Bolton Wanderers: Academic Failure
Morning all. Hope the weekend has served you well. Mrs X and I have just returned from a weekend away in Barnsley, which was all I expected and more. Don`t bother asking for the reason why we would choose to spend the weekend in Barnsley as it`s too long and convoluted to go through. However, to say that we bumped into a wedding party in a well known Australian bar where there were more tattoos on show than in the whole Royal Navy, and it should give you some idea what to expect come March.
And it was at half twelve in the afternoon.
So, we lost 2-0 to Hamilton. I`m not going to suggest that I wouldn`t have preferred a win but, as most people with any sense or saying, it is only pre season and it means nothing. However, there are obviously flaws in the make up, with the forward line seeming to be the most flawed. This will have something to do with N`Gog still not ready for pre season and Sordell being at the Olympics, meaning that we have SKD and Eaves currently leading the line. SKD has never been an out and out striker and Eaves is still young enough to learn from a lengthy run out alongside the captain.
Having said that, it will do us all good if the team could start winning some of these preseason games, if only to stop people getting onto the manager`s back, which no one needs. At the moment, it is all about building up fitness and seeing who needs more game time than others, but some people don`t seem to be able to grasp this idea. If proof were needed about how meaningless pre-season results are, I give you two scenarios. In the summer of 2008, Spurs won every game, scoring thirty three goals in the process. This pre season was seen by pundits to be a precursor to a title challenging season. Fast forward to the end of October, Spurs in the relegation zone and Honest Harry replacing Juande Ramos. Then there is our own 2006-07 season where we lost all our first team games to Burnley, Derby, Recreativo, Seville and Alkmaar and finished up qualifying for the Europa League. Now, I know that the preceding five teams are bigger than Ayr and Hamilton, but the argument still applies. You can take nothing out of pre season. So, don`t even try.
As for the forward line, OC has admitted that he is on the lookout for a striker
"If there`s something out there better than we have already got, then we`ll certainly try to add. We`ve got the skipper, David Ngog and Marvin Sordell, who`s to say we won`t look to strengthen up top as well as the midfield area?"
It would appear pretty obvious that a striker is needed and, with the club looking to offload up to seventeen staff in the near future
, it is obvious that money is tight, so a loan deal would be the way forward. Whoever this may be, it needs to be sorted soon for the reasons already given above. OC has an eye for a loan, Gael Kakuta and Tuncay notwithstanding, but this may be his biggest task in the market. Players like Sturridge, Wilshere and Miyaichi aren`t going to come to the Championship and it may be that we need to look to the middle of the Premier League table for a player. Forget Michael Owen, as some people seem to be thinking. He can still do a job but has too much self belief to take the step down.
As for the seventeen staff that would appear to be on the verge of redundancy, you can only commiserate with them. It is always the normal nine to five staff, who get it in the neck after relegation, as well as those who work funny hours, like scouts. Colin Harvey, a last vestige of the Gary Megson years, has left and will probably be followed out of the club by others. It will be interesting to see if the chairman decides to take a pay cut and maybe save a couple of jobs through that, but I leave you to make your own decision as to whether he will or not.
Now, on Friday I mentioned that Mark Davies had once been compared to Gazza after Marc Iles had mentioned it in an article. Marc himself got in touch with me and passed on this article where he got the comparison from.
I am happy to say that, yes indeed, Mavies was compared to Gazza by OC himself. Apologies to Marc for not believing him, but a full tilt of the ridiculous hat to OC, albeit seven months late, for even having the temerity of making the comparison. I`m not sure, but I must have found the whole suggestion so funny I blanked it and put it down to my having too much New Year cheer. Let`s make one thing clear. No one will ever be the new Gazza. There is and only ever will be one Gazza, like there is only one George Best, one Maradona and one Pele. What they had raised them above the mere footballer and whatever ills followed them in life (booze, birds, shooting at reporters etc.), their skill was unique.
Eric Bell was also unique, in his own way. Injured early on in the 1953 Cup Final, he played on, scoring a goal in the process to put Bolton 3-1 up. The fact that he was a virtual passenger for a great deal of the game shouldn`t take away from the heart that he showed during all of it. When today`s players go down a roll around the floor, they should look at Bell`s achievement on that day, even though he finished on the losing side. His death over the weekend, at the age of 82, leaves five players surviving from that Bolton team. RIP.
And with that, I`ll bid you adieu. I`m off to a buy a bike. Again, don`t ask. Until Wednesday.