Coyle’s Bolton move is another footballing mystery – or is it?

January 6, 2010


One day perhaps we’ll understand how Wes Brown has amassed 21 England caps and maybe someone will eventually explain how Robinho is worth 35 million pounds but I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend the reason for Owen Coyle planning to¬†ditch Burnley¬†and go to Bolton Wanderers.

Coyle turned down the Celtic job last year because he wanted to go with Burnley into the Premier League and said only last week that he was “privileged to be building something special” at the club.

Yet within a heartbeat of Bolton sacking Gary Megson, wheels began turning to get Coyle in as his replacement.

As a former striker with Bolton in the early 1990s he said the club has a “special place in my heart” but it seems a bizarre move.

Both clubs are likely to spend the rest of the season fighting against relegation and while Bolton have probably got the deeper resources on and off the pitch, they are hardly Manchester United.

Coyle has built a reputation as an intelligent manager who develops passing teams who play the game “in the right way” and it was always unlikely to be too long before one of the league’s “bigger clubs” came calling.

Whether Bolton fit that bill is another matter – Burnley fans certainly don’t think so.

However, having said all that, if Bolton are offering Coyle a monster pay rise that Burnley – and even Celtic – can’t match, then who is to tell him to turn it down.

I’d wager the vast majority of fans who happily condemn players and managers for their lack of loyalty would switch their own jobs in an instant if a rival firm offered to double or triple their salary.

PHOTO: Burnley coach Owen Coyle reacts after their English Premier League soccer match against Everton in Burnley August 23, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis


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I don’t think he will be on much more than at Burnley where has was reportedly being paid a million a year plus various nice bonuses.

He will get a bigger transfer budget though. Word is that there was a row over Burnley’s failure to break the bank for him to sign David Nugent for a record fee and record salary – I think Coyle was on hisown on that one.

Bizarrely he kept Nugent on the bench for most of his loan spell.

Bolton have money for transfers – they have run up a nice debt doing so. Burnley have no debt and they don’t plan on getting into debt.

That’s the difference these days – if you run a sensible budgeted football club you have no chance of competing.

As for fans being hypocritical for criticising a manager for leaving for a better financial deal. I suppose you could say that Mitch but what about this scenerio:

You are the head of a major project in the company, designed to create and/or save hundreds of jobs, a role which has huge importance for your local community as well as the company you work for. You preach (and that is the right word in this case) about loyalty, values, honesty and community. And then a rival company come along – and you sneak off without saying a word and give them all the info about your previous employers and their staff…..

You see why people are a bit miffed?

Simple as that.

Posted by billyhamilton | Report as abusive

Hi Mitch,

As a Bolton fan it’s easy to become annoyed at your team constantly being put down and underrated but there is little point. No matter what you do or achieve, football pundits don’t like ‘smaller’ clubs hogging the limelight, it’s that simple.

They much prefer to eulogise about their unfulfilled careers or what Wayne and Colette had for their tea last night. Well done Wolves by the way, if Fergie had rested half of his team against you, no-one would’ve batted an eyelid.

It’s better to do your talking on the pitch and I’m sure wether it’s Owen Coyle or Alan Curbishley at the helm in a weeks time, we’ll still be playing our tenth consecutive season in the premiership, come next August.

Give any of the so-called top six clubs our budget and see how many of them are still competing in the top flight in 10 years time…Hhmmm.

A NOTW journalist predicted at the weekend that we’d go down and added the charming comment of; ‘good riddance to bad rubbish.’

Comments like these are unprofessional and don’t help sport or football in any way but some journalists (and some referees for that matter) tend to think, ‘Oh, it’s only a small town club such as Bolton, Burnley, Blackburn etc. We can say AND get away with anything we like.’

They’re very brave these guys, I wonder if they would have the guts to insult a club with a much bigger fan base?

As for the mystery, Owen knows the set up at the Reebok. Sound leadership from the boardroom, great stadium and facilities, decent budget and great unity between fans and players.

We don’t really care what outsiders think. Our record speaks for itself.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been to 2 League Cup finals. 2 F.A Cup semi-finals. Won the ‘championship’ with 98 points and 100 goals.(Thanks, Tranmere for denying us the 100 points with the last kick of the final game, we’ll get you back one day and when we do we’ll celebrate it just as much as you did. Nah, maybe not that much!)

We’ve come back from 2 goals and a conceded penalty down to beat Reading 4-3 AET in the best ever play-off final. Finished in the top 8 of the premiership 4 seasons running. Qualified for Europe twice and played attractive football along the way.

Sorry, as Graham Souness pointed out just after we’d beaten his Newcasle team AGAIN, playing, acording to the official stats, less than 50% of long balls than his team had played that day ‘Bolton are just a long ball team.’ Nice one, Graham.

Unfortunately, these kind of comments are perpitrated by all under performing managers when their team gets a hiding from a club with much lesser resources.

Anyway, is this not a better record than the likes of Newcastle United and Manchester City?

But City have now got a foreign owner who wants to throw plenty of money at the club, good luck to them. However football will always be about the fans, they will still be there long after the money men have grown bored of tinkering with our wonderful game.

Just hope in City’s case that they win something under the new regeime, so it stops them talking about United for more than 5 minutes. Bitter blues, us, never. Only joking boys, let’s talk about ‘Fergietime’, I’ve got a couple of hours to kill.

Owen Coyle is a shrewd man and a good manager. He knows Bolton is a good move, that’s why he commands a huge salary, unlike most journalists that don’t know a great deal about football, the people’s sport.

A word of sympathy for all Clarets fans. Again, Burnley is a great club with a great tradition. there’s no prawn sandwhich eaters down at Turf Moor just genuine fans that follow their team through thick and thin.

Wether Owen stays or leaves, Good luck.


Posted by Andy4 | Report as abusive

Well I hear ya Billy – to an extent. All football managers have to preach loyalty in the same way that strikers kiss the badge but it’s unfortunately become just part of the facade of the modern (Premier League) game. I fully applaud clubs who work with and for their local communities and who try to retain some sort of link – even if they too have to buy in foreign imports to try to maintain their status.
I love the Burnley story and think it’s a shame Coyle has baled out – but I also think it’s too easy for us fans and observers to point the finger from afar.
And I hear ya Andy – all 1,000 words of you. I didn’t seek to belittle Bolton but stand by the assertation that it was not the glorious next step most people would have expected for Coyle.
Long-ball/short ball, I don’t give a monkey’s and am well aware how these tags stick regardless of the reality (one of the reasons I didn’t and never have described Bolton as a long-ball team).
Yes it’s a solid record that should be the envy of all but half-a-dozen clubs but personally I can’t see the appeal for such an up-and-coming manager, especially after he turned down the Celtic job.
I’m happy to be proved wrong if Bolton surge up the table and next year challenge for the top four but can’t help feeling he would have had more fun finishing 17th with Burnley.

Posted by Mitch | Report as abusive

Okay, why is the article premise flawed? It implies that true success is measured simply with respect to overt size of club. But this is not just something that should be calibrated with respect to the relative success/achievement of the clubs in question. So yes, Bolton’s achievements may be deemed as significant as greater achievements at bigger club. However…

… the real issue is durability in this management game and surely steady, rather than meteoric, progress. Nobody has accomplished that feat quite like Martin O’Neill. Sam Allardyce took the poisoned chalice at Newcastle and Mark Hughes recently exited stage left from Manchester City (money has not so far changed much at that club in terms of overt achievement and viability of ‘under achieving’ managers).

Has David Moyes stayed too long at Everton? So maybe staying too long at a relatively small club is managerial suicide just as much as getting the time to leave right but then making the premature choice of a huge club with huge expectations.

As well as O’Neill consider Redknapp, another who has done the dance but built his stock by doing what he does best – rescuing a number of smaller club situations, time and again. He built solid foundations and has emerged as the one who IS taking football at Spurs forward, finally!

What do O’Neill and Redknapp (and might we begin to ask, Coyle) evidence in common? A shrewd knack in conjunction with discerning ambition, perhaps? A clever manager is truly clever because he sees that his path in this modern footballing jungle is a graveyard for the starstruck. Wending your way to the pinnacle, maybe in a convoluted, ‘unfathomable’ manner, is the mark of true genius?



Posted by Dormouse | Report as abusive