BWFC: You Started It!
I believe... No, I know... we have one of the best Vital communities on the whole site. When you guys are in full-flow- even though pulling in the same direction- you all raise differing yet valid points. When you are suffering, though hard to read, rarely do you let your frustrations boil over. Your wit remains and your respect for other people's views are admirable. Your comments of late, although unprompted, have been the same dilemmas circling my head. So, rather than putting a single-line statement in the section provided, I bring you this article. Hopefully, your comments about the situation will continue and maybe blend into other areas for discussion. There's no reason why they shouldn't continue. They're no doubt the same dilemmas Dougie will be discussing, as we discuss the dilemmas he'll be discussing, we'll be discussing the same dilemmas as he discusses the dilemmas at the same time we'll... Wow, I fell into a Big Bang Theory, infinite loop there. So, without further ado, here goes... Top priority for promotion next season: shore up the defence or add goals to the attack? Here's my opinions on the subject... What? You guys started this!
There's no doubt goals win you games. You have to score a goal to win a game and secure 3 points. You could argue, therefore, goals are the most important aspect of a winning team. If this statement was placed under the nose of a complete layperson, it's impossible to argue against. So, having missed out on promotion, was it lack of goals for Bolton which proved decisive? Did Bolton not score enough goals this term to win enough games to gain promotion to the Premier League? Let's see...
Bolton Wanderers played 46 league games and scored 69 goals. Therefore, Bolton Wanderers scored 23 more goals than necessary to win EVERY game they played in the league this term. Frivolous statement? Maybe, but scoring 69 goals in a season can only be insufficient for a successful promotion campaign, if the amount of goals conceded is greater than the amount of games played. If we had conceded 46 goals (a-goal-a-game) rather than the 61 we did concede this term, would a +23 goal difference have been a 'lack of goals' problem? When and how those goals are scored and conceded within the games is a different matter completely, but tally-wise, a +23 goal difference would be adequate for a promotion push. Is it, therefore, more important for Dougie Freedman to add to their goal-tally this summer? Or, is it to reduce the amount of goals conceded? In other words- and how I see the problem: Would it be easier for Dougie and his scouts to find players to add to the goals total or easier for them to find players to reduce goals conceded? I believe, not only would it be easier to find defenders better than what we have already to reduce the goals-conceded bill, but also cheaper than finding a 25-30 goal a season striker. Which is what we all want, right? A prolific striker? Are you sure?
This season has proved, having a prolific striker on your books does not guarantee success or promotion. It doesn't even guarantee your team's goal-tally for the season, increasing beyond those of your competitors. Not only does having a Jordan Rhodes, Charlie Austin or Glen Murray on your books not guarantee promotion, it also means you're putting a 30 goal basket in the hands, or boots, of a single player. That player gets injured... Then what?
If Blackburn, already with with 30-goal Jordan Rhodes on their books, went to their neighbours and poached 30-goal Charlie Austin for next season, would Blackburn have the benefit of 60 goals from two players next term? Almost certainly not. It doesn't work like that, especially at this level. Blackburn, or any team in the Championship, do not create enough chances for two strikers to tally 30 goals each. They would have to share the 30 between themselves, which is where my point begins. I believe Bolton Wanders, at present, have enough goals in them to secure promotion next season. No, I don't mean the basic 46, I mean the 70+ to mount a challenge. I believe, if adequately played next campaign, C. Davies, Sordell, Ngog and young Eaves, have 10-15 goals each in them. Add that to another 10 from Eagles and you already have 50-70 goals in the team from 5 players alone. Of course, it won't be that simple. But it's a lot simpler and more plausible than going out and finding a 20-25 goal striker.
If we add to the striking corps this summer, obviously I wouldn't be disappointed. If we added James Vaughan from Norwich, say... Did you hear me, Doug? James Vaughan from Norwich? That would be superb. But I would much rather secure Craig Dawson from West Brom, any day of the week. Shoring up the back-line not only decreases goals conceded, it also allows your forward players to express themselves without the fear or reprisal for not doing their defensive duties when a goal is conceded. I know the 'team' is responsible for defending, but the front players' jobs are to create or score goals. That's what they're paid for. You wouldn't blame the defence if the team weren't scoring enough goals if roles were reversed.
We all want Bolton Wanderers to be successful. We all want Bolton Wanderers to entertain us. But when you're trying to solve the teams inadequacies, don't confuse the two. All adding a 'Jordan Rhodes' does for a team is give the crowd a name to chant, it only increases the player's tally rather than the team's. Missing the chances created, however, has been a problem, granted. But several of our front lads are still young and finding their feet in their profession, never-mind the club. They deserve a full season under Freedman, surely?
If Dougie this summer can solve our concession-rate by 10-11 goals, I'll be happy. Oh, I forgot to mention, all them saved goals, they all have to be erased from the away-record column. How do you manage that, Doug? Maybe the problem with our season wasn't a tally problem? Looking at the away record, maybe the problem was all in the players' heads? Good luck with that, Mr Freedman. We're all watching in anticipation.