Bolton fans face tonight’s game at QPR, with a mixture of nervousness and resignation.
A seven goal massacre at Reading, against a side who had only scored three times in their previous five Championship games and who didn’t hit the net in the match after, is bad enough. But the latest opponents are 11 points better off in the table than the Royals and have only suffered one league defeat since the start of November, and that against leaders, Leicester City.
Then there’s the small matter of history. Before Reading, who were the last team to score seven goals against Bolton? Queens Park Rangers of course, in 1982 with the benefit of a plastic pitch that only they knew how to play on.
This season has been grim for the Whites, comprising a mere a handful of wins, none of them against clubs higher than fifteenth in the table, and a series of feeble capitulations when faced with adversaries who were even mildly competent.
There’s a reason for this. Due to a dressing room prank involving coat hangers and superglue, manager Dougie ‘Record Breaker’ Freedman, has spent an entire managerial career with his arms outstretched. This means he can’t give proper hand signals to the players, and deputy Lenny Lawrence is too decrepit to take over that task. Shaking hands with Freedman is difficult as well, unless you walk along side him.
Despite this, Dithering Dougie has the safest job in football. Results don’t matter and neither do performances. He’d have to be caught rimming one of the ball boys before dismissal was even considered, and even that deed would probably be filed under ‘youth development.’
Spirits amongst the Reebok faithful have been lifted slightly, with the exit of Owen Coyle’s biggest mistake, the Gallic shrug in a football shirt that is David N’Gog. The Frenchman joined Swansea yesterday for an undisclosed fee, or to put it another way, next to bugger all. On the down side, that leaves Craig Donkey-Davies, a big lad who kicks like a girl, as the only recognised striker.
By contrast QPR, are rumbling along quite nicely. Given the money spent on wages and transfer fees, one might argue that they should be running away with the title, but the BBC’s local outfit has only lost four times in the league and acquired a habit of grinding out results whilst not playing that well.
Football’s a funny game, as anyone who has made a prediction that turned out to be wildly inaccurate will tell you. Perhaps Harry Redknapp’s men, realising that they’re up against a bunch of duffers, have spent the weekend on an extended bender, and will turn up at Loftus Road, half an hour before the game, still pissed and smelling of wee and wags perfume. But unless that happens it’s difficult to see beyond a convincing home victory.
– Richard McCormick