Are Bolton Wandering into obscurity under Owen Coyle? Or does the problem lie deeper than his tactical naïveté?
Fifteen wins in fifty-five league matches. Statistics don’t tell the whole story; this one says a lot. Since their infamous FA Cup semi-final against Stoke, Bolton have won fifteen league games, drawn seven and lost thirty-three. Owen Coyle might be out of a job soon.
The fans are certainly screaming for his resignation – or sacking. Something, they figure, has gone seriously wrong; after all it wasn’t so long ago that they were at Wembley.
I might suggest that something was never right in the first place. Cup runs often deceive – remember Cardiff in 2008 or Porto in 2004 – and Bolton haven’t had much to show apart from a Wembley date since Coyle took over, a period during which matters went from ‘meh’ to ‘bad’.
Consider then that since they sat pretty in sixth place after at the beginning of March 2011 they have lost the brilliant Stuart Holden to a stupid Johnny Evans tackle, Lee Chung-Yong to broken legs, Johan Elmander to Galatasaray and the formerly-imperious Gary Cahill to Chelsea. The list is a bit longer and makes no mention of the traumatising Muamba incident.
All of these losses combined with a continued reliance on an ageing Kevin Davies, whose wonderful form has long faded, make one wonder how matters could be better than they are.
Coyle could not have bought to replace, the club is not strong enough financially, and the quality players he has on his books have spent most of the past year-and-a-half injured or out of form.
As a direct result, they followed up a 46-point season in 2011 (finished 14th) with a 36-point season in 2012. Coyle must take a share of the blame. The dressing room seems lost and tactics are at times inadequate, there’s no way but out for the gaffer. Still, the inevitable change of leadership at the Reebok should be met with cautious enthusiasm.
The team is not as strong as it once was and the financial dire straits that the club is in makes it difficult to keep the players that shone in the Premier League. It will be still more difficult to attract players who could instantly lift the team to that level.
In absence of an Allardyce-like replacement for Coyle, the rebuilding process might take a while. The inconvenient truth is that the problems lie deeper than Coyle’s tactical naïveté.
A twenty-something whose love affair with football has ruined more relationships than he’s been in. Florian is now trying to put things right by ranting about it. He has recently been forced to shave his moustache and he can be found on Twitter.Tags: Bolton Wanderers, Championship, Owen Coyle
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