The buzzing Blues are preparing for what always promises to be a combative trip to Bolton and what could be Gary Megson’s last stand. We’ve caught up with Vital Bolton’s Richard McC…
A terrific scene setting interview including top tips for travelling Blues:
1.6th placed with a game in hand, City head to a sold out Reebok stadium in buoyant mood on the back of one defeat in 17 competitive fixtures and two superb victories over Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Wanderers meanwhile are quintessentially in relegation zone trouble outside of a recent draw at Fulham having now slumped to defeat at fellow strugglers Wolves. Since we last spoke, what’s the mood, story and current situation at Bolton?
‘As I write there is a desperate sense of disappointment. Rumours that Gary Megson has been sacked aren’t true.
Almost everyone agrees that it’s time for him to go. A small, stubborn group are still of the opinion that we should stick with what we’ve got, but only because they’d have to admit to being wrong in the first place. Unfortunately, this collection of imbeciles includes the chairman.’
2. You highlighted extreme dissatisfaction with Gary Megson’s leadership earlier this year and judging by recent Vital Bolton articles, it’s now bordering on total sarcasm. Would/when would you pull the trigger were you in charge and the slump were to continue…?
‘I suggested that Megson be jettisoned at the end of last season, with thanks for the work he’s done in stabilizing the club. Unfortunately, club chairman Phil Gartside and I, aren’t exactly best mates, so the advice was ignored.
I’d pull the trigger now. In person, if the queue wasn’t so long. The results are poor, performances are worse, he hates the fans and he’s lost the dressing room. Yet the Ginger One is still here. Maybe he’ll be caught rogering the club mascot and that’ll be the end of him. You can but hope.’
2.b. …and a few years back, The Wanderers frequently and impressively took bigger club’s scalps. That knack seems to have deserted you. What’s gone wrong?
‘The belief has gone. Megson sends his teams out terrified of the opposition. Sometimes it resembles a training game. Under Sam Allardyce, Bolton had a well organized midfield that denied space to the opposition. It was something of a cliché, but we were hard to play against. That’s no longer the case.’
3. Where’s the best place for a pint and a balti pie on Saturday?
‘The official away pub is the Beehive, about 10 minutes walk from the stadium toward Horwich. The Bromilow, on Lostock Lane is a better boozer, about a mile from the ground. Good beer and parking, but it can get pretty full. Alternatively, you can use the Sweet Green Tavern in the town centre. It’s next door to the railway station and a ten minute train ride gets you to Horwich Parkway, next to the Reebok. Check that the trains are running though, as track work sometimes takes place at the weekend.’
4. ‘Shot by both sides:’ The Dangermen. Who should City and in turn Bolton, be paying close attention to at the Reebok on Saturday?
‘Tamir Cohen is handy at arriving late in the penalty area and has a reliable left-foot shot on him.
I’ve been an admirer of Carlos Tevez since his West Ham days, and I suspect he’ll have the run of the park on Saturday.’
5. Everyone at Manchester City from pitch to state of the art turnstile are very publicly aiming to take on and destabilise the seemingly endless, increasingly boring procession of ‘The Big Four’ – Can it be done? For example, City ‘s record against the Big Four to date this season is that scandalous odd goal defeat at the swamp, a draw at Liverpool, the stuffing of Arsenal and a classy win over Chelsea.
‘It can be done, especially if Liverpool hang onto Fatty Benitez. I don’t think it will be City’s year this time though. Despite only losing once, the defence and defensive midfield haven’t gelled yet. But your owners seem to be in it for the long haul, so a bit of patience will pay dividends.’
6. Are The Citizens guilty of ‘ruining football,’ one of the more hysterical charges levelled at the club throughout 2009?
‘I’m in two minds about City. The top four monopoly needs to be broken, but I’d rather it happen with a club that’s spent within its means and built gradually, rather than had cash thrown at it.
Football is being ruined, but there are various factors. Too much money, cheating players, bad referees and a lazy media, for a start. The game is getting further and further away from its roots and the influx of foreign owners is part of that.’
7. And so to battle. Your match prediction?
‘One defeat all season, and individual players who cost more than the Reebok Stadium suggests a City win. But as they say, football’s a funny old game, so anything’s possible. Clutching at straws? Oh yes.’
8. The Bulging Sack Bonus: What do you want for Christmas?!
‘Charlize Theron please. For personal use, not as the new manager, although she probably couldn’t do any worse.
If you could also stick Gary Megson in the bulging sack and ship him back to Lapland on the back of Santa’s sleigh with a note attached saying ‘returning – as not fit for purpose.’ that would be appreciated. But maybe that’s being greedy!’
Many thanks to Richard for a cracker of an interview!
VMC Link: Vital Bolton Q+A with bluesnozza:Hughes and Blues and Man U
Deadly Sinners so far this season:
Blackburn Rovers: Mikey D
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Akela
Arsenal: Paul Mustchin
Manchester united: Nobby Allcock
West Ham: Rossy
Aston Villa: The Fear
Wigan Athetic: Worbo
Fulham: Andrew Joyce
Scunthorpe: Luke Thornhill
Liverpool: Chubby Alonso
Hull City: Matt Wilson
Bolton Wanderers: Richard McC
VMC Forum Link:Manchester City v Bolton (A) – Saturday, Dec. 12th, 3PM UK Time KO – Matchday Thread
TWO THOUSAND AND BEYOND – JOIN VITAL MANCHESTER CITY:
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