The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Date: Friday 25th January 2008It’s been emotional. It’s been bloody emotional. We’ve been bottom of the league, sacked our manager, replaced him with someone so unpopular he had to face protests before taking the job, looked unbeatable at home, looked unrepeatable away and sold our star striker – and the season's only half-way through!
There have been good times, bad times and downright ugly times over the first half of the season. Whoever said we were boring to watch?!
SIGNING O'BRIEN, McCANN AND GUTHRIE
Sammy Lee decided that our squad was way too thin and needed more options, so he brought in a multitude of players. Many of them had us crying "Who?", "Why?" or "WHAT?!!" and the likes of Jlloyd Samuel and Heidur Helguson have yet to prove their worth. But Danny Guthrie, Gavin McCann and especially Andy O’Brien have proven surprisingly good signings by the wee man, and all three of them can claim they have indeed strengthened our squad; they've certainly managed to push themselves into the first team, two as regular picks.
We started our continental odyssey very uneasily, and I must admit I really couldn't see us getting through to the next round. Then, from out of nowhere, we found away form – and not only that, but we found it with only half the first team! We've got some great results against some big clubs before, but to draw at Bayern... No matter what happens for the rest of this season, no matter where we are come the end, this season will always be remembered for the time SKD bulged the net in Munich. Then for good measure we followed it up by being the only English club ever to beat Red Star in their Belgrade back-yard. Which is nice.
BEATING THE SCUM
Come on, it really doesn't get much better then beating the Redsox at the 'Bok while keeping a clean sheet, does it? After nearly three decades of waiting, Wanderers got the home win they prize more than any other. Just the thought of owd rednose b*llocking his players at the end of the match for losing to such a tiny club doesn't half make me smile!
THE ELK GOES FOR 15 MILLION
OK, it could be debated that losing Anelka isn't a good thing, and I'd agree. That isn't why it's here. The good thing was actually getting a big profit on a player – selling him on our own terms, rather than getting bullied into letting one of our best players go to a "big club" for pittance.
APPOINTING GARY MEGSON
The ginger genius has proven a great deal of people wrong (including me). He came in and showed his perception of our team by immediately tightening up our defence. It wasn't easy to do, but he got us back to being hard to beat; he's almost got the 'Bok back to being a fortress. His Bolton Wanderers CV already includes beating Man United, drawing at Bayern and being the first English team to win at Red Star Belgrade, and he's been here less than three months! He's shown some cunning during matches as well, with some good substitutions and tactical changes. Two that spring to mind are moving McCann from right back into the centre in Munich, and bringing Stelios on against Derby at home. There are a few things that niggle me about the bloke, like having such a defence-minded bench, but I'll not moan too much if he carries on taking us up the league...
APPOINTING SAMMY LEE
Oh, how we wanted him to succeed! Nice guy, brilliant coach, but not a manager. Signed some gems, but signed some dross too. Yet it was his tactics that had everyone scratching their heads – especially the way he seemed to ignore the fact that our defence was absolute dog-w*nk! Then, if you hadn't cringed enough watching the match, you always had the post-match interview ("We'll take the positives..."). He really should have taken the Sam Allardyce approach to the BBC. Still, at least Gartside was big enough to admit he was wrong and stepped in before things got really bad. Good luck in the future, Sammy. We wish you all the best, fella.
LOSING TO ALLARDYCE ON DAY ONE
It should have been so different. We should have sent a clear message to fatface, especially as we were still smarting from everything that had gone on pre-season (tapping up our players, sending a mini-bus to steal our backroom boys...). No matter what kind of brave face we put on, that still f*cking hurt!
PUBLIC REACTION TO MEGSON'S APPOINTMENT
OK, so almost everyone was sceptical (to say the least) when Gartside announced the successor to Sammy Lee. Yet those idiots that stood outside the 'Bok shouting abuse at him before he'd even entered the damn place made me ashamed to be a Wanderer. I'd love to know what they're feeling now. They'd probably still say he's sh*t. Ignorant idiots!
Gerald Cid must think "For crying out loud!" is a traditional English terrace chant. The bloke can't head, can't tackle, can't pass and has absolutely no timing or positional sense whatsoever. Watching this bozo made me want us to re-sign Pedersen. He was that bad.
If Cid's song is "For crying out loud", Braaten's anthem is "You lazy f*ck!!" The phrase must have rung in his ears almost every game he played. Lazy, clueless and disinterested. Waste of money.
IVAN CAMPO'S DISINTEGRATION
Love the guy, but come on, it's gone hasn't it? Surely he shouldn't be starting matches anymore? Megson saw it was time for Speed to move on; I hope he can see it's time for Campo too.
HOLDSWORTH ON THE RADIO
Anyone else throw a shoe at their radio? Or was it just me?
I know we're in a spot of bother, but come on, at least have a go at one of the cups! OK, we're still in Europe, but Megson still hasn't once put out his strongest team for a game. Hopefully that will all change against Atletico Madrid.
There are plenty of other talking points but those are the ones that stand out for me. Boring boring Bolton? Not a chance!!