Megson Deserved The Sack! (Don’t blame the fans)

02Jan10

Paul Merson said:
“The problem Megson had was that he had to follow Sam Allardyce. He had no chance because Big Sam did such an unbelievable job at the Reebok.”

Read his stupid article here. (respond to him and tell him how wrong he is)
Talk about BWFC here ( no sign up needed – just say what you think)

I say:

That is far from what the problem was. I am sick of the media constantly regurgitating the same old stuff that they all pick up by reading each others’ stuff.

Megson did not have to follow Sam Allardyce. He followed Sammy Lee. Technically. But regardless, it was not living up to Big Sam’s reputation that was difficult to Megson. Bolton fans are not difficult to please, spoiled or unfair. They are no different from any other set of fans.

I’ll tell you why.

True, most fans didn’t want Megson to come and manage us. But why? We knew of his reputation, his style of football and we had heard about his strained relationship with fans. Were we all still hankering after Sam Allardyce? No. Many, many Bolton fans were more than happy for Sam to leave, they didn’t hate him, they just knew it was time for a change.

Sam’s football had become stale and predictable. We had become increasingly defensive under Allardyce, and as the stars (Okocha, Hierro etc) began to dry up we had all started to become uncomfortable watching our team play. We didn’t like long ball tactic or bullish play any more than the rest of the watching world. We were looking for a change. When we heard Megson was favourite to take over we learned about his history and his style.  apparently he was even more into his long ball style and even more defensive than we were under Big Sam. It didn’t sound like the way to go.

When Megson was appointed, although the fans were not ecstatic, we mostly sat back and said “show us what you can do.” We gave him a chance, and we got behind him. He had a great start, we drew away against Bayern Munich and we beat Manchester United. The fans were as much behind Megson as anyone. We were all together and the doubts were already fading.

But then what?

From an outside point of view Megson was doing great. But only on paper, and that is very different sometimes to what the bigger picture really shows. We got out of the drop zone and managed to avoid relegation by the skin of our teeth. Great! All of the fans were delighted we stayed up. That is all Megson was asked to do and that’s all that we wanted.

But the cracks were beginning to show behind the scenes. Being a manager is a lot more than picking the team and sending them out onto the pitch. The role of manager is being a leader and a man of the people.  Megson failed on most counts and eventually on the football front too.

He snubbed Bolton hero’s and long time servants Stelios and Ivan Campo by releasing them utterly without ceremony. To fans it was a bit of a kick in the teeth, especially when Megson failed to empathise with people. 
Even during Megson’s first season the football was very poor.  We were never expecting a top 6 finish, not even top half. We just wanted to see a team of players trying their hardest and working for the manager and the fans. And we wanted a bit of excitement on the pitch, some passion and some skill.

When things started to slide they got from bad, to worse to unbearable by the end.  Between Megson taking over and him being relentlessly booed in his final game as boss many, many things took place which caused damage to the club/supporter relationship.

Bolton reached the last 16 in the Uefa Cup and several thousand supporters travelled abroad with great expectation only to find a team of reserves representing us. We were promptly dumped out of the cup. An unapologetic Megson didn’t endear himself to fans when during an interview he told unhappy supporters that they obviously don’t understand football.  What kind of manager says that to the clubs fans?  How many other sets of fans would accept that? Would a Newcastle or Man City manager get away with it?

The Megson brand of football got worse.  Stories leaked about players being unhappy with the manager, unhappy with the way we play. The fans too were unhappy with paying to watch poor, poor football week in week out. It’s all too easy for an outsider to say,”What are you complaining for? He kept you in the Premiership”. Again and again the media made the mistake and continue to make the mistake that all Bolton fans were unhappy because we had come to expect top half finishes and that we were acting bratty because we expected it to continue. The amount of times I have read some reporter say “Bolton were over achieving with Allardyce and now they are not happy because they have not maintained it, they need to be realistic”.  The unhappiness is not bourne from our league position.  We have been rock bottom of the league many times, relegated, nearly relegated, thrashed 6-0 but never been quite so unhappy. 

Our displeasure came from watching our team roll over and die at home every time they played.  We would sit 6 players at the back and nobody up front.  We would be playing against a bottom of the league team and trying to nick a 0-0 draw. Megson would blatantly not pick our best players and instead pick his friends in the dressing room, and he admitted as much.  We would be losing at home and Megson would bring our attackers off and put a defender and a defensive midfielder on as if the best we could hope for was to minimise the damage.  The team, including our one striker, would sit in our own box for 80 minutes per game, we hardly saw an attack built by football for months.  Our only outlet was a free kick in our own half which was inevitably launched long in hope of a “knock down” and a scrambled goal.  Nobody has witnessed football like it.

If the results had been piling in for us and we sat comfortably up the league then we could hardly have moaned even if we didn’t like it.  But the truth was we were battling relegation. Permanently. We, as fans, don’t mind a relegation battle, we are more experienced than anyone.  What we minded was the way we could see our team falling apart before our eyes.  The points we did get on the board, although nobody likes to, we had to admit we were getting lucky and that sooner or later the wheels would come off.

The thing that really worried us though was post match interviews where, after being dominated and battered for ninety minutes, Megson would come on and duly proceed to tell everyone “we played some decent stuff.” We were sick of seeing it. We would have preferred to lose every game and go down fighting than whimper into and out of every match. Ultimately we go to football for entertainment.  The team is there for the fans, and without the fans there is no team.

Megson didn’t care about the fans or what they thought. On more than one occasion he branded Bolton supporters as “fickle” and “pathetic.” We knew players were unhappy too.  Elmander, Smolarek, Riga, Samuel, Campo, Stelios and others had all expressed in some way their dislike of either the manager or the tactics we used. I imagine more stories of unrest will reveal themselves in time.

Megson pleaded for time to turn the club around and promised that we would see what he was doing.  Again,on paper a 13th place finish in the 2008/09 season seems ok. But in reality we were the luckiest team in the world not to go down. I don’t think any Bolton fan would deny that based on our performances we could not have complained at going down.  We witnessed the worst football we have ever seen at the Reebok and if we needed a win to stay up toward then end of the season we would have had no chance. By then Megson had completely drained the team of any passion or drive.

By the summer of 2009 Megson had cleared out most of our old team and replaced them with his own choice of players. In the mean time he had spent over £40 million, more than any Bolton manager in history. Many did think he could take us no further and yet still stuck with him and the team for the start of the new campaign. We started at home to Sunderland. We played 1 striker, long ball, boring football. Nothing had changed. We lost.  We went on to play badly against Hull, Stoke and even Tranmere. We lost badly against Wolves and Blackburn and in the end hung on for a draw against Hull in Megson’s last game. During that time we went on a run where we were the only team to concede a goal in every game of the season. We shipped 21 goals in a 7 game spell. Won 1 in 9 games. And played dire football for nearly every minute of the season so far. Under Megson we also saw a period where our strikers failed to score in 29 out of 40 league games (even in Kevin Davies most prolific ever season).  

Nobody who did not attend every Bolton match (or most) during Megson’s reign has the right to criticise the fans or the sacking of Megson.  All the fans cannot be wrong.  And mob doesn’t rule because if it did Megson would have been gone months ago.  Megson took us on our worst ever losing streak, most games conceded in a row, worst attendances ever at the Reebok, most unhappy players, and was responsible the poorest football I have ever seen. It was not just the odd game where we were not great, it was constant. Every game was dreaded in the end. It was embarrassing. This was the Megson way. And nobody could take it any more.

Megson was worse in his treatment of the Bolton supporters than they were in their treatment of him. The problem Megson had was not of following Big Sam, nor was it the fans, Megson’s problem was and is being himself.

Bolton have the worst passing record in the premier league and have completed less than 3000 passes this season. Most teams are well above the 5000 mark and some above 7000. That figure demonstrates our use of the ball. Bolton’s best quality and most consistent players continue to be Jasskaleinan, Gardner and Kevin Davies, three players who started life at Bolton long before Megson and have out lasted his 40 million pound spending spree. All that money and all those players brought in and he s still relying on the players from yesteryear.

Please note, I wrote this from memory. If I could be bothered looking further into things there would be many many more things to back up my argument. Eg, quotes from Megson, other fans vies, statistics about our performances and how we were lucky to stay up, Megsons tactics were the reason we nearly went down not the reason we stayed up.

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9 Responses to “Megson Deserved The Sack! (Don’t blame the fans)”

  1. 1 D M

    Absolutely spot on in every respect.
    If all our detractors had seen more than our cursory 3 minutes on MOTD they to would realise the truth of this article.

  2. 2 jimmy gallego

    spot on.
    last season the wanderers drew their way to 13th place – it was only useless other teams which prevented us getting relegated.

    thank god hes gone and their is enough time for someone else to sort things out.

    lets not forget that there are plenty of decent players at the club – they just need a manager

  3. 3 Big sams blue and white army

    You should be ashamed of yourselves Bolton fans, you constantly booed Gary Megson and got on his back. From the moment he came to BWFC you gave him a hard time…. what kind of fans do that?? You should have been getting on the back of you chairman not your boss/players. Your attendances have been pathetic for the size of Bolton and you haven’t done anything about it. We took 4000 to your place and ripped you to shreds. I’m not surprised your going down with support like you have. You barely sung one song against us. Sort your club out, you’re letting down the name of north-west football.

    • 4 thefreelancer

      We can sort it out now, getting rid of Megson was step one, if you like him so much let him come there and ruin your club, see how loud you sing then!

      • 5 Big sams blue and white army

        You’re right, you can’t sort it out now, but by posting articles online saying its not the fans fault is laughable. You’re going down and you fully deserve it, the majority of football fans would agree and on a personal note, i’m ecstatic that you’re going down for your treatment of him. However, for north-west football it’s a shame.

        Arte et labore.

      • 6 thefreelancer

        If only you witnessed the utter rubbish we did, you would understand. I will respect your opinion when you go and watch two years of Bolton Wanderers videos and Megson interviews. When you are educated on the subject you can have an opinion, until then your opinion is mostly irrelevant.

  4. 7 MR

    He clearly needed to be sacked, what a boring man. We were so happy when you stole him from Leicester – apparently we pocketed the best part of £2m for that piece of business! The blog I wrote about him is the only thing that is not laced with mediocrity.

    http://thensaturdaycomes.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/megsons-reign-of-terrorble-football-is-over/

    • 8 thefreelancer

      Yes you are right! He came in a nd ruined us any many ways. Not just by spending 40 million but by disrupting the club on so many levels. He keeps having interviews and sayng what a state Bolton were in when he arrived because we were in the bottom three. He went on to say that whoever succeeds him will have an easy job because he has done all the hard work. OHe also keeps saying we are 3 points away from 13th. If we look back to two and a half years ago when he took charge, we were in the relegation zone, but also 3 points from 13th place. Just like now. He had 2 years or more to get it right and 40 million pounds. He alienated the fans, brought us the poorest football ever seen and divided loyalties amongst players, supporters ad other members of the club. When Megson took over Bolton were established as a top half team, we hapened to be having a low season, Megson refers to it as if we were a destroyed club destined for relegation. I pity any club who gets stuck with him. He made 4 million pounds of us too. I dont know how some fans can’t empathise with us, I would like to see their change of heart when he ruins their club.

  5. 9 jimmy gallego

    what makes me laugh is some smelly blackburn rovers person thinking he can wind us up by saying ‘we’ve got big sam now ner ner na ner ner’. you can keep him.

    by the time he left, big sam was a complete waste of time – he foolishly thought he was going to be the next england manager – he was bored with bolton – he couldn’t be bothered to try.

    just wait and see how big sam does at ewood park in a years time when he gets fed up with fighting the enevitable relegation battle that a mediocre club will always be stuck in.

    with a bit of luck our not very bright chairman may, this time, find a decent replacement for big sam, and we can put the memory of the last two failures behind us


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