Bolton Wanderers: Farewell Tour
A sad day here at Vital Bolton towers. As revealed exclusively on Twitter (@QuentinX don't forget), I will be stepping down from writing in the New Year. I don't want to be cryptic, but let's just say that life has finally caught up with me. After a bloody long chase. This means that I may have very little time to watch football, let alone write about it.
We do have a ready made replacement in Al, who will be taking over. I don't know if I will ever get back into writing at a later date. Maybe. I do have a book in mind about a footballer's wife who says stupid things on social media and then goes slightly off the rails when people have a go at her politely. But I don't think anyone will believe it. It's not very true to life.
However, I've not gone yet. I intend to leave in the New Year. So, you have got another month or so of me. Try not to look glum. We both knew it couldn't last forever.
I can't really talk about the Barnsley game as that's Al's job this week. All I can say is that there are obviously still issues to be ironed out if we are drawing 1-1 with Barnsley. No disrespect to Barnsley. Amazingly, we are still close to the play offs. This proves that the Championship can really mess with your head.
I do think we have a conundrum when it comes to Kevin Davies. There are many who believe that if you play him, then you restrict the way that you play. And, to a point, they have a point. SKD isn't going to run at defences through the middle. That's not his game. He also isn't going to attempt net busting shots from thirty yards. That's not his game either.
But, don't think that his game is all about winning headers, leading the line and holding the ball up. We have seen this season some pleasing flicks and some well placed shots, things that we may have forgotten that he does. He's a professional footballer of long standing. He didn't get where he has got by just heading the ball on and sticking his ample arse in other players faces. Believe that, and there are those this season that do, and you are no better than those who have been saying it for the past nine seasons.
But, we can't shy away from the fact that if he plays up front, either by himself or with another, the tendency is to hump the ball forward. And, at an age when some players have retired, SKD isn't winning those balls like he used to. This can cause attacks to break down and, with a still brittle defence, this gives problems. And, the be fair, he hasn't got the turn of pace to catch anyone up unless they stop for a fag.
So, it leaves us with a problem. PLay him and run the risk of being less than multi dimensional. Don't play him and run the risk of not scoring any goals.
Naturally, some people are blinded by the rose tinted glasses of the SKD of yesteryear. But a clever footballer changes his game to accomodate the passing years. It's isn't clear if SKD has done this. He still gets called for fouls and is fouled more than most. He still moans like he is Sir Moanalot from the Kingdom of Moanshire. And he still leads by example.
Owen Coyle always seemed to play him regardless, although he was dropped a couple of times. Dougie seems to be playing him depending on the opposition, which seemed to work out well on Saturday. And the man himself is seeing the virtue of playing players depending on this
rather than blindly playing what you consider your best team, regardless of position.
The answer is that only SKD and Dougie, seperately, know how they feel and how they will play. It is to be remembered that, no matter what happens with the former, he will always be held in high regard by the vast majority.
For myself, I feel that if he is to lead the line, he shouldn't have a similar player next to him. And N'Gog is that man. It was surprising that Dougie chose not to put Sordell on the bench on Saturday as he could offer something different. Alas, with Sordell, it is looking increasingly likely we may never get the chance to see whether he can. It may be a case of Dougie making do and mend until January and seeing what he can get then. Hopefully, we will be hanging grimly on to mid table, still within touching distance of promotion. By whatever means.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was your first lesson in a masterclass of saying a lot and saying nothing at the same time.
Hey, the fantasy league will be going after I'm gone. So, who is atop this week. Well, looking through my square window, I see the top three remain the same, with Alakerran~Flinttaus~ re-extending their lead over Roderick's X1 with I'll Get Back To You falling further behind. Team of the week were Mark Dawson's Wohmu with a very impressive ninety six points. Very. Impressive.
Right, I'm off for a hot bath and a re read of some of my favourite articles. Be sure you do the same. I won't be here forever.