Time for Megson and Bolton to go their separate ways?

gary-megsonBetfair blogger Gareth Freeman wonders if it time for Gary Megson to go.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has said he isn’t going to be pushing the panic button in regards to Gary Megson’s future as the clubs manager.  His comments came on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the Reebok to Blackburn, in a game where the Wanderers offered very little.  The Whites have slipped into the bottom three, won just once in the last six games and won just once at home in the league this season.  I’ll be honest I’ve never been Megson’s biggest fan, but I always thought he’d been a little unlucky and perhaps deserved a bit more time.  Now I’m wondering, is it time Gartside did indeed push the ‘panic button’ and find a new manager?

I’ll start by examining the Blackburn game, some Bolton fans may feel hard done by, personally I reckon (as much as it pains me to say this) Rovers deserved the win.  Sure, we had the better chances before they opened the scoring and were probably the better of the two sides in the first half, just.  In the build up to Dunn’s opener Matt Taylor hit the post, but this was from a deflected free kick and would have been fortunate had it gone in. Taylor then floated in a weak cross, which Paul Robinson caught and we were hit on the break courtesy of a great finish from Dunn.  Sam Ricketts inadvertently gifted Rovers a second in the second half with what can only be described as a comical error as he headed into an empty net from 30 yards.  What was perhaps most disappointing about the performance was the Wanderers lack of commitment and ideas after conceding the opener.  Blackburn seemed to have a purpose and drive about them that was clearly lacking in the Bolton team and we had Gavin McCann to thank for keeping us in it with two great goal-line clearances.  No one really had a good game, with the exception of McCann and perhaps Andy O’Brien – and with all due respect when those two are your best players things are not good.

If we look at the wider picture, it doesn’t look much better for Megson.  His success in the transfer market is pretty debatable; on the one hand you’ve got Gary Cahill and Matt Taylor who have been two of Bolton’s better players since their respective arrivals.  Then there are players like Lee Chung-Yong, Tamir Cohen, Mark Davies and Sam Ricketts who are still settling into the team (Cohen and Davies have had their Bolton careers interrupted by injury) but look the part, while I would also probably include Ivan Klasnic in that bracket as well.  But then you have the flops – Johan Elmander being the most notable.  Johan came with a big reputation and is still highly regarded in France and in all honesty I feel sorry for Megson that is hasn’t worked out, but everyone is judged by their decisions and at a fee of around £10million it was a fairly big mistake to make.  Then there are the likes of Paul Robinson, Danny Shittu, Ariza Makakula and Grezgorz Rasiak, none of which are good enough for the Premier League in my opinion.

There are plenty of other things to consider.  Megson doesn’t do himself any favours in interviews and the style of football is predictable, unattractive and more importantly ineffective.  I don’t appreciate the wider media suggesting we’re some kind of a bunch of fans who were ‘spoilt by success’ under Sam Allardyce and that Megson is being unfairly persecuted.  I never expected the next man to be able to match Allardyce’s success instantly, especially after Sammy Lee’s brief reign.  I accept Megson had a hard job to begin with and I thank him for keeping us in the division when the odds were truly stacked against the Wanderers. However, we have seen no improvement despite reasonable investment since Megson arrived and I feel it has to be time the Bolton board considered their options.

The next two games are crucial for Megson as far as I’m concerned, and despite his comments I’m hoping this is how Gartside sees it as well.  We’ve got trips to Fulham and Wolves coming up and although these games are away from home Megson needs at least four points for me.  I’ve probably been one of the more patient Bolton fans with Megson, but after some bad defeats and some absolutely awful performances I’ve lost my patience and it has to be time the Bolton hierarchy considered making a change, hopefully before Megson wastes any more money in January.  What do other Bolton fans think?  I know I’m not alone in feeling Megson has had his chance but is there anyone out there who thinks he should be given more time?

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting horse racing Ireland and the Aintree Grand National 2010 for Betfair.