Writer: Richard McCormick
Date:Wednesday April 23 2008
Bolton fans are divided over Gary Megson. Some say that it`s time for him to leave, others that he should never have arrived. Two consecutive league victories haven`t softened the attitude toward the ginger genius. It`s rare that a newly appointed manager is greeted by an unwelcoming committee, but that`s what happened. An encouraging start, including a victory over Manchester United, caused some to think again, but the debacle in Lisbon and results since have reinforced earlier opinions.
What makes a good manager and how many of those attributes does Megson measure up in?
Megson has the reputation of being a defensive minded manager. He`s lived up (or down ) to it. A midfield containing Ivan Campo, Gavin McCann and Kevin Nolan, can`t be anything other than sluggish. Mikel Alonso and Andranik Teymourian, were disregarded almost immediately, leaving the team with no plan B, and not that much of a plan A. Two words: Grzegorz Rasiak. Two more: Utter despair.
Megson made some attempt at playing football whilst Nicolas Anelka was with the club, but that`s been jettisoned. He`s been described as the poor man`s Sam Allardyce, and there is mileage in that claim. Bolton were derided for playing a long ball game, but they used to be rather good at it. Not anymore. At present, they are neither one thing or the other, with Megson`s claim that his side are capable of playing better pass and move football, looking hollow.
Ability to Motivate
It`s here that there are the most serious doubts about Megson. Bolton won at Middlesbrough, but they were away with the fairies for the first twenty minutes, when they should have been out of the blocks like Ben Johnson on smack. There`s been surrender against Blackburn, Wigan, Liverpool, Arsenal and Aston Villa. Megson is a logical, intelligent man, but not an inspirational one.
Gary Cahill is a future star and Gretar Steinsson is an improvement on what went before. Matt Taylor`s not the best, but he can`t be faulted for effort. Megson has done reasonably well in the January transfer window. However, Tamir Cohen is a danger to himself and everyone else on the pitch and then there`s that Polish bloke again. Anelka out, Rasiak in. Try not to weep.
There was joy when Megson was appointed. None of it came from Bolton supporters. They might love the club, but to others, the Reebok`s finest are the footballing equivalent of Heather Mills McCartney, albeit with more limbs. In times of difficulty it`s sometimes comforting to look at back at a manager`s previous achievements. Megson`s was getting West Brom promoted. A pity he got them relegated in the first place, a feat he repeated with Nottingham Forest. He`s won one in eight games as a Premier League manager. Not good.
Managing the Club
Phil Gartside`s smart move after the appointment of Sam Allardyce was to give him free rein to implement the ideas that he`d picked up elsewhere. As a consequence, Bolton`s backroom became as good as any in football and better than most. Older players continued longer than they might have done and the injury list was shorter than elsewhere. Take note Newcastle and West Ham. Maybe Megson has the same approach to creating a sound club structure. It would explain Gartside`s keenness to appoint him. The scouting team has already been re-vamped and it will be interesting to see what happens to the academy with the departure of Chris Sulley. Of course, none of this will be any comfort, if Bolton are re-organised from the Championship
Over to You
Good or bad? Stay or go? Vote in the latest Vital Bolton Poll.
Date:Wednesday April 23 2008
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