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[Archived] Bolton Game 0-1


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In a rare drunken moment a few weeks ago I volunteered to write the Bolton home game match preview. I’ve decided to write it in two parts, first of all there is the traditional question and answer session with an opposition fan – my mate Dave who’s a Bolton season ticket holder.

Hello Dave, thanks for agreeing to do this. Let’s ease you in gently – how did it feel getting completely outclassed by us the other week? biggrin.gif

Outclassed?! I suppose it made a change from your usual injury time equalizer.

How would you sum up Bolton’s season so far?

Rollercoaster. We started by climbing way up, and then went down, down, down, but now we’re hopefully back on the up.

You’ve been criticised in the media for being a “long-ball team”. Fair or unfair?

It was unfair at the time when Souness first brought it up, as then we were playing some good football with the occasional long ball mixed in. However the players then started to give the press what they wanted, and stopped playing football to concentrate on the long ball.

And it’s no coincidence that this was when our slump started. It’s easy for teams to defend against the long ball when there is no other form of attack – all you need is two centre halves who are good in the air. We started to lose at home to teams that two months earlier we’d have been walking over – Portsmouth, Man City, and yourselves.

However, Kevin Davies’s injury against West Brom stopped the long ball being an option, and suddenly the players had to go back to playing football, and lo and behold, we’re back scoring goals and winning games.

What are your impressions of Blackburn as a club?

Blackburn are very similar to Bolton in a lot of ways:

- A small town club whose fan base is never going to increase beyond the town.

- Looking to get 40 points ASAP, as relegation is always a possibility.

- Ignored or belittled by the press in favour of so-called ‘big clubs’ like Spurs and Everton.

You had your successful phase under Uncle Jack, but now his money has gone you have had to get back in line with the rest of the smaller top-flight clubs.

But then I do admire you for at least having had some success - unlike the Geordies, who think that just because they have got a big ground and some money that they deserve to be successful.

Which Bolton players should Rovers be worried about next Monday?

Diouf – deadly from 4 yards (and not with the ball). But joking aside, I really have been surprised by his work-rate, and he is definitely our best player at the moment. And Jaidi has been a big find, and has chipped in with a few goals from corners and free-kicks.

How embarrassed are you about El-Hadji Diouf?

When he is scoring, I’m not. And when he is spitting and diving? Well he is not our player – he’s Liverpool’s!

What position do you think you’ll finish in this season – and do you think you’ll finish above us?

Probably about where we are now (11th), but it could be anywhere in the also-ran tier of the Prem (i.e. from 7th to 16th). Our high finish last year was only down to the fact that we won our last 5 games. But I do think we’ll finish above you.

Does it not worry you that you have a player who looks like a clown running around in your midfield?

No, he fits in well to the circus that is our midfield - Campo the Clown, Jay-Jay the Magician, and Diouf the tumbling acrobat.

If you could take one Rovers player for Bolton’s team who would you pick?

Err…that’s a hard one, and not because I’m spoilt for choice! Maybe Friedel for when we cash in on Jussi.

Kevin Davies – lazy, lard-arsed misfit or lethal top quality centre forward?

Somewhere in between. But I sense some bitterness here – maybe it is because you spent £7.5m on him and he was crap, yet we got him for nowt and he has been fantastic.

How good a manager is Big Sam?

He deserves a lot of credit for what he has done for us, especially with no money. Indeed, it would be interesting to see what he could do with some money. He’s obviously very good at the man management side of the job, and so has been able to resurrect several careers, most notably Kevin Davies and Youri Djorkaeff (although for each success they has been a less well publicised flop – remember Mario Jardel?).

But I do wish he’d winge less about referees – he probably now has such a reputation for it, that when we do get a bad decision no one will pay any attention.

Finally, what is your score prediction for Monday’s game?

I'm not usually the most optimistic of Wanderers fans (with good reason), but as this is going on a Blackburn message board, I'm going to predict a 2-0 Bolton win (I nearly went for a 4-3 win after giving you a 3-1 start but how likely is that?).

Cheers Dave.

For the second part of the preview I thought I’d try to do something a little bit different, and I’m delighted to say that I’ve managed to secure an interview with our ex-manager Graeme Souness*.

Hello Graeme, many thanks for this. How’s life at Newcastle?

Things are going well now, thanks. I’m learning the language and I’m stamping my personality on the place. I’ve banned smoking, drinking, gambling and use of the gym - there’s some hideous machinery in there, you could do yourself a mischief. I’ve also put a stop to that ridiculous running about Sir Bobby had them doing in training. Now we just put cones out.

A lot of people felt let down when you left the Rovers to join Newcastle. Why did you leave?

I like to be able to delve into the transfer market, wheel and deal a bit and buy Rangers players for over-inflated prices. Rovers had run out of money. Oh, and that bloody drummer and the bloke that sits behind Nuclearsox were getting right on my nerves.

Is there any truth in the rumour that you only left the Rovers to get away from the constant barracking coming from Manchester Blue’s next-to-the-dugout seat?

That’s certainly not the only reason, although he does know some very naughty words and offensive hand gestures. I had to get a number of touchline bans just for a bit of respite. No, in truth, I’d run out of one-line excuses – I almost quit in the summer but Deano came up with a couple more. That’s what he’s paid for after all.

Oh, that’s what he’s paid for. We did wonder!

Well, that and various evil innovations, yes.

OK, let’s look back at your time with us. First of all, what made you join the Rovers in the first place?

John Williams was very articulate in the way he sold the club to me. He stressed the glorious history of the club, reminded me of some of wonderful players that had played there and described the warm, friendly, welcoming atmosphere in Blackburn. He was clearly proud at what the club had achieved and was confident that, together, we could relive the glory days and take the club on to new heights. Oh, and the wife wanted me out of the house.

During your first full season, at what point did you know that the team was going to get promoted?

It was when the whisky wore off after the match at Deepdale.

Which player(s) do you think was/were instrumental in gaining that Promotion?

Can I vote for Lee Grooby? Ok then, Jon Macken.

Grabbi – why?

If I had a pound for every time I’d been asked that question, I’d be able to single-handedly bail Rangers out of their financial trouble. The truth is, I watched him in a number of 70s porn videos, looked at his stats on Championship Manager and even phoned him to ask him if he was in anyway related to George Weah. His performance in the videos and on CM convinced me he could score and his apparent modesty when asked about Weah impressed me – fancy pretending not to know who he was!? Also, I was sure he played for Rangers.

How did you manage to persuade Andy Cole to join us from Man Utd?

It wasn’t easy. I spent a great deal of time conveying my vision for the future of the club. I emphasized that I was convinced he would win trophies at Blackburn and that he’d be idolized by the Blackburn public. When that didn’t work, I offered Andy a great deal of money to join us, offered him a free transfer if we were relegated and promised that the club would pay for him to holiday in Dubai if he was unable to play for any reason. I could sense he was wavering at this point so I played my trump card – the no.9 shirt with the cuffs sown onto the hips. That seemed to do the trick.

Us Rovers fans will never forget our day out at Cardiff. Did you fine Dunn for spraying champagne over you during the post-match celebrations?

No, no. Never let it be said that Graeme Souness is a killjoy. I just politely suggested he might like to get my expensive new suit dry-cleaned at his own-expense and start looking for another club. Anyway, I’d had the champagne replaced with carbonated water – just in case.

What caused you to fall out with Dunn? Cole? Yorke? Todd? Flitcroft? Gillespie?

Each is a completely different case and should be treated as such so I will address each one at a time:

- David Dunn is a quality player but he disagreed with me.

- Cole disagreed with me.

- When I called Yorke a lazy so and so, he disagreed with me.

- I had a disagreement with Todd.

- Flitcroft disagreed with me.

- I never spoke to Gillespie but, if I had, I think he would have disagreed with me.

There are a lot of rumours concerning Duff’s transfer to Chelsea. Can you clear them up for us – did you agree to let him go or did you have no choice in the matter?

Make no mistake, John Williams and myself were determined to keep Damien. We rebuffed several bids from Chelsea and made it perfectly clear, no matter how much they offered, we would not be prepared to sell. Then an associate of Roman Abramovich, Igor Yahedov - nice bloke, put forward a very persuasive argument, using a rusty corkscrew and a couple of kiwi fruit, that £15 million was a very good offer. We immediately threw Damien down the aircraft steps, slammed the door and set off for America – if he had decided not to sign for Chelsea, I am confident we’d still be there.

Did you have a facelift the summer before last?

Ah, you noticed. Yes, in trying to win back my moustache from Sealdinho in a game of cards, I inadvertently won a facelift off Tony Parkes.

What did you do to Lady Luck to pi55 her off so badly?

That was a long time ago. I can’t believe she still holds a grudge. We were both young. Both foolish. We’d had a few drinks, one thing led to another and we ended up in a hotel room together. We had the most fantastic night of passion but we both knew that was all it was. I awoke first in the morning and, feeling guilty and ashamed, I left without saying a word. You see I’d taken something special from her in that one night of reckless abandon, which she could never get back. Something she cherished. Something she’d wanted to give only under the sacred bond of marriage to someone she really loved – her curly perm. I wore it for years after that.

Please can you explain the thinking behind the revolutionary formation used in our home game against West Brom at the start of this season?

I pride myself on listening to the fans. Throughout last season I know one or two of the fans were concerned that we had no left footed players to fill the gap left by Damien. With hindsight, I think I may have over-compensated slightly. We started the game playing 4-5-1 (4 on the left wing, 5 left midfield and Emerton on the right). We’d have won with a bit of luck and a better referee. I’m still convinced the chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” were directed at him and not our players.

The team now appears to be fitter and working harder than they did when you were in charge. What did you do in training?

Well, I’m a great believer in getting the right people in to do the job they are paid for. The coaches coach. Managers manage. Trainers train. Players play. I still maintain that our trainers at Rovers were the fittest trainers in the league. It’s just a shame all the players got podgy.

Cheers Graeme.

* - OK, it was dark, I was a little drunk, but I’m sure it was Souness I was speaking to. Come to think of it though, he did have a Lancashire accent and looked a little like Nuclearsox. Nah, I’m sure it was Souness.

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What caused you to fall out with Dunn? Cole? Yorke? Todd? Flitcroft? Gillespie?

Each is a completely different case and should be treated as such so I will address each one at a time:

- David Dunn is a quality player but he disagreed with me.

- Cole disagreed with me.

- When I called Yorke a lazy so and so, he disagreed with me.

- I had a disagreement with Todd.

- Flitcroft disagreed with me.

- I never spoke to Gillespie but, if I had, I think he would have disagreed with me.



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Absolutely brilliant stuff Scotty- every one of Souness' remarks a gem.

To Notlob and (thankfully) feeling a lot less confident after last night. Hopefully the computerised video analysis thing will be working over time on the Cardiff game and Hughes will have a deep think about why and how the defensive unit which had become so strong and adaptible was reduced to jelly last night.

Also suspect the Cardiff tactics were a good foretaste of Bolton's approach at Ewood.

I'm not offering any selection or tactical suggestions (apart from stick to 4-4-2), just a 2-1 win prediction for the Rovers.

Edited by philipl
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Lovely stuff Scotty. Journalistic talent there - obviously wasted at whatever you do for a living.

Diouf is starting to show what a good player he is so we need to keep him spitting distance from the danger area on the right from where he delivers a very good cross. Big job for Matteo presuming he plays.

Bolton will have regained alot of their lost confidence from the victory over Arsenal so I expect a hard game. 1-1.

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laugh.gif  laugh.gif  laugh.gif

3-2 Rovers after going 3-0 up.  ohmy.gif

MGP 2, Savage 1, Davies 2

that would make MGP our top goal scorer in all competition excluding pens, and Stead has not even one goal, oh dear

i'll go for 3-1

Thompson, Emerton and Gallagher and Davies for them

Edited by chris
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The team, after last nights performance, seems to pick itself:

                        Stead      Gallagher

Pedersen      Savage      Thompson      Emerton

  Johansson      Todd ©  Mokoena    Nelsen


Subs:  Enckleman, Matteo, Flitcroft(if fit)/Ferguson?, Reid, Bothroyd

Couple of things:

If Thompson wants to be our midfield playmaker, something he might be able to do, he has to stop shooting all the bloody time. He scored two yesterday yes, but neither goal was a 35 yard screamer which he always tries. His main priorities have to be ball retention and trying to play the strikers through.

Paul Scholes, the finest English attacking midfielder of the last decade, despite having an amzing set of shoting boots restricted himself to chances where he might actually be able to hit the target.

I am a defender of Niell but he has to be dropped. Matteo has never looked capable, unfortunately, Im sure he used to be good....what did we do to him? Mokoena should keep his place. Stead and Gallagher to be given the first chance to stike up their relationship from last season.

I cannot see how Jansen will feature. If Ferguson is fit it might be interesting to see if Hughes has the balls to play him- not going to win him any fans but might be attempted to try and scare Rangers into upping their bid.

2-1 Rovers (Gallagher, Emerton)

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Hughes will have a deep think about why and how the defensive unit which had become so strong and adaptible was reduced to jelly last night.

We all know why.... Matteo is crap ! Nissa should have played Left Back last night ! Ah well, it's over now blink.gif

As for Notlob, If Davies is playing.. expect them to play the long-ball game, if he's still injured then they are going to try and play a passing game.

Whichever, Rovers to win 3-1

And I'm gutted - I'm gonna miss this one mad.gif

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We have won 4 out of the last 5 in all competitions, lost about 2 in the last 10 or something and still mark lawencen predicts us to loose every week! Does he have something against us? because the football reasons for predicting us to loose dont stick. What a muppet, an extremely annoying man. However his bad predicitions seem to work well for rovers as we tend to do well in the games he predicts us to loose.

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