Afternoon to the many of you tuning in from around the globe that are part of the Vital Bolton family. We are here only to serve you. To which, apologies for nothing appearing yesterday. Al was indisposed and I was in an afternoon showing of Skyfall (Better than Quantum, no Casino and definitely no Moonraker) when he sent it and only got it on the way to work. We're currently working on a better communication system. Carrier Pigeon possibly.
Anyway, they say that a day is a long time in politics, but it appears that two days is a short time in football. On Tuesday, Palace were saying it was a no go on Lennie Lawrence and today he joined us as Dougie's assistant. Bags of experience, was Jimmy Phillips' manager at Boro, decent chap. Not flashy, knows his stuff, not Sandy Stewart.
Having managerial experience doesn't make you an effective assistant, as having none wasn't a problem for Phil Brown and Sammy Lee, but it can't hurt. Lawrence has never been a manager to reach the upper echelons of the managerial game, but he is respected through it. There aren't many with more than a thousand games in charge (according to pinchofsaltipedia he is ninth in the list of English managers) and that experience has been and will be invaluable to the relatively untested Freedman.
In actual fact, I'm probably happier with this appointment than I am with Freedman's, within its own context. Nothing against Sandy Stewart, who I have just fired for the third time in Football Manager simply for the hell of it, but you get the feeling that Lawrence is less of a yes man, and more of a you should be doing it this way man. Which will be refreshing.
Chris Eagles has said that the makeweight in his deal other player who joined with him from Burnley will work well under Dougie. Tyrone Mears is the name, a name that most Bolton fans will feel isn't partioularly deserving of a place in the side, what with Sam Ricketts and Joe Riley also able to play in that position.
The problem is where people fit and most people think that Mears doesn't fit in the side. Stats are one thing, but it is how the defence plays as a whole and playing your strongest player in that position. And, for me, that player isn't Mears. There is nothing to suggest that if Ricketts or Riley had played at right back then the figure wouldn't be lower than the ten percent figure quoted. Players chunder down their own right hand side more than the left and, if I was playing Bolton, I would automatically have my players run at our so porous water goes there to get wet central defence.
I've nothing against Mears, except for not breaking Zat Knight's foot at the same time he broke his leg. But I think that he will find himself the victim of new manager syndrome. Dougie has spoken of giving youth his head and Joe Riley is eight years Mears junior. That's the circle of life, my friends.
We all know the monkey on the players backs about clean sheets away from home. But the lack of a clean sheet in this division, just the one against Derby in a game described by the most optimistic Bolton fan as 'turgid', is even more so. As Dougie said on Monday night, the problem isn't necessarily in defence, although the defence has undoubtedly played a massive part in it. Defend as a team and you may half the problem. This is not to say that Barry Mills and Paul Ream won't stop hitting each other in the heads with planks of wood from time to time. But we may have a covering player there to catch the paint if they do.
Right, I'm off to do a James Bond impression. Did you know he's from the Wirral? Mrs X is very proud. Al is back tomorrow with a match preview. I'm sending the pigeon now.