Bolton Wanderers: The Hardest Word?
Did you see who was on the official BWFC calendar when you turned it over this morning? Somehow, some fool was of the opinion that Robbie Blake would STILL be at the club come June. That is nothing, I suppose, to what awaits us in July. You may as well rip the top of that page off now.
Fair play to the makers of the calendar, they stuck all those players at the end of their contract, plus the one with the relegation release clause, on the first seven months. It's as if they knew something. Unfortunately, Dazza Prazza doesn't appear until December, which is enough to put you off your turkey.
Anyway, we'd like to thank Gil Fartslime for his time over the past couple of days. This was obviously a small mickey take of the interviews given by Big Phil to the official site. It was an interesting interview, in that it contained a lot of words but said very little and found Phil in a no win situation. His position is that he won't win over any of the naysayers to his chairmanship whilst those who back the chairman and the manager won't have heard anything that they don't already agree with.
Some of the comments have been picked up by the national press, especially those about the debt. To Bolton fans, this is a broken record. We know that Eddie Davies has ploughed money into the club and we should be grateful for that. But, as has been said elsewhere, mostly at Manny Road, his personal wealth is only measured in double digit millions, not triple. So it is unlikely that he found that money behind the back of his, albeit expensive, sofa in the Isle of Man.
The truth is that it comes from an offshore company that has other owners other than Eddie and that they take a percentage of that loan back every year. Now, I'm more for that than getting it from the RBS, but it isn't exactly the truth that Big Phil is running. The average Bolton fan couldn't care less about profit and loss and where the British Virgin Islands are and just want to see their team winning. As long as Eddie and his 'people' are putting money in, the likelihood is that we will stay afloat. After? Look at Blackburn and Leeds if you want a worst case scenario.
Big Phil is a businessman and I have no doubt that his job is a hard one. But the interview hardly does an Ali shuffle on him and lands no damaging blows. There is no question of how the debt was allowed to get so high in the first place, for example. It is mostly a soft soap exercise, there to pacify the masses whilst getting the backs up of most of those who pay more attention to the club than others.
But that is not my main gripe with the interview. I've read it and re read it, gone through the bits about the attendances rising, new contracts, younger players, new kits and the like and there appears to be one word missing. A word that you would think the chairman of the club would say to the fans after they have seen the club be relegated for the first time in eleven years. Regardless of where you put your flag in the debate of how the club is run, who should be manager and who should be playing, the one word that you would expect a chairman, who purports to be a fan first, to say is nowhere to be seen.
And that word is 'sorry'.
It would be interesting to see what Bruce Rioch would do in the Premier League of today and, indeed, what would have happened if he had stayed at Burnden instead of moving to Highbury the first time we were promoted. Would he have been able to keep hold of McAteer, given that it was the players dream to turn out for Liverpool? Would he have been able to bring in better players than Roy McFarland managed. I guess we'll never know, but it is good to see him talk about the players that started the revolution back in the early nineties.
Looking back at the names like Branagan, McGinlay, Walker, Lee, Darby, Patterson, Kelly, Stubbs and McAteer, it seems amazing to think that it was nearly twenty years ago since they were tearing Liverpool a new one at Anfield as a third division club. There was a sense of being reborn at that time and some would say that twenty years on and back in the Football League, we have an opportunity to do the same again. It is a very prescient article and a hats off to Marc Iles for writing it. Although he was probably wearing his natty flat cap.
Times change, naturally, and for all the above names, you cannot really see an equivalent in the Bolton side of today. That's not necessarily a bad thing, we are still in a higher division than we were in August 1992, and players have different objectives, and pay packets, than then. But it is to be hoped that the club can evoke the same kind of spirit that dragged us through that season and on the upwards spiral to the Premier League. Just not at a cost.
At least we'll have seven subs to choose from again next season. Now, all we need are eighteen players.
Until tomorrow, Cocker.