Dougie Freedman’s Road to the Sack – Part Two: The Coyle Connection

danny baker

Bolton travel to Millwall at the weekend, a place that has recent significance for the club.   Last season’s 2-1 defeat was the last game as manager for Owen Coyle, after a poor start to the season.

Even then, chairman Phil Gartside was willing to let his man continue, with an agreement for Sammy Lee to play a more significant role in place. But that idea was stamped on by club owner Eddie Davies, and Coyle was on his way to being a pundit on BBC Five Live via Wigan and Dave Whelan, another man who knows a bad thing when he sees one.

That match was also notable as the home fans were accused of being bad to Marvin Sordell. The racial abuse was unacceptable, but they also said he looked like a fish, which to be fair isn’t wide of the mark.

These days, Sordell is camped out on loan at Charlton, where he’s been as bad as he was at Bolton.  Which would all be fine and dandy, if he hadn’t cost the thick end of three and a half millions sovs, to use cockerney terminology

Following Bolton has been a fun free experience for the past few years.  Under Coyle there was a small golden period, followed by puzzlement, and Gary Megson aroused anger.  Now, looking at the picture as a whole, the feeling is one of embarrassment.  As a letter to the Sun newspaper demonstrated this week.

Dear Deidre,

I’m a heroin addicted, transgender ex-prostitute who has just been released from prison.  I have a string of convictions, including theft, fraud, money laundering and most recently, a charge of gross indecency in a public place involving hamsters and yoghurt.

But after meeting the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, I’ve turned things around .  We are to be married in June.  The thing is, do I tell my fiance that I’m a Bolton fan?



Millwall have their own problems.  Almost uniquely, they’ve been beaten at the Reebok this season,  are perched just above the relegation zone and have Danny Baker as a fan, which can’t be easy.

Not even the appointment of Ian Holloway has improved matters.  Like Bolton, the Lions have won once in eleven league games gathering six points along the way.  It’s the dual of the duffers.

Which is why a defeat for Dougie Freedman’s men may be consequential.  They are still more than one match away from the relegation places, but will be at least one position closer should a loss ensue. Despite that, Freedman was relaxed when asked about his job prospects on BBC Radio Manchester.

“I don’t have that sort of fear. I don’t live my life that way,” he said. My experience tells me I’m a fighter, I like a challenge and I’m a person who keeps on going.”

It can’t be long until he keeps on going, past the Reebok and down the M6 back to London, if improvement doesn’t happen quickly.

– Richard McCormick

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