Roll on the Championship. With the departure of a number of players such as stalwarts Ricardo "Bibi" Gardner and Jussi Jaaskelainen,
Bolton Wanderers were still predicted by many "people in football" to win the Championship at the first time of asking. Our first game was a potentially stormy affair against Burnley, whose fans were understandably happy to see us join them in the Championship and the club was only too willing to inflict the first defeat on ex-manager Coyle and ex-players Eagles and Mears.
Coyle lasted 10 games in the Championship - wavering from his favoured 4-4-2 only once and managing 3 victories. Eddie Davies forced the hand of Phil Gartside who incredibly wanted to extend Coyle's contract, and he had to sack him instead. The "Gleesome Threesome" of Jimmy "Jiminho" Phillips, Sammy Lee and Julian Darby held the reins for 3 games in which they managed a win, a draw and a loss before being replaced by yet another bright young Scot, Douglas Freedman - recruited from Crystal Palace.
Our Douglas managed to oversee a run of 6 games undefeated with his new charges, experimenting as he went. A win either side of 4 draws saw hopes begin to raise as the fans began to understand what a Freedman team looked like. Then came Ipswich at home and a first defeat for Freedman's Bolton. Successive losses to Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday sees Bolton in 16th position and barring a miracle of sorts, certainties to be in the Championship at the end of 2013.
Miracles will be sought in the transfer window as Mr. Freedman has understandably made his intentions clear of bringing in new recruits to bolster Bolton's rapidly fading chances of promotion. While he has said he wants "two or maybe three guys who have played at this level before", any Bolton fan would be happy to point out five or maybe six players who they would replace in the squad. What I feel for Bolton
Wanderers is either love or madness (in all probability a good amount of both!). After the year we have had, for me to be here cheering on the lads from afar despite everything they have put me through, how much do I love thee, Bolton Wanderers? Let me count the ways...
Season greetings and a Happy New Year to all!