Bolton Wanderers: Coyle has no defence over axe
When Owen Coyle ditched Turf Moor for the Reebok Stadium in 2010 Bolton fans thought their saviour had come to answer their prayers. Here was a former Wanderer with a penchant for swift attacking football who was going to erase the painful memory of life under Gary Megson. Things couldn't get any better. Unfortunately, they didn't go to plan.
Yesterday (Tuesday October 9, 2012) Bolton chairman Phil Gartside took the decision to relieve Coyle of his duties at Bolton. To be fair, it didn't come as a huge shock. The Scot was always walking on thin ice following the club's relegation last season from the Premier League. A poor start to life in the Championship, combined with the defence's inability to keep a clean sheet, forced the board's hand to act.
Coyle's dismissal had been on the cards for some time. I spoke to Bolton Wanderers fan Dave Blackburn on Sunday and he felt it was only a matter of time before Coyle would go.
He said: "In all honesty, as we have picked up only one point out of a possible nine, and with the internationals meaning we have a two-week break, I thought he would have gone by now, with Saturday's defeat being the final straw.
"Coyle was blaming anyone and anything after every game. It was the same excuses after every game. We could nearly tell you his post match interview before he had done it!
"The fans were starting to turn on Coyle. Radio phone-ins and message boards were full of it. There have been plenty of boos ringing around the Reebok at the end of matches. It was nothing like when Megson was here but we never want to go down that route again."
Dave's prediction was hardly a genius call. Bolton were 18th in the Championship, having scored just 13 goals and conceding 16. For a team tipped by many to be in a different league next season, not many were thinking about League One. Yet Bolton are currently only three points off the drop zone. And that was just not simply good enough for Dave Blackburn.
He said: "There seems to be something not quite right in the background, but I can't quite put my finger on it, because it is my belief that we have one of the best, if not the best, squads in the league.
"Some of his tactics and substitution though have been baffling and the fact we have only kept one clean sheet in 48 away games is very worrying.
"One of the worst decision in my opinion was when he released Al Habsi. Yes it was much needed capital but £4 million is not a lot in this day and age. I would have sold Jussi and had Al-Habsi as my main striker with Bogdan as back up.
"I like Owen Coyle, but, like the end of his tenure at Burnley when results started to go against him, over the last calendar year the results have not been good at all."
Owen Coyle won many fans for the way he conducted himself during the tragic Fabrice Muamba incident but now the attention turns to who will replace the Scot in the dugout. Former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy, the baby-faced assassin Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and ex-Manchester United captain Roy Keane are reportedly leading the race for the vacant post, but who does Dave want in the hot-seat?
"I would like to see someone who a lot to prove, for example like Roy Hodgson when he went to West Brom after being given the chop by Liverpool. He went there and showed Liverpool what they were missing and did very well.
"Most of the managers available - McCarthy and Billy Davies - have done well in the Championship but were awful in the Premier League. There's no way Redknapp or Benitez would come and Curbishley has been out of the game too long and would he really come up north? I don't want Phil Brown or Peter Reid either.
"Out of those currently in a job, I would have Big Sam back in a second but that will never happen, Mark Hughes if QPR got rid of him, Ian Holloway and maybe Nicky Mellon, who is doing a great job at Fleetwood. But saying all that I think we need a manager who has been there and done it, not a raw manager."
Bolton's main aim this season was to make an immediate return to the top flight. Unfortunately they currently sit 11 points behind the leaders Cardiff. Fortunately, Bolton have acted decisively and have given the new manager time to come in, implement his ideas and get a positive reaction from the players.
The Championship is easily the toughest league in the world to escape from as every side can beat each other on any given day. A run of wins can see you leap into contention for promotion. Likewise, two defeats can see you hurtling towards the bottom three. Whoever comes in will have time to make an impact.
Owen Coyle will be disappointed that he failed to achieve success with Bolton, but there's no doubt in my mind that he will come back stronger and more determined following this sorry episode in his career. However, at the end of the day he can have no complaints with the decision.
Calling all Bolton fans: Do you back Bolton's decision to axe Owen Coyle or do you think he deserved more time to turn things around? Why do you think Coyle failed to be a success at the Reebok? Who do you think Phil Gartside should appoint as your new manager? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.