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Megson pays price for raised expectations

By | 1st January 2010

So, the Bolton fans have got their way, with chairman Phil Gartside finally putting Gary Megson out of his misery on Wednesday.

The reaction of the fans at the Hull game perhaps pointed to such an outcome; they clearly weren’t happy and such an atmosphere forces a board into action. But the reality is that the fans have been hostile to Megson since day one.

Appointed (to an underwhelming reception) to replace Sammy Lee, the legacy of Sam Allardyce still loomed large as the fans, accustomed to top six finishes, waited for more of the same.

But sadly the reality was that the wonders worked by Allardyce were never sustainable and with a limited budget Megson knew Premier League survival was his first priority.

That was achieved fairly comfortably, but the fans then expected Megson to kick on and challenge the top ten. When this didn’t happen the atmosphere at the Reebok became increasingly sour. I lost count of the amount of times Megson commented on the fans’ negative attitude towards him in post-match interviews. He was a dead man walking for a while and the supporters’ continued intolerance to him meant a change had to be made if they were to progress.

So, all the noise now is about the odds for the next Bolton manager. But what does the new man face? Well, a relegation battle for sure. The club lie 18th in the table after sacrificing a 2-0 lead to Hull, and are level on points with the Tigers, with West Ham only three points off 12th.

There will be limited funds available in January for squad improvement, so a lot of responsibility will be placed on senior players like Kevin Davies and Matthew Taylor to dig the Trotters out of this hole.

Megson tried to rid Wanderers of their agricultural reputation when it came to their style of play, and to be fair he did get them playing some nice stuff at times.

It seems ironic, though, that his failings have cost him his job and a return to the ‘Bolton’ style long ball could be the thing that saves them from relegation.

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