Bolton Wanderers – Can We Have the Truth Now Please?

Case_All2In March 1967 a Nigerian labourer took forgery to its limit and some way beyond.  Whilst working on a building site in Lagos, he altered his pay cheque from £9.40 to read £622,000,009.40.   In his splendid Book of Heroic Failures, Stephen Pile notes that the fraud was entirely successful right up to the moment when the labourer tried to cash it.

Reading the full judgement from the court case involving football agent Tony McGill and Bolton Wanderers that ended last week, one encounters the same comical incompetence and dishonesty.  Except in this instance it paid off.

McGill failed in his attempt to win damages of £300,000,  alleging that he had been cut out of the deal that brought Gavin McCann to Bolton from Aston Villa in 2007.   Judge David Waksman ruled that because a written contract had not existed with McCann, then McGill’s claim could not succeed.

However, he described that decision as “unfortunate” and accepted McGill’s version of events whilst pouring scorn upon much of the testimony presented by Bolton Wanderers staff and co-defendants SEM, a large sports agency.

On a number of points the judge described Phil Gartside’s evidence as “unsatisfactory” or “not satisfactory”

General manager Frank McParland’s evidence was at times “unreliable”

Sammy Lee: “Not convincing”. “Entirely untrue”

Simon Marland (club secretary): “Told lies”

McCann: “Clearly untruthful”

McGill had agreed verbally to represent McCann and until 7th June 2007,  the deal seemed to be progressing normally. It was then that he received a phone call from McCann saying that he would  be using another agent who turned out to be Dave Sheron of SEM, who was unlicensed.  In addition, SEM acted for the club rather than the player, a procedure known as “switching” which is forbidden under FA regulations.

Seven years on and two legal tussles later it’s still not clear who appointed SEM.  Gartside originally claimed that he’d done the deal himself with no agent involvement.  Then a letter written by solicitors on his behalf on 9 July 2009 states that “he had no personal involvement in the transfer of Mr McCann to Bolton.”   Version three has him appointing SEM “indirectly.”  Yet no one is prepared to say that they dealt directly with the agency.

So who did give SEM the gig? Perhaps there are contract goblins that reside deep in the bowels of the Macron stadium who take such things upon themselves.  It might explain a few of the recent signings.

And why did Bolton want SEM to do the deal?  The terms were exactly the ones negotiated by McGill, so there was no financial advantage. Yet the club was prepared to falsify documents, claim that meetings took place when they hadn’t and deny knowledge of McGill’s involvement, when clearly they were aware of it.

Not that McGill will get much sympathy.  Football agents aren’t well liked amongst the fans.  But like them or not, they’re part of the game – and they talk.  The next time Dougie Freedman signs some lower league journeyman that you’ve never heard of, ask yourself if Bolton have a limited pool of players available to them because agents would prefer not to do business at the Macron for fear of losing their clients altogether.

The full judgement can be downloaded by clicking here

And the summary of witness statements by clicking here

– Richard McCormick

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Get Bolton Wanderers Tickets for £10 Per Game!


Bolton ICD Support Group is offering Wanderers fans the chance to get tickets to selected home games for £10 per adult/child.

Bolton Wanderers has allowed the group to purchase tickets at that price, and at the end of the season will donate £4 to the #defibs4bolton campaign for every ticket sold.

However, there’s a condition.  The group has to buy a minimum of ten tickets per booking.   If that condition isn’t met, then the offer for that game can not go ahead.

To order tickets, visit the One Bolton, One Wanderers Facebook events page or send an e-mail to

The following games are available:

• Sat 16th Nottingham Forest 3.00pm
• Tue 19th Middlesbrough 8.00pm

• Sat 13th Sheffield Weds 3.00pm
• Tue 16th Rotherham 8.00pm
• Sat 27th Derby County 3.00pm

• Sat 4th AFC Bournemouth 3.00pm
• Sat 25th Brentford 3.00pm

• Tue 4th Cardiff City 8.00pm
• Sat 29th Huddersfield Town

• Sat 13th Ipswich Town 8.00pm

• Tue 10th Fulham 8.00pm
• Sat 14th Watford 3.00pm
• Sat 28th Brighton 3.00pm

• Tue 3rd Reading 8.00pm
• Sat 14th Millwall 3.00pm

• Sat 11th Norwich City 3.00pm
• Tues 14th Charlton Athletic 8.00pm

The fixtures are subject to change.

Established in 2006 the Bolton ICD (Implantable Cardiac Defibrillator) Support Group was founded to support patients and their families after an ICD has been implanted into a patient. The group was officially opened by former Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce and team coach Sammy Lee.  Further information can be found by visiting the  Bolton ICD Website.

– Richard McCormick

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The Truth About Bolton Wanderers and ‘Home Sick’ Andy Robinson

Andy_RobinsonWith the new Championship campaign just over two weeks away, there was some surprise amongst fans of Bolton Wanderers, with the news that Andy Robinson had left the club, just weeks after signing.

“We have agreed to terminate Andy’s contract and he has returned south. He was homesick so it was the right thing for him,” explained  Dougie Freedman to the Bolton News.  There was also a terse statement on the BWFC official site.

Bolton Wanderers can confirm that Andy Robinson has left the club.

The young midfielder recently joined from Southampton on a free transfer following a loan spell last season.

But after failing to settle in the area the midfielder’s contract has now been cancelled.

Now the truth.

Robinson had failed to settle in the area to such an extent that he was three days away from signing for a property that he had secured for himself and his girlfriend who was moving from the South.

It was then he was approached by Freedman and informed that he would not feature in the manager’s plans for the coming season.    Robinson was aghast.   There were other options available to him prior to signing for Bolton and he had only agreed to put pen to paper on being given assurances that there would be at least the chance of first team football.

Whilst the senior players went off on tour, Robinson was sent to Lancaster University to train with the development squad.  He demanded a transfer, his contract was terminated and a covering story concocted for reasons that can only be speculated on.

– Richard McCormick

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Delight in Bury at the Cup Visit to Bolton

bury-black-puddingThere was joy on the street of Bury this morning after the town’s football club drew Bolton Wanderers in the Capital One Cup, a team regarded as royalty in this small suburb of Rochdale.

The Shakers have a proud history in knock out competitions having triumphed in the FA Cup at the start of the last century, beating Derby County 6-0, which is still the widest margin of victory in a final.  However, that achievement was dwarfed in a League Cup tie at the Reebok Stadium in 2002, when Bury beat a Bolton side consisting of reserves, apprentices and someone who had only come to read the electric meter.

Andy Preece’s men were not overawed that night, despite the crowd of 12,621, around fifteen times the number of people they were used to playing in front of, and the event is commemorated every year, with a specially manufactured anniversary black pudding and a procession through the town centre led by the local rag and bone man and his horse.

Things have taken a downturn since then.  Bury were thrown out of the FA Cup in 2006 for cheating, and each season features either a battle to hold on to their football league status, a fight against liquidation or sometimes both. A few days ago the club’s directors complained to the media that some fans were saying unkind things on the internet, which was installed in Bury recently.

The tie will take place on 12th August, which should give the Gigg Lane faithful sufficient time to save up the money to hire a mini-bus.  Details of the fund raising effort have yet to be finalised, but it will probably be run by (neat title) one of the busier supporters websites which has around three registered members.

Bolton Wanderers have announced a deal in conjunction with Capital One, whereby childrens’ tickets can be purchased for £1.  Given the status of the opposition some Wanderers fans feel that this offer may be overpriced.

– Richard McCormick

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Come in Wayne Rooney. Your Time is Up

Rooney_MissEngland expects, as the old saying goes.  Fortunately, when it comes to international football the old girl doesn’t anticipate much these days. So last night’s World Cup defeat to Italy has been greeted with a recognition that Roy Hodgson’s side is a work in progress, rather than the usual anger that accompanies such a setback.

England were refreshingly positive going forward, with Rahim Sterling playing the part of pesky, pacy, unpredictable teenager to perfection.  Yet the final pass was lacking, mainly because it was played too soon.  It takes time, and confidence to hold onto the ball that second longer.  By contrast  Antonio Candreva’s cross supplied to Mario Balotelli for the winning goal was sublime.  The ex-Manchester City mad man simply had to nod hello to Joe Hart  and the result was assured.

In defence and defensive midfield, England were lacking, which possibly comes from having two full backs who are better going forward and then they are at defending.  Leighton Baines was stiffed, not for the first time, before Candreva made his delivery, and Glen Johnson who should have provided cover for Gary Cahill, had presumably gone for a chat with someone in the crowd.



It could be argued that the difference in the two sides was Andrea Pirlo, who showed that if you have the right stuff between the ears, then it isn’t necessary to run around like a maniac. The 35 year old, strolled about the pitch, puffing from a cigarette and taking the occasional swig from a glass of Chianti, whilst doing the simple things supremely well, like the step over that gave  Claudio Marchisio space to fire home Italy’s opener.   England had the knackered old carthorse that is Steven Gerrard.

The major disappointment was Wayne Rooney who provided the cross for Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser, but was otherwise hopeless, missing a golden opportunity for an equaliser, mis-kicking a corner to comic effect and failing to provide cover for his left-back.  Granted, being out wide isn’t his favoured position, but the man was given a job and failed to do it.

Wayne has other things on his mind these days.  Like his hair.  Part of the recently installed Rooney Thatch has gone missing.  As one poster on Twitter pointed out, the Chav Master General may be the first man in history to go bald three times before he’s thirty.

At least there’s good news on that front.  New follicles can be harvested from other parts of his body.  The resulting hairs will be curly and Colleen won’t be that keen to run her fingers through them.



After an encouraging start to his international tournament career in the 2004 Euros, Rooney has been a spectacular flop.  He spent most of the 2006 World Cup sulking at being asked to perform a lone striker role, before attempting to castrate  Ricardo Carvalho with the referee a yard away.  In South Africa four years later he spent more effort castigating the fans when walking off the pitch than he did whilst playing on it.

It’s not impossible for Rooney to come good, but it seems unlikely.   On song, he’s a useful addition to any team, but the spells off form seem to last longer as time goes by.  The familiar signs are there – the frustration with himself, and with his situation, which usually precedes him doing something mental.

Roy Hodgson has been brave in this campaign.  There’s a reliance on youth and an enterprising feel to England’s attacking play.  It’s time for a further step.  If Wayne Rooney can’t be accommodated in his chosen position, then it’s time to introduce him to the substitutes bench.

– Richard McCormick

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Dougie Freedman and the Great Bolton Con Job


As the football season winds to a close, it appears that Bolton Wanderers have at last hit form.  This is in marked contrast to what was the club’s poorest start since before the Easter Bunny started doing his rounds.

In the thirteen games since losing to Burnley,  Bolton have won 7, drawn five and lost one – comfortably promotion form.  The PR spin emanating from the Reebok Stadium, is that Dougie Freedman’s master plan has at last come together, but just not soon enough.

“The most important thing is that it has clicked,” said goalkeeper Adam Bogdan to Greater Manchester Radio last week. “Unfortunately it’s clicked too late and we can’t get to the play-offs, so all we can do is keep this positive run going for as long as we can.”

The Freedmanistas – that small group of Wanderers fans who don’t think that the manager is a dim witted toss pot who should be shipped back to Glasgow in a sack, are exultant.  Their hero has delivered the goods, with ideas of fiendish cunning that they saw all along.  It’s all nice and bonny for next time round.

Well now boys and girls, it’s time to urinate on your French fries.  How many good sides have Bolton beaten on this wonderful run.  Are your ready?


If that seems harsh, then cast a look at the chart below and note the current league positions of the teams played.

Fixture Result Current League Position of Opponent
Charlton 0-0 Bolton Drew 20th
Bolton 1-0 Barnsley Won 23rd
Doncaster 1-2 Bolton Won 19th
Huddersfield 0-1 Bolton Won 17th
Bolton 1-1 Wigan Drew 5th
Bolton 1-0 Blackpool Won 21st
Yeovil 2-2 Bolton Drew 24th
Bolton 0-2 Brighton Lost 6th
Derby 0-0 Bolton Drew 3rd
Leeds 1-5 Bolton Won 16th
Bolton 4-0 Blackburn Won 10th
Bolton 2-0 Watford Won 13th
Millwall 1-1 Bolton Drew 22nd

Of course thrashing the slum dwellers of Blackburn is always welcome, and a 5-1 win at Leeds was great fun at the time, even if Brian McDermott’s men have lost every match since, bar one – and that was against Blackpool who have the poorest form in all four divisions in 2014.

But the truth is that Bolton have had a ridiculously easy run in. If they had only been mid-table when it began, instead of grubbing about in 17th position, then making the play offs would have been a cinch. Here’s what you could have won Dougie. If you weren’t such a prat.

Results aside, the same problems are still there.  Opposition sides are still given too many chances, due largely to an inability to retain possession and the Bolton manager’s constant tinkering with the starting line up means that he still hasn’t established a core to his side.

But, as with last season, a late run has given a false impression and misplaced hope.  Dougie Freedman is nothing more than a con man.

– Richard McCormick

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Don’t Like Zat Knight? How Dare You!

ceiling-fanWhen Is A Fan Not A Fan?

Quentin X asks the question.

Since I started writing about Bolton Wanderers, back in the heady days of 2008, I have been called a few things by people who have disagreed with my stance on certain Wanderers related topics. Some people think that having a £150 million (and rising) accounting black hole is a good thing because the chairman is a fan. I do not. Some people thought that Gary Megson was a messiah. I did not. And some people called me pond life. And the last time I looked, I didn’t have gills.

However, I have never been lumped into the same bracket of fans who, supposedly, bring the club down. Until last week. There I was, sitting at my desk on my night shift last Monday, when Twitter informed me that I had a message from someone. Let’s call him Max. Max was disgruntled with my article about Zat Knight. And had every right to be as I don’t expect the world and his mother to agree with everything I say. Even my own mother doesn’t do that.

Max is of the opinion that Zat Knight is our best defender. I thought, with the date being March 31st, that he was getting in his April Fool early. This turned out not to be the case. Max continued:

“Not rating a player is one thing, ouright slating him when he gives is (sic) all and when he’s better than some is another. Not what I call support. You epitomise everything wrong with some of our fans, you don’t go to game then slate the easy targets”

Zat shows his tender side

Zat shows his tender side

Well, I admit that Knight IS an easy target, but it’s not as if I haven’t been slating him since Aston Villa fans paid for his taxi north in July 2009. The article was based on his history at the club compared to the performances that he has recently put in. So, I was slating the poor player that I have seen against, ironically, the “improved” player that I haven’t.

However, this got me thinking. Am I actually in a position to have a go at the players that I haven’t seen? Does not going to any games preclude me from commenting?

Of course, I’d argue no. There is no formula that tells you when you are allowed to have an opinion and not have one. But, if there were, I’d say it was on my side. Thirty years supporting the club through all four divisions, travelling from University for every home game and not even living in the town for one single day of my life should show I’ve put the mileage in. Granted, I haven’t been this year but I don’t live within two hundred miles of the stadium and work more Saturdays than not. And I have a family who would like to see me on the days that I’m not slaving away. I get to the games that I can, still putting in the miles. And the money.

And his not so tender side

And his not so tender side

Max says on his Twitter page that he is eighteen years old. This means that he probably never set foot in Burnden Park. To him, the pain of relegation to Division Four is as far removed as the last time the club won a major trophy is to me. I’d say that when you add up the number of games we’ve been to, the odds would be in my favour as having been to more. To me, that gives me the right to slate players and praise players as I see fit. I listen and watch (legally or otherwise) enough games to know more or less what’s going on. I wouldn’t say that I could write a 100% accurate match report, but can recognise when a player is playing well or not. Max appears to go to every home game and that gives him the right to do the same.

But that’s me. What about someone who has been to one Bolton game in their whole life and slags the team off? It’s doubtful there is anyone like that, such is the masochistic nature of your average Bolton fan. But living where I do you find a large number of people who don’t necessarily follow the nearest league teams (Wycombe and Watford), but those from north and south London and the one on the border of Salford and Trafford. These are people who have never set foot inside Stamford Bridge, The Emirates or Old Trafford. What right do they have to slag their teams off?

Well, when I was at University, my house mate was an Arsenal fan and had been to Highbury twice, but was apoplectic when The Arse would usually lose to Bolton. He had the Arsenal top, one of those funny little kits you stick in the back window of your car and spoke with a Wiltshire accent. (Should that not be a Wilshere accent? – Ed.)

However, he would pay money every year to just be on the waiting list for a season ticket. That’s a waiting list. He paid money to the club but could hardly get to Highbury. It wasn’t his fault, it was just circumstance. And what of the 22,000 people who couldn’t get into Highbury but can get into The Emirates? Did their opinion only become valid in 2006? Of course not. Most fans, whether they have been to a game or not, will put money into their clubs coffers in one way or another, either by buying a shirt or paying Sky for the privilege of watching their team on television. Is their opinion not valid? Listening to the likes of 6-0-6 or Stan Collymore, you would lean on the side of absolutely not. But an opinion is still valid, even if it is wrong headed in other people’s eyes. It is for those other people to argue the opposite.

And we all know that expression don't we?

And we all know that expression don’t we?

The thing is, if you’re a genuine supporter of a football club, then you’re entitled to whatever opinion you have, be it positive or negative. I would say the further down the leagues you go, the more your opinion counts. I’m sure that the 200 fans who regularly turn up for my local non-league club’s games will be glad to hear that.

Bolton fans, like every team’s fans, like to have a go at each other. It is generally just gently joshing, although there is always a darker side lingering away on some forums. Max had a point that he wanted to make and he made it. And this is my reply.

As for Max, who has great hair by the way, I’ll just say this.

If Zat Knight really is our best defender, then we’re in more trouble than I thought.

Now, which way is Charlton?

– Quentin X

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We Love You Doncaster. We Do. Oh Yes.

keepmoat8Manny Road doesn’t usually lavish affection on opposing teams, but for Doncaster Rovers an exception can be made.  It’s the results you see.  There haven’t been many competitive fixtures between the two clubs, just nine in the history of the World, but in the most recent games, Bolton have scored lots of goals and Donny nonny, sorry none.

In January 2007, the Whites, then in the Premier League, journeyed to South Yorkshire for an FA Cup tie, with Rovers keen to show off their shiny new stadium.  Radio Five Live pitched up sensing an upset.  It didn’t happen.  With just over half an hour gone, Bolton were three goals to the good.  The commentary switched to another game.

The final result was 4-0, with two superbly taken goals by the a player referred to by Tony Gubba as “Teymourian the Iranian” or Andranik to everyone else.  When he repeated the feat in a league game at Wigan a few weeks later, there was excitement that Sam Allardyce had unearthed a gem from the least likely of places.

Sadly, it didn’t work out.  On taking over as manager, Gary Megson ignored the player and he joined Fulham, suffering a serious injury just after, which kept him out of the game for an extended period. Later, this led to problems securing a work permit and  Andranik returned to Iran.  One wonders what would have happened had circumstances been different.

Megson himself, took Bolton to the Keepmoat Stadium for a pre-season friendly, with Johan Elmander and co having fun in a 5-0 victory.   Even Dougie Freedman managed a 3-0 win over the side now led by irritating dwarf Paul Dickov, earlier this season at the Reebok.  At that time, Doncaster, in wretched form, looked like relegation fodder, but they’ve rallied since then, and will most likely be playing Championship football next season.

There’s no point trying to figure out what side Freedman will pick this evening.  Even he doesn’t always know, but Dougie’s a big fan of rotation, so he’ll be frantically counting bodies, to see if he can replace the entire side which triumphed at Huddersfield on Saturday, with a happy 92nd minute ending provided by Joe Mason.  Take a cushion for that bench, Joe.

That game was dull, but the 2,300 travelling fans, many who had arrived via the Real Ale Trail, didn’t care.  In a season which has been a non-event, it’s encouraging to see that the fun has returned, amongst Bolton’s away following.

Perhaps Doncaster will have the greater motivation.  One more win will surely see them safe, although they suffered a disappointment in going down to Birmingham at home on Saturday.  The Whites are cruising now, and a mid-table finish beckons.   Whether the players care enough about to that to give the following faithful something to cheer about remains to be seen.  We may like Doncaster a little less by 10 pm.

Andranik at the Keepmoat

– Richard McCormick

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And Here We Are at the Reebok. Oh, Hold On

johnsmiths_frontBolton fans trundling up the M62 to the game at Huddersfield today, may find themselves in surroundings that look familiar, for the much re-named John Smith’s Stadium bears a striking resemblance to the Reebok with its curly roof and overhead metal structure holding the place together.

The similarities don’t stop there.  The 1920s was a golden period for the Wanderers with three FA Cup wins. The same applies to Huddersfield who secured three successive league championships – a feat that has never been bettered.

The two clubs have notable individuals in common as well.  Former Whites goal hero Frank Worthington started his career at the Yorkshire outfit and manager Ian Greaves moved across the Pennines to join Bolton, taking them into top flight football for the first time in a generation.

The home side currently lie in 16th position in the Championship, one place and one point above the visitors.  On current form, Bolton may just start as favourites  giving the Whites a chance to move up from  17th place where they’ve been superglued for most of the season.  Huddersfield thumped Barnsley on March 1st, but haven’t won since.  Even so, striker Nahki Wells has scored three times in his last four outings,  a fact that has eluded Dougie Freedman.

“The boy Wells has not really hit the ground running,” he said.  It might be worth putting a crafty fiver on the former Bradford  City man to find the net first.

The week saw a brace of feeble April fools stories.  A hint: If the reader can’t get past the title before realising it’s a spoof, you ain’t doing it right.  But the story that ought to have been a fake, turned out not to be, with Freedman hinting that he might give Zat Knight a new contract, although the Wanderers boss couldn’t do it without throwing in a couple of snide remarks.

“Big Zat Knight is playing the best football I have ever seen him play and he’s fighting for the cause – whatever that might be, he’s fighting for it,” he told The Bolton News.

“If that’s the way it’s going to go I’ll be giving Zat six-week contracts from now on because he’s been outstanding.”

At roughly the same time, midfielder Chris Eagles, turned down loan moves to Charlton and Ipswich.   This is the same player who Freedman claimed he was going to build his side around not that long ago.

It’s been announced that the Whites have no injury problems going into this fixture, but that was said last week and it wasn’t true, so wait for the team sheet. Lukas Jutkiewicz, Joe Mason and Jermaine Beckford have all drawn praise from the Dougie this week, so they may have been left at home, judging by previous behaviour.

Around 2,000 Whites supporters will be making the journey, a sterling effort for what is a dead rubber.  But that’s been the case all season.  Three points would be a fitting reward for that loyalty in what has been a dull campaign.

– Richard McCormick

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In Faint Praise of…..Zat Knight?

Zat_CompOver the years, Bolton Wanderers have had some very capable captains. Nat Lofthouse, Roy Greaves, Gudni Bergsson and Kevin Davies to name but a few. Dammit, Harry Goslin led his team into an actual war and not a made up one where we all boo Jens Lehmann. So, when Dougie Freedman named Zat “Bag of” Knight as team captain in July, a few eyebrows were raised.

First of all, and most importantly, over the past few seasons Knight has been the most consistently under performing player this side of Mario Jardel. Best known for regularly being beaten in the air by players more than a foot smaller than he is, it is incredible to believe that Knight was capped twice by England in 2005. And when I say twice I don’t mean in a Michael Ricketts sense, his first and his last. I mean an actual two caps. Sven must have had his eye “elsewhere” at the time.

Secondly, Knight was a year away from his contract running out and naming a captain who may not be at the club the following season isn’t something that normally happens. Unless you’re Robin van Persie. And I think we can all agree that Zat Knight isn’t van Persie.

At the time, Freedman said this about the appointment “He leads by example both on and off the pitch and is very good around our younger players. There were two or three players I could have selected for the role, and Zat is one of those whose experience and leadership skills certainly fit the bill.”

I cannot comment on Knight’s approach off the pitch, but by describing him as an example on it should have given us all a precursor as to how this season would go. Who the other player or players were who were challenging for the role is unknown, but the subsequent departure of Keith Andrews to Brighton has the smell of an ‘Animal Farm’ coup about it.

As it transpires, Knight has lost his place a couple of times this season and Jay Spearing has stood in. Spearing is a different kind of captain, in so much as he is a foot shorter and has the kind of face that you don’t necessarily respect but agree with in case he murders your children in their dreams. And when Bolton and Blackpool bored nearly 15,000 people to near death last Tuesday, it was Spearing who wore the armband even though Knight was in the team.

So, why praise Knight? Did I say that just to draw you in?

Strangely enough, no. OK, I have never been his biggest fan. But something has happened over the past few weeks that has made me change my mind slightly about the big man. He’s scored two goals, albeit one off his knee when he wasn’t looking and one off his head, again when he wasn’t looking. He had a great game against Derby and then, when he was dropped for the following match, there were howls of indignation rather than howls of exasperation. On Tuesday, in one of the two non soporific moments, he headed against his own post when he would normally nod it into his own net. Small things you know. It’s all on the up and suddenly Zat Knight is playing like someone who appears to know what he is doing. Mind, I said “appears”.

Of course, there is the issue of whether or not he stays at The Reebok at the end of the season. Players tend to up their game when they don’t know what the future holds and for Knight to up his game shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. He admits he’d like to stay but in a completely unscientific poll of Bolton Wanderers fans where I live, the consensus is still that he should be allowed to leave in June. It’s been five years since he was signed in a (…what….£4million deal? That can’t be right. What sort of idiot…….? Ahhhh……!) deal from Aston Villa and, as footballers do, isn’t getting any younger. Best to get out near the top, or as near the top as you can get without ever jumping while defending a corner, and leave the stage with the rhythm of Zat Knight ringing in your ears.

Of course, we will never forget the shambolic defending, the pointing at people who should have been marking the person who has just scored from the corner, even though it was actually Zat who should have been doing it, the inability to clear lines properly and the general dunderheadedness of most of his performances. But if he can continue his good form to the end of the season, we may well don some rose tinted glasses twenty years from now and say “He was a bit crap that Zat Knight wasn’t he?”, rather than what we’ve been saying since July 2009.

And that is the very epitome of faint praise.

– Quentin X

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