If you hadn’t guessed from the title of this blog, yep I’m a Bolton fan. When Owen Coyle was announced as the next Bolton boss (at the time of writing, the Lawyers or whoever are still trying to sort out a compensation package) it surprised me how many sections of the media were referring to Coyle’s move as a ‘sideways’ switch. I haven’t got a problem with Burnley chairman Barry Kilby calling it a sideways move in a press conference, he was never going to say anything else. In the case of the wider media, you would expect national newspaper columnists and the like to have a greater knowledge of how football works – sadly, they’ve been tainted by some sort of hatred for the Wanderers (having watched us over the last couple of years, I can’t really blame them – the football has been, at times, truly awful). Now no disrespect intended to Burnley, but Bolton have far greater potential at present than the Clarets and there isn’t really any denying that.
In terms of fans, Burnley get about as many as we do at the Reebok and the overall fan-base isn’t much different. However, after nearly a decade in the Premier League (nine consecutive seasons) Bolton clearly have more power in the transfer market and a considerably higher budget. Other questions have been raised such as is it a wise move switching from a club with no debt to one carrying debts? By that logic it would be more sensible to stay at Burnley than move to Manchester United.
Granted, Bolton lie below Burnley in the table (by a whopping two points) and have been in pretty poor form all year. The difference is Burnley have been playing their little socks off, while Bolton struggled under a frankly useless manager and the Wanderers do have two games in hand. The Clarets haven’t won in nine and after a blistering start to the season (at home anyway) their Championship level squad is burnt out, all we need are a couple of new additions and we’ll push up the table. I reckon Coyle probably realised Burnley were slipping and with little (or no) money to spend in the transfer window I’m going to suggest Burnley would have dropped out the Premier League even if Owen had decided to stay. The job of keeping the Wanderers in the Premier League this season is, with no question from where I’m sitting, far easier than it would be keeping the Clarets up and that is all we expect from the current campaign.
It has been suggested Gary Cahill will have to go in January to raise transfer cash. That is a possibility and I’d be gutted to see one of the best central defenders in the league leave the Reebok but if we had any kind of midfield we wouldn’t have to rely on Cahill so much anyway. There are other players who could be shown the door in order to gather funds and after backing Megson so heavily it wouldn’t surprise me if Coyle was given some cash to spend without forcing him to sell Cahill.
If I wasn’t a Bolton fan I admit I’d be sad to see Coyle leave Burnley after such doing such an outstanding job at Turf Moor. Then again, Loyalty is such a fickle thing in football anyway, look at Phil Brown – he was the toast of Humberside last season but this time around he was in real danger of being sacked at one point. Billy Davies did a remarkable job getting a fairly average Derby side into the Premier League and was sacked when results didn’t go his way. The list could go on and on and Coyle made the sensible decision and chose a bigger club with better prospects. On a final note – I can’t wait for the Burnley game at the end of the month, should be a ‘fiery encounter’ to say the least!