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Bolton Wanderers: Sweet Sorrow

Bolton Wanderers: Sweet Sorrow
So. Here we are. The parting of the ways. The walk into the sunset. The end of an era.

Yes, the time has come my friends, to say farewell. After two and a half years and eight calloused fingers and two calloused thumbs, it is time to hand Vital Bolton over to the next generation. I think I'm the third editor on this site, which makes me either Jon Pertwee or Roger Moore in the lineage. I think I'll go for Roger Moore. I prefer safari suits to cloaks and rubber Loch Ness Monsters.

It's been an interesting thirty months or so as we went from expectation to despair to outright worry and then disgust. From a healthy eighth place in the Premier League to the bottom half of The Championship. Very few have fallen so far, so fast.

Looking back on the first articles I wrote, a Spurs preview and then match report, it is difficult to see the same writer. I recall someone once called me as funny as a wet weekend in Wolverhampton on a Bolton News forum. Thankfully as time, and the writing, progressed that person's view changed. As, I hope, did others.

I never claimed to be a tactical genius and many will have seen that I hardly ever talked about that particular facet. This was partly due to the fact that OC only had one tactic, which seemed to make the job easier. And I never had a real go at the club.

Well, that particular record is about to go.

Bolton Wanderers are no longer my club. They are my team and I went through too much (getting lost in Burnden Park, getting thrown out of Old Trafford, Division Four away trips to Scunthorpe) to not support the team. But the club, on the other hand.....

I do not understand the top of the club. I do not understand how a man who has overseen such a reversal in fortunes as Phil Gartside has is still in charge of Bolton Wanderers. A man who said that Sammy Lee was a better manager than Sam Allardyce. A man who appointed Gary Megson and said that people who knew football understood the appointment. A man who appointed Owen Coyle a couple of years after recommending him to Burnley and appointing Megson instead. A man who has managed to keep his rarefied position in the club whilst others have lost theirs following relegation. And a man who has managed to send Bolton Wanderers into a debt so large, they haven't started building the part of the tunnel where the light will be.

Now, I understand that the debt is owed to Eddie Davies and...blah..blah...blah. That is not the point. The point is that the club is in debt, regardless of who it is to. And the man who has overseen it is Phil Gartside. Most top bosses who would have overseen such an increase would have been out on their ear. Phil, limpet like, clings onto his position and shows no signs of budging.

I was at the fans forum when someone asked him if he thought he was the common denominator in the club's demise. He replied yes, before Jack Dearden butted in and said that he had been the most successful chairman in the club's history. Well, he isn't. And nor does he ever have the chance to be again. Granted, he oversaw eleven years in the Premier League, but that is nothing compared to the many years in the top flight and the FA Cups. True, he oversaw two European campaigns, but one of those was sacrificed to the great god of the Premier League. And we are still in colossal debt. He allowed Gary Megson and Sammy Lee to spend indiscriminately without allowing their immediate predecessor to spend the money that he thought the team needed to get into the Champions League.

Ah, yes. The rose tinted spectre of Sam Allardyce. There is no denying that Allardyce is one of the best managers in recent times. Not at the biggest clubs, although he wasn't given time at Newcastle. But to keep Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham on an even keel, and do better than expected, is an achievement unmatched by many. And what did Gartside do? Gladly gave him his P45.

There is no knowing what would have happened if that money had been spent on the player that Big Sam thought would take us to the next level. We may be where we are now. We may not. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And Big Sam has always been a mercenary. But for every Championship goal that hits the back of our net. For every Zat Knight slip up. For every underachieving manager since, the malaise started the day Sam Allardyce, for whatever reason, walked out of our club. And the one person to blame for that is Phil Gartside. And for the good of the club, the team and the fans, he should do the decent thing and step aside. Take a lifetime board membership. Take a vice presidency (not presidency, he's no Sir Nat). But let someone with fresh eyes come in a do the job.

Mr Gartside, you've had enough time. And time's up.

Apologies, if you thought that this would solely be a trip down memory lane but I have always avoided calling for people's heads. Not that my opinions will count for anything down at T'Reebok. But there is a reason why my team is now different to my club. And the above is why I no longer feel that Bolton Wanderers are my club. Look, I don't want to go back to the days when we have a superstore in the corner of the ground. But I also don't want to go back to the days when we are playing in the third tier and I have a real fear of that. It doesn't keep me awake at night. Next door's dogs do that job just fine. But it does make me think sometimes. And then I get a cold sweat.

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for your continual readership over the past couple of years, and hope you continue to read under Al's stewardship. I am proud of what has been written, especially the Burnden Park disaster piece and the reason why I support Bolton. This site has been called poisonous and full of bile by such luminaries as Emma Davies, which should have you running to it every day.

You didn't think I'd leave without giving her the oxygen of publicity did you? For shame.

Thank you for the comments on Twitter and the various articles. They do mean a lot and it is with a heavy heart that I'm finishing. I may return in one form or another at some later point. We'll just have to see how life goes.

So, in the famous words of Zico Kelly, goodnightgodblessbyebyetakingthedogforawalkcantbeatmemamspie.

Writer:Quentin X
Date:Thursday January 10 2013
Time: 3:06PM


You know how I feel about your writing and your articles. You also know then, how saying all the usual stuff when someone leaves something, would sound like generic mush off a Hallmark card. All I'm going to say is, the biggest compliment I think I can give you: In the two years of suffering I've had to endure as a Bolton Wanderers supporter, your articles are the only things that have kept me sane.
10/01/2013 15:50:00
Sob...... Come back Quentin !
10/01/2013 15:56:00
This is my first comment on here and hopefully will be less negative than aussiemike (easy aussiemike, only joking). I would like to echo bwfc75s' sentiments. I've been an avid reader for a couple of years, through the lows and the so lows it makes the lows seem high, and you have always kept me entertained. Good luck with things moving forward. I reckon you'll miss it so much you'll be guesting before you know it. Cheers Mr X
10/01/2013 16:41:00
All the best to you Mr X. After a somewhat shaky start with your juvenile nick names for the players you have matured and entertained us all with your grown up writing! Thanks and good luck pal. Us Vital Bolton fans have been served well in the past few years by Richard McCormick and now by Quentin. A new era beckons.
10/01/2013 16:56:00
I forgot to say that I could not agree more with what you have to say about Darkside. It is staggering how this breed of "person" manages to survive in "business" when if we do the slightest thing wrong at work we are gone.
10/01/2013 17:00:00
Thank you for all the time you have invested in making honest comments about the various matters that have occured over the last few years. It appears the good times are over for now and they look like being gone for quite a while. In truth, we just do not know when the club will hit rock bottom but it could happen if Dougie does not get us playing, defending and getting back to back wins real soon. Enjoy what you are off to do.
10/01/2013 17:24:00
As the others said it's been great reading the atrcoles over the past few years. Lets hope you can pop in every now and then.
10/01/2013 17:39:00
We'll miss you, Mr X. Good luck with the alcoholism. And, for the record, I think you were a bit too nice about Mr Gartside. Don't forget that he's on the board of the FA and proposed a two-tier Premier League with no promotion from or relegation to the remainder of the Football League. And that was just over a year after Allardyce left. He knew he'd got it wrong then (Allardyce arrived only a few weeks after Gartside took his current job) and he knew he'd still got it wrong when he tried to revive the ploy another year afterwards. Gartside got lucky once right at the beginning, and has been getting it vastly wrong ever since. The guy would destroy the very fabric of English football itself just to make sure he keeps his fat wage packet.
10/01/2013 17:52:00
I can't really remember how long ago I first stumbled upon Vital Bolton; hazarding a guess it was about 2 years ago. What I enjoyed from the start was your combination of measured writing (neither partisan, cloyingly positive nor caustically negative), considered opinion, informative content and humour. Your writing talent really has burgeoned over that time and you have written some pieces of towering quality that were genuinely moving; I hope you carry on writing somewhere and continue to develop as a writer. The other thing about the site that has developed over time is the emergence of a community here. A community of diverse souls with very varied opinions united by two things; a common irrational irresitible devotion to Bolton Wanderers being one of them. The other has been you, Mr X. Throughout your tenure as Glorious Leader your warmth, honesty, commitment and good humour have shone from your writing. We will all miss you. Thank you very much.
10/01/2013 18:42:00
Hang on. I take all that gushing ********* back. You lied to us. You said you would reveal the reason we could not have a "Nobody" on the MoM vote. You didn't. Mr X we demand you return to the despatch box to answer the charge...
10/01/2013 18:46:00
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