So, I’ve been putting off writing something about Bolton since the start of the season. Games have come and gone and moral has been catapulting between ‘hmmm’ and ‘oh good God no!’ week in week out and I’ve never really felt fully confident in my team’s ability to adapt from the Premier League to the Championship.
However, I’ve just got in from the sub zero temperatures at the Millwall match. I’m hungry, I haven’t had a beer (giving up for January and all that) and I’ve just thawed out my hands using the microwave, some sellotape and a few sheets of tin foil (that’s safe… right?)
I’ll be honest, I fully expected us to get promoted at the first time of asking. I fully expected us to finish as champions. I fully expected to see a group of players show their pride for not just their club, but their game, and really give us a season to rival the magical promotion winning season we had under Colin Todd.
What I’ve experienced, so far anyway, is a small handful of players (SKD, Spearing…) who give their all. Then we’ve got some brilliant players who, unfortunately, go missing. Completely. Chris Eagles, Mark Davies… even Chungy to an extent are all capable of running rings around every single team in this league and yet they seem afraid of getting stuck in, drift out of position constantly and seem to panic when it comes down to decision making.
And then there’s the Quasimodo’s of the team – Zat Knight. Tyrone Mears. Adam Bogdan. There’s more but I’m already welling up just typing those names out. Knight is just awful. To the point of laughter between myself and some of the fans around me. Considering he’s our vice captain he only ever seems to have something say when we concede and usually it’s blaming someone else. Jay Spearing has more presence on the field than Knight and he’s on loan. And far younger.
Walking back from the ground today I overheard a fan in front of me say “our aim now should be to get to fifty points as soon as possible and make sure we don’t get relegated…”
It’s at that point I decided not to fill this first instalment with red faced ranting and pure negativity.
Even playing as we have I can’t see that happening. I’m no expert. I’m not a sports scientist or stat man or football history fanatic. But I can confidently say if we end up in a relegation battle come the end of the season I’ll do the Golden Gamble Draw at half time vs. Blackpool at the end of the season wearing only Lofty’s head.
We’re now ten points from the play-offs. We have injuries returning, Dougie starting to bring in some of the players HE wants for HIS team and, while it’s not looking like we’ll hit the dizzy heights of 100 points and 100 goals, we’re certainly not in a position to be crying into our pints and pies… yet!
Sixteenth in the league sounds more depressing than it actually is. We’re ten points from a play-off position in a league were everybody is beating everybody else.
There’s a lot more to say and, no doubt, many more twists in our season’s tale. I’ve no doubt we’re staying up… but are we going up?
‘til next time!
Written by Anthony Riley, We Are Going Up’s Bolton Wanderers Blogger
Anthony tweets at @CapnTone