Friday, October 26, 2007

You've got to laugh

Armando Iannucci, the man behind 'The Thick Of It' and much of 'I'm Alan Partridge' and 'The Day Today', once opined on his own show that "there are only two things in the world that give us absolute total happiness: one is unwrapping a newly bought CD and the other is seeing other people fail". The former is a regular pleasure of mine, the latter the reason I've been so amused by developments down at the Reebok this season.

I'm still far from being Fat Sam's biggest fan, but so far he seems to be making a decent fist of what is a notoriously difficult job. His track record at Bolton suggested a manager capable of getting the very best out of a bunch of unfancied supposedly past-it journeymen. Every year I tipped his Bolton side for a relegation struggle, and every season they overachieved.

So Trotters chairman Phil Gartside's claim on the eve of Allardyce's return to the Reebok with Newcastle for the first game of the season that Bolton's football had "grown stale" was always likely to come back to bite him on the arse. We duly won the game 3-1 and at a canter.

Even more ludicrous than claiming routinely finishing in the European places constituted going "stale" for a club of Bolton's size and stature was Gartside's stated conviction that Allardyce's assistant 'Little' Sammy Lee would take them on to bigger and better things. Little more than two months into the season and, with the Trotters sitting ugly at the foot of the table, there was a polite agreement that Lee should get his coat.

If it wasn't hilarious enough that our old friend Graeme 'Soumess' Souness was then interviewed for the position of their saviour, he subsequently ruled himself out of the running, presumably considering the job beneath him. The fact that Gartside came out and claimed that he knew "he would have been an exceptional candidate for the role" suggests the extent of the man's delusions.

Could it get any better? Yes, he could go and and appoint Gary Megson, a man who (according to the Guardian's Fiver) 12 Bolton fans out of 699 surveyed by a local paper felt is the right man for the job.

Ex Toon player Megson, who has left Leicester after just six weeks in charge to leave Foxes chairman Milan Mandaric fuming, has a managerial record of having won seven Premiership matches out of 48 - just what's needed to take Bolton back to where they belong: the Championship. Early in the season, we were talking about Agent Chopra taking Sunderland down from the inside - well, it seems as though we can now talk about Agent Megson...

And if you find this gleeful wallowing in Schadenfreude distasteful, then please bear in mind how much of a relief and joy it is for the Premiership's laughing stock not to be us...


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