2. AJ

    December 31, 2009 at 12:22 am

    I’m one of those Americans with 2 clubs (Leeds & Bolton). I have one think to say…
    I’m crying right now…
    tears of ABSOLUTE JOY! Although I’ve always liked “the character” Gary Megson, he wasn’t producing all that well on pitch.

    However, I see Gaffer’s point. Anybody remember the 2-2 draw Champions League hopefuls Spurs. Also, didn’t Bolton beat Manure excuse Man U last season?

    I’ve got to believe Hughes may see himself higher than the job.
    Fergie Jr. would be interesting but I don’t think reasonable thinking

    I’ll throw a name out that may get me shot:
    Gareth Southgate
    I always felt that the players at Middlesbrough were not quality players. So, I think he could make a return to the EPL. Just as a final opinion, `Boro would be back up next year had they kept him but those are the breaks.
    We could do worse. Simon Davey might be our manager…yikes!

  3. The Gaffer

    December 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    brn442, if Bolton was to get rid of Gary Megson, they should have done it this past summer, not two days before the new transfer window opens. Either the board needs to stand up against the fans, or they need to make better managerial decisions. Megson’s track record has been consistent over the years. Everyone knew what they were getting into with him. He’s not a bad manager. He’s just not that good.

    Rather than blame Megson, the supporters should be aiming their anger at Phil Gartside.

    The Gaffer

    • brn442

      December 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm

      “Just not that good” hahah, classic. To be Fair to the board, Bolton wasn’t in the relegation zone this summer and assumingly Megson was getting along with all his players back then. There is never a pefect time to give someone the sack but it’s better to move now than the end of March.

  4. brn442

    December 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Gaffer, I agree with you on Hart and Hughes, not with Megson. Unlike City or Portsmouth, if Bolton were going to make a realistic move this season to avoid the drop this was the time to do it, especially with 2 games in hand and the transfer window about to open. Who knows what went on in the dressing or board room (there were rumours that he lost control of the former.) We all know what they did on the pitch.

    I’m always surprised when Megson gets a top flight job, it may be harsh I can’t see him even doing what a Hodgson or Curbishly did at Fulham or Charlton respectively.

    Like Newcastle fans, who were ridiculed by the internet brigade a couple years back for their lack of faith in big Sam’s tactics, Bolton’s fans that are there week in week out probably also saw things on the pitch we didn’t.

    It’s not easy for us who sit on our bums in from of a screen to see how bad a team is playing. As you know, when you’re there live, it can truly be shocking.

  5. Jason

    December 30, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I dont think Bolton is staying up. Sad really, we could use a bit more quality from teams like Bolton, Wolverhampton, and Hull City to send down the team that the Premier League is better off for not having..West Ham United.

  6. Rob McCluskey

    December 30, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I’d like to see Darren Ferguson get the job, he may seem a bit of an unknown to the Premiership but hes proved at all other levels hes a capable manager but I don’t know if the Bolton fans would be happy with that. I certainly rate him!

    I don’t think it’ll be Mark Hughes though unfortantley, it’s been too soon after he’s been sacked by City and no doubt there will be some sort of clause in his contract preventing him going to another club so soon, much like Mourinho had at Chelsea.

    I we’ll see someone coming in soon though, you don’t sack someone days before the transfer window if theres no money to spend, whoever gets it is bound to get a bit of cash to keep Bolton up!

  7. jayjay23

    December 30, 2009 at 9:24 am

    “Three, the club has a track record of playing a certain brand of football that isn’t endearing to club managers or footballers.”


    We dont expect to be top six, we just want our team to have some passion and some decent players. We want to see football and attacking, even if we finish bottom we will be happy as long as we see drive and some real games of decent football where we at least attempt to win!

    • The Gaffer

      December 30, 2009 at 9:52 am

      Jay, but when was the last time that Bolton consistently played attacking football that was pleasing to the eye? In 2007 when Sammy Lee was in charge (but it failed miserably)? Or before Big Sam took charge in 1999? Please enlighten me (seriously).

      The Gaffer

  8. Pear

    December 30, 2009 at 8:32 am

    1. NO clean sheets all season…
    2. Despite £7m on new defenders over the summer, which most fans could have told you at the time was money wasted.
    3. When opponents score first there is no backup plan… (P8 W0 D1 L7 F4 A18)
    5. The past 4 games saw us take the lead but give it away in each game, 3 times against Man City, but only regain it against West Ham (due to Green’s keeping error)

    I can understand at previous points in history it may look as if we gave Megson a rough ride but this season there are no excuses to keep him on.

  9. theickleone

    December 30, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Hope you dont get paid for writing this rubbish!!!

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