Bolton Wanderers: Feet? Meet Ground.
Afternoon all. No time to stand around gawping today. Mrs X and I are off for a rare weekend away in the glamorous environs of Barnsley and it is in about two hours time. I haven`t ironed or packed yet but at least if I don`t do the former, we will fit right into the populace of the place we are going.
Barnsley eh? The glamour. At least I can put it down as a a reccie (reckie/reackie?) next March.
It is to Mark Davies (Sparky/Mavies/Put your foot in for the love of God) that we turn first as the manager bigs up the midfielder whilst saying that he has no interest in selling the player whilst clubs circle overhead, like a bunch of blind buzzards, not realising that there are meatier portions to be had.
The manager has challenged the midfielder to go to the next level
, like he is a computer game and some oversize gorilla is throwing barrels of oil at him.
"All the talk about Mark and other clubs, we know where that comes from (errr...you? ed.) and it`s just speculation. But I have stressed to him that this is a huge season.
As if the players aren`t already aware what a massive season it is. You haven`t been able to move over the past two weeks for players falling over themselves saying what a massive season it is, all pulling together, we are a family club, do it for the fans, payback etc. It isn`t that I am unhappy that everyone is positive and up for the fight, but to have it continually rammed down my throat is starting to make me gag.
Now, this isn`t a pop at OC, master of the hyperbole. It is a pop at the club itself. Lord knows, I am not the biggest fan of their communications department, the one bunch of people who you could give a typewriter to and, over time, WOULDN`T be able to give you the complete works of Shakespeare. But your average Bolton fan isn`t going to fall for all the guff that is coming out in the press. Yes, we are one of the favourites for promotion and, yes, we are one of the teams that other teams will see as a massive scalp. But there comes a time when all that bigging up causes undue pressure.
As Al said yesterday, there are those fans who will look to jump on anything, even a 1-1 draw in the first friendly of the season, and see it as further jevidence that we are heading for hell in a handbasket. But, there is a direct correlation between how the club sell themselves to the fans and what the fans see on the pitch. I don`t want the club to not talk about promotion but I also don`t want them to make us all think that we are going to walk the division. At the moment, I am seeing a lot of the former and not a lot of talking about how tough the division is. And it is a tough division, far tougher than the Premier League. No matter how much they deny it, Owen Coyle`s job is under threat and a bad start to the season will see a lot more fans jump on the sacking bandwagon, which is neither good for him nor the fans as it brings division and we saw how well that worked with Gary Megson.
No one will be happier than me if we get to November top of the league and flying. But I know in my heart of hearts that that isn`t going to happen. Negative thinking maybe, but also rooted in reality. And it is a reality that I would like to see in some of the press. You look at the signings made so far and whilst they are good players for the division that we are in, there is nothing to lift the heart. That may all change with a striker or two, but there are plenty of teams that could go toe to toe with us and get a result. It is for this reason that I think we should take it game by game, rather than crowing about how we are going to hit the ground running, as it sounds like we will be promoted by Christmas. Let`s leave that until April, shall we?
One last thing about the Marc Iles article; I like Marc, he can wear a flat cap at a fantasically jaunty angle, but I`d would like someone to find the time last season where someone compared Mavies to Gazza. Unless he has been beating up his missus whilst drunk.
Elsewhere on Mavies, it looks like Swansea may also be one of the buzzards alongside Liverpool and Reading. You can see why those three teams are looking at him, they all have managers who prefer to play the ball on the floor, which is what Mavies is/isn`t being advertised as. The more these reports come in, the more you get the impression that he won`t be here next season. Which, with our top heavy midfield, may be a good thing. Again, the price would have to be right, enough to get a player who can put the ball into the net.
Right, I`ll have to slope off now. The reserves are at Bamber Bridge tonight whilst the first team are at Hamilton tomorrow. Let`s hope that both teams win, otherwise the #bwfc tag is going to be claiming squatters rights on Twitter.
P.s. If you only listen to one Bolton related podcast this summer, make sure it's the Football Ramble lads segment on Sir Nat.
Required listening, in my humble.