Monday, 9 November 2009

Gary Megson keeps going at Bolton

I was at Villa Park this weekend to see Aston Villa's 5-1 crushing of Bolton Wanderers. The visitors lived upto their name, wandering aimlessly. GREVILLE WATERMAN discusses Ginger Mourinho's future.
One of football's less heralded anniversaries came and went unnoticed; Gary Megson celebrated his second birthday as Bolton boss but there were few signs of celebration around the Reebok.
Indeed many Bolton fans appear more likely to burn their manager in effigy rather than present him with a birthday cake or other mark of their esteem.To outsiders - OK then, Southern Softies like me, this would seem a totally unreasonable attitude as Bolton seem to be established in the Premier League after looking certain to be relegated two seasons ago.

Surely Megson deserves the freedom of Bolton for performing a miracle in keeping the total car crash of a team he inherited from Sammy Lee in the top league two seasons ago when the fat lady had already begun her warbling with the last rites almost concluded.

Last season saw consolidation, clear of relegation and a similar finish seems assured this term.
So why are the fans so anti-Megson? Perhaps they were spoilt by the revered Sam Allardyce´s squad that so over performed and finished in the top 8 more often than anyone outside the Big Four and was so feared by their supposed betters in the Premier League.

Perhaps Megson, a client of super agent Mark Curtis, a crony of Chairman Phil Gartside was seen as the easy and cheap option when Lee was finally put out of his misery.

Maybe supporters so accepting of the percentage football produced by the Allardyce squad have reservations about the negative 4-5-1 formation customarily favoured by Megson with flair a dirty word at the Reebok.
They still rely on set pieces and pressing for most of their goals but there are players of real quality in the squad such as Cahill, Taylor, Davies and new Korean sensation Lee (Chung-Yong in this instance, rather than Sammy).
Megson, it has to be said makes few friends with some of his public statements, defending the indefensible when he backed Sir Alex Ferguson after his non-apology to Referee Alan Wiley. He also anatagonised Bolton fans by whining about the size and quality of his squad.
So what's the truth about Gary Megson? The jury's still out but this is a key season for Bolton as they seek to re-establish themselves in the middle rump of the Premier League. Their final position will go a long way to deciding whether Megson enjoys a third anniversary as manager.

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