After last week’s humiliation away at Reading, Bolton take on Cardiff City at the Reebok in the FA Cup.
There’s not much to cheer Whites fans at present, so it’s a good job that the visitors have Vincent Tan to provide amusement. Changing Cardiff’s cherished blue shirts to read, booing his own team off the pitch and publicly undermining former manager Malky Mackay, before sacking him, are just some of the antics ascribed to the club owner. If reports coming out of South Wales are to be believed, the Malaysian businessman has now recommended signing players with an 8 in their birth date, as it’s considered lucky.
It should be noted here that Zat Knight was born on 2nd May 1980. That’s just the one eight, Vincent, but how many do you need? Zat’s been lucky for lots of club, just not Bolton. If a fee of around half a million pounds can be agreed there could be a deal here. We’d offer you more to take him off our hands, but money’s a bit tight at present. You can collect him after today’s game. Thanks.
Bolton have their own mad man, in the form of Douglas ‘Record Breaker’ Freedman, who’s spent most of the week dissing his own players for being rubbish and overpaid, thus reducing the chance of moving them on from slight to nil.
However, those individuals will still be picked this Saturday. “Too many players didn’t play well against Reading but they have a responsibility to the football club to dust themselves down and go again,” he told the Bolton News.
There’s also someone else to blame for the Wanderers woes. Apparently, it’s God’s fault.
“I think someone up there doesn’t like me,” he said. A few down here aren’t that keen either Dougie.
Bolton have played Cardiff in the FA Cup 4th round before, way back in 1973, when the Whites led by Jimmy Armfield were on a promotion charge from the old third division.
The first game, at Burnden Park saw mild controversy, with the visitors equalising in the 97th minute with no one, bar the referee, able to understand why so much time had been added on. The replay at Ninian Park, ended in a draw, with Armfield’s side going through with a 1-0 win in the 2nd replay on neutral ground at West Brom. None of your namby pamby penalty shoot outs in those days.
With Cardiff in bottom place in the Premier League, one might expect them to field a weakened side, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is already under pressure with a losing rate of 100%, so capitulating to a side fighting it’s own relegation battle in a division below, will not go down well with Tan the Man. In addition, the newly appointed manager will still be sounding out his new charges.
Consequently, the visitors start as favourites. But it’s not a foregone conclusion. Will Freedman’s men respond to the criticism and double training sessions that have been imposed all week? Or will the Bolton manager find out, like Phil Brown did at Hull, that sticking the boot into his own players in public is the beginning of the end?
– Richard McCormick