Gartside said in a statement on the club's official website: "Owen poured his heart and soul into the job, both on and off the pitch, and he led our club with great dignity during some very challenging times." Reports have surfaced that this move was exactly the opposite of what Phil Gartside had in mind however, as his intention was to support Coyle – the boss who controversially quit as boss of neighbours Burnley to save Bolton from the drop two seasons ago. Gartside was even considering a new contract offer that would tie Coyle to the club long-term, despite their early-season problems.But then Davies, on holiday in Hong Kong, told Gartside to pull the trigger, and the chairman and manager finalised the terms of his exit on Tuesday.
Recent actions and statements by Coyle smacked of desperation - such as his DVD compilation of decisions which he felt went against the Wanderers and cost them a higher place in the table and ultimately, his job. The most telling statement was perhaps the one attributed to him after the dismal showing in the 2-1 defeat against Millwall where he reportedly told the team "Maybe you need a new voice to listen to." While they now have that opportunity, they will be mindfull of the fact that their performances on the pitch have been consistently poor over an extended period and any new manager will certainly have his own ideas as to team composition and style.
Coyle's sacking following closely on the heels of Steve Kean's departure from Blackburn has given the tabloids a welcome diversion during this International break and lists of potential replacements are being prepared and devoured with gusto. Names being bandied about include Mick McCarthy, Alex McLeish, Alan Curbishly, Harry Redknapp, Paolo Di Canio and somewhat surprisingly, former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Wanderers legend 'Super' John McGinlay has moved to quell speculation that his return to England was timed so as to facilitate a spectacular return to the club as a direct replacement for his friend and former teammate via a twitter statement that it was a coincidence and that his sons had already returned and he was merely joining them in a pre-arranged move.
Academy manager Jimmy Phillips and head of academy coaching and development Sammy Lee will take joint temporary charge of the first-team squad but Chairman Gartside has stated his intention to recruit a manager who is "young and able to work on a tight budget" and will no doubt bear in mind how quickly he moved to replace Sammy Lee in his previous stint in charge by getting his new man quickly - although he has denied any approach at this point. It is hoped that a candidate can be found who will excite and inspire the team and fans alike - one would be hard pressed to find supporters who are in more need of good news after suffering not only the pain of relegation but the indignity of regular defeats in a league they were expected to dominate.
Written by Keegan