Unfortunately sitting at the foot of the Championship table, their is no doubt that Bolton Wanderers have massively underachieved in the past three years. Not long ago the Trotters were a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League and even reached the UEFA Cup. Just ask any Arsenal fan of the danger posed when they faced them at the Reebok Stadium, as the Gunners considered them as there ‘bogey team’ away from home.
This fabulous spell was under the guidance of Sam Allardyce, before he made the switch to Newcastle United – where his time at St. James Park was unsuccessful to say the least. Gary Megson and Dougie Freedman have since attempted to rekindle the glory days, but have failed spectacularly.
Despite being the second tier of English football, the Championship is still saturated with fantastic players and managers that are capable of performing at the highest level. Although the second tier may not be at the highest level, it is still considered to be one of the most exciting and pulsating leagues in the world, which draws the quality in. After Freedman left the club recently, Bolton acquired the services of former Celtic gaffer Neil Lennon in an attempt to guide them away from the dreaded relegation zone, and maybe, have a shot of a play-off spot. Not only is this a fantastic piece of business for Bolton, but it also shows that the Championship is not a league to be ignored.
As player, who turned out for Manchester City, Crewe Alexandra, Leicester City, Celtic, Nottingham Forest and Wycombe Wanderers, Lennon was a no nonsense central midfielder, who never turned away from a crunching tackle. In a career that saw the 43 year old play a staggering 561 career games and score 25 goals he also won two League Cups, five Scottish Premier League titles, four Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups.
The one major element that Lennon brings is his personality from a playing career into management. His stern approach and careful attention to detail are the reasons he won three Scottish Premier League titles and two Scottish Cups as manager of Celtic between 2010 and 2014. After only being in charge of Bolton for a week, Lennon has already installed one rule at the club, banning players from wearing bobble hats in training – a rule he doesn’t follow himself…
Since Lennon left Celtic Park last season the Northern Irishman has had a plethora of offers to take charge of Premier League clubs, so why did he choose a club that is rooted at the bottom of the Championship table? Knowing Lennon’s character, the last thing he would want was to take charge of a top flight side that settles for a mid-table finish every season. He wants a challenge and wants to achieve things in circumstances many would walk away from. Expect the Championship to become a bit more exciting, and whatever you do, do not rule out Bolton Wanderers for promotion.