Bolton deserve only lower league football. Can SAFC beat them AND Everton?

Jake brightens up the site again
Jake brightens up the site again

Everyone except John McCormick has been too busy to write for Salut! Sunderland and no one has even had time to post John’s piece (that will be rectified tomorrow).


For now you will have to make do with – and treat as an excuse for posting comments on anything Sunderland-related under the sun – this extract from Monsieur Salut’s latest offering to ESPN, which can be viewed here in full:


Andre Marriner’s mother is said to have telephoned with a maternal rebuke when he made the harsh decision to show a straight red to Michael Turner, then a Sunderland player, in Mark Hughes’s last game in charge of Manchester City.

We must assume the entire family, indeed every Marriner in the land, has by now called him to ask why on earth he allowed Luis Suarez to get away with a respectable impression of a basketball player as he controlled the ball with his raised hand before kicking it – sheepishly I thought – into the net at Mansfield.

Sunderland corners of Twitterland were awash with choice abuse of Suarez for some time after this refereeing howler effectively ended the home side’s valiant hopes that an exhilaratingly plucky second half would at least take Liverpool back to Anfield for a replay.

… But surrounded by anti-Suarez tweets from Sunderland supporters was a beacon of commonsense, a fan pointing out the self-evident truth that no professional footballer would have owned up in such circumstances. The theme was repeated elsewhere, not least in Gordon Strachan’s comment that if you get away with parking illegally, you do not ring the council to say you owe them £85.

… If the 2-0 lead into which Bolton Wanderers sailed on Saturday presented one stiff obstacle to realisation of the cup dream, overcome by the Connor Wickham poke and Craig Gardner rocket, the draw for Fourth Round brings another.

It is fair to say Everton have become a bogey team for Sunderland. A rare avoidance of defeat at Goodison, in the FA Cup last season, brought hope that the mould could be broken; Everton had other ideas and swept aside the home team at the Stadium of Light in such imperious fashion that Sunderland’s season never really recovered.

… It would be a huge shame if Sunderland completed the job against Bolton only to fail yet again to emerge from a game against Everton without a win.

Avoiding defeat at Bolton was reward for the players’ resilience. It was an even more deserved outcome for the 5,000 travelling supporters.  Sadly, that impressive figure meant only 7,204 Bolton fans bothered to attend a supposedly attractive game against Premier League opponents. Now, the town of Bolton has suffered no more grievously from economic woes than Sunderland and its County Durham catchment area.

I do not suppose for a second that the replay will produce a bumper gate. It will still be a lot higher than 12,204 and no more than a few hundred of them, at most, are likely to be Wanderers supporters. Is it reasonable to say that with such a feeble home turn-out, Bolton does not deserve a cup run, let alone renewed top-flight status. If the replay goes to script, Sunderland can then get on with worrying about Everton – and praying not to meet Suarez, hands or feet, in subsequent rounds.

35 thoughts on “Bolton deserve only lower league football. Can SAFC beat them AND Everton?”

  1. At least you got a much bigger home attendance to watch you loose to lower league opposition…


    Because that’s all that matters in football.

    Toodle pip!

  2. heh guys!!!! are my little blue eyes shining bright right now, or what? i wasnt there (as i previously wrote, i was working) but regardless of how many fans turned up, or left early for that matter! We won we gave your boys one hellova beating lol its seems by al thats god – ie bbc 5live, bbc manchester & Tower FM (Boltons local radio station) we seemed to have out played you dare i say again lol.
    Anyway enough allready you have some serious probs now guys, yeh we do too but our confidence like our best players is on the up and returning! Well next is the Palace and then the Toffees. Heh good luck guys for the rest of the season hopefully we’ll see you next year in the prem, us via the play off, you by the skin of your teeth…. Aww come on howayyy kanny lads show your good side n let us be happy with a win!
    Ants 🙂

  3. Short answer, based on half a century of disappointment punctuated by occasional joy, would be no.

    MoN is the best manager we could hope to have but he cannot work miracles, namely in attracting players (not forgetting the Wag factor) to the North East.

    I am not bothered when someone from Greater Manchester or Merseyside slags off the region. Even they have problems getting the people they want, especially from abroad. I love the NE but moved away for work reasons just before we last won the FA Cup. Often, players who join one of the region’s clubs find happiness there, too, but it wouldn’t stop them moving away for “work reasons”.

    When you realise that even a counter-bid from Reading, QPR or Southampton may be seen by a player, his wife or his agent as more attractive, you identify one pressing reason why the odds will always be stacked against us.

    That said, top 10 every season, and the odd cup final of one kind or another, would satisfy me and I have come to long for the day the “big clubs”, really no more than brands, depart to some tedious European or world superleague and let the rest of us make what we can of the remains.

    • well it seems that my reply to salut(not now living in)sunderland, really caused a few people to raise the levels of conversation, not a bad thing eh! John Mac & Vince from SAFC mention some points good and bad, however, Poiskey & John Leather have replied with sensible comments – its easy after the event to write oh i meant this that or the other, or to generate a response. Anyway, to football;If you play as badly again as you did at the Reebok,I think you all turned up because you thought we’d be an easy turnover didnt you! on Tuesday night i can see us pulling off a good result. I hope you give us all a nice receiption too, we had to have a nice little run back to the car the last time we visited your place! Good luck for the prem (only) 🙂 Ants

  4. Posting a title saying Bolton only deserve lower league football is a little harsh. Only Everton have enjoyed more time in top flight football than Bolton in British football history. It was a little bit of an embarrassment only 7,200 fans turned up from the local side, that cannot be doubted. As mentioned earlier in the post, alot has gone wrong and the likelihood is it could take a long time to rectify. It looks like in the replay Sunderland fans will be treated to the return of Stuart Holden in some shape or fashion, a player who for one reason or another managed to be on the books of Sunderland without making an appearance. Can we ask you don’t injure him please?

    • John: we’ll take good care of Mr Holden, I’m sure. I didn’t really mean to condemn Bolton to anything at all and, as I say, I’d be pleased if the club regained Premier status. I’ve also admitted the headline was intended to get BWFC fans commenting and I’m curiously grateful for the brickbats that have come my way. From a peek at the stats, I can say more appear to have followed the link on Bolton’s page for this item at than did so to see the Bolton Who are You? (see link in one of my earlier comments), which naturally cast your club in a much more positive light.

      • Thanks for that @Salut Sunderland. It’s an admittedly great little tool. Well done on getting it read, as a fellow football fan and maker of a site like this it’s obvious to see the method. What do you make of the current situation at Sunderland? Can you see a light at the end of your own club’s tunnel.

      • i suppose its actually not a bad way to get ppl talking , i myself have always quite liked sunderland , nothing wrong with the club at all , my only point was is Bolton fans really are going through a crap time right now , problem we have is nobody really knows whats coming next, under allardyce you knew you would not get beat at the reebok , but christ now ! anybody can beat us, so its quite depressing to watch the football , to be honest i dont expect us to take many to the stadium of light next week obviously from my reasons i stated earlier and also its a midweek game , you boys will be up for it as i see its your anniversary 20 years since you last lifted it , the best thing you can do is back your lads and who knows , could be a special year again, obviously i still hope we win ! but if you beat us , i hope you would go all the way , best of luck !

      • If any Sunderland player lifted it 20 years ago (nearer 21) it would have been to pick it up for a celebrating Liverpool player who’d inadvertently let it fall! The anniversary of our last win in an FA Cup final is 40 years this May. Losing at Wembley is easier; we’ve done it four times since in Milk Cup, FA Cup and two playoff finals

  5. Blimey its getting a bit gnarly in here.

    I felt sorry for Bolton and can remember the days when we only got 12-13 000s back in the bad old days.Though I don’t think Bolton ever got more than the 25000 gates in their recent heyday under Allardyce.Though as has been pointed out competition from other clubs is high,not to mention the Rugby League distraction as well which we do not suffer from in the NE.

    Maybe best not to crow at others misfortunes.There for the grace of God.And with 4 FA cup wins Bolton’s FA cup pedigree is solid.

    Something has gone sadly wrong at Bolton,maybe Bolton fans can illuminate us as to exactly what has caused it,rather than us just going tit for tat.

    • For top attendance it depends how far back you go, our record at Burnden stood at 69,912 and we would regularly get over 40k on, in more recent times our record at the Reebok is 28,353, a number we regularly got close to in the early years in the Premier League under Allardyce.

      Opinions differ on what has gone wrong at the club, but my take is that all sides have to shoulder some of the blame… though Phil Gartside more than most, its not just his comments on league structure that have been ridiculous at times.

      Supposedly Allardyce left because he felt he wasn’t backed with the funding he needed to propel us towards the Champions League spots (before you laugh, we were 3rd in the Prem at Christmas before falling back to qualify for the Europa League in 2007/08). Whether the money to back him was there or not is up for debate, but the huge sums spent by Gary Megson would suggest it was, and Allardyce was right to feel aggrieved for not being given it.

      In retrospect Gary Megson did a better job than many Bolton fans gave him credit for at the time, but the football we played in staying up under him was dire, and we would probably have been relegated anyway the season he was replaced with Owen Coyle.

      Coyle was a clear fans favourite due to his previous association with the club as a player, and the perceived style of play of Burnley under his management, but in the couple of months before Wembley it all started to fall apart, and everyone else noticed after that awful April day (I stayed to the end, but don’t blame those who left in numbers). Beating Arsenal the following weekend couldn’t really mask the fact that we were in trouble, but many fans were reluctant to call for Coyle’s head after what happened with Megson and this prevarication probably contributed to us getting relegated last summer.

      I haven’t mentioned the players yet: in my experience Bolton fans (and I would guess Sunderland fans too) will tolerate a lot so long as players give 100% effort for the team. There are many examples of Bolton players who in all honesty, weren’t great, but always gave 100% and so were fan favourites. This effort has been sorely lacking last season and into this season, and was probably what did for Coyle as it was clear he couldn’t motivate them anymore (as well as his tactical naivety and clear lack of anything even resembling a plan B). Coupled with the fact that Coyle bought many players who need to work hard to make up for their relative lack of skill, its not a good mix.

      I mention Gartside should take a large part of the blame, and that’s presided over the appointments of Sammy Lee (who was so awful I’ve not afforded him any space here), Megson and Coyle, and while for me Dougie Freedman looks a decent appointment for our current situation, with better appointments it might be argued we would still be in the Premier League. Though again you can talk about luck, had Ivan Klasnic’s shot at the end of our game at the Stadium of Light last season gone in, we would have stayed up and QPR would have been relegated.

      Lastly the fans, many are too quick to boo at games even when the performance didn’t deserve it (don’t get me wrong, there have been enough times I would say the booing has been deserved, but still) and seem to be of the opinion we have some god-given right to be in the top league, which I guess comes from being spoilt with 11 consecutive years in that league!

      All in all a dangerous concoction, but one I hope a season or two in the Championship will begin to rectify.

      Sorry if this is a bit long-winded!

  6. Bolton Wanderers:
    Four times winners of the FA cup
    Three times runners-up
    Made the semi-finals another 7 times.

    That’s a history to be proud of.

    But at home against a struggling premiership team, in reasonable weather for January and with reasonable prices for a cup tie, only 7,000 turned up.That suggests there’s a problem somewhere.

    You’ve battled with us for promotions and to avoid relegations since the start of the premiership and deservedly earned our respect. I’d like to see you back in the premiership.

    But don’t blame Blackpool or Burnley for your lack of support, and don’t even think that Bolton fans would go to Blackburn. Nor can you blame Man Utd. Their ground has always been full and there’s no room for defecting Bolton fans. Have you all turned into Citeh supporters? That’s the only alternative. With your heritage I doubt it, but if you have, shame on you.

  7. Bluebelly
    EFC under Moyes are a bogey team because they always turn us over. I accept this could also apply to MUFC. We’ve beaten everyone else ‘up top’ at some point including Liverpool, Citeh, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelski. Hence they’re not bogey teams. It’s hardly controversial. That said it’s time we turned over EFC. They’ll have to make do with a top 6 finish as we knock Bolton and then EFC out of the cup….amidst all of the traditional yo yo-ing if course

  8. So everton are sunderlands bogey team ?
    Strange one that … Isnt this akin to saying man utd
    Are evertons bogey team,id hazzard a guess as to
    Why you always seem to get negative results against
    Everton… Over the last 40 years or so sunderland
    Have been a yo yo club , and everton are still to my knowledge the 4th or 5th most successfull club in english
    Football.. I Wonder why you think we are a bogey team
    To you as opposed to liverpool , man utd etc etc
    Strange one that

  9. Eric. This was one of the rumours circulating re Bent’s exclusion; ie that payments were imminent; ie only a couple of games away. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a manager as clueless as Lambert with his three paper lads masquerading as a defence. Some managers lose the plot, but Lambert doesn’t seem to realise that there was one in the first place.

  10. Your comments above are spot on Malcolm. Just another example of the hypocrisy and arrogance the oozes from Old Trafford. Their withdrawal was the death knell for this competition. Their contempt for the League Cup in fielding youth teams is a further example if one was needed. It took decades for the League Cup to reach almost parity in terms of significance with the FA Cup and only a few short years of contempt from the “top clubs” to ensure that their cartel called the Premier League became the only show in town.

  11. Stu Mac
    I try to avoid labels or insults. Life’s too short. Bolton are a proper club who are respected by many neutrals. I was genuinely surprised by the crowd size. I was sorry to see them go down and hope they turn it round

    If we’re a yo yo club then so be it. I suspect you’d exchange places with us. I think this is our 6th or 7th year in the premiership. We’re far from safe… is the case with everyone in the bottom half

    Self righteous? Hardly. If you return to this site you’ll see proper critique of our club and fans. True support doesn’t have to be blind or based on ignorance. We have noisy neighbours up the road who specialise in tht brand of fanaticism.

    Have a good 2013

  12. I’ll tell you why you have so many “loyal” away fans. A high proportion of overweight, drunk none family raising men who want nothing more than to drink their sorrows away while escaping the destitution of living in a sweaty cultureless armpit of the part of the country they where so unfortunate to be born in. Just like the fat tattoed geordies that like to take their tops off that kind of “loyalty” is nothing more than a mask. No top top drawer players ever make S’land their home and certainly not the foreign lads.

    • tommy tit – either you have a great sense of irony and are really a Sunderland fan in disguise or you have chosen the most appropriate alias of anyone who has ever posted on this site.

      Now I’m off to drink my sorrows away.

  13. The saddest thing that I am reading here is the Bolton fans who say it’s only the F.A. Cup and that promotion is more important.

    That’s not a dig at them by the way just my personal sadness that one of the things I used to get really excited about as a child (F.A. Cup day) has now just become a meaningless diversion for so many people.

    I heard SAF on the radio the other day saying how great the Cup is and how teams should treat it with respect. This from the manager of the club that decided to withdraw from the competition so they could play in a really meaningless fixture in Brazil with the Football Association’s blessing.

    • Worse than that Malcolm, they were then allowed to re-join the competition at exactly the same level the following season, which breached the competition rules. That was when the FA Cup was seriously undermined and has singularly failed to recover

  14. Easy to be self righteous when you have a catchment area spanning several counties encompassing 2 or 3 teams. Last season Bolton had 6 premier league team all in the space of a 40 mile radius, two of whom are the most successful in English history.

    Pull your head out of the hole from which you clearly speak. You are a yoyo club at best. If it wasn’t for founder members like Bolton, there wouldn’t be a football league.


    • It was a deliberately provocative headline and achieved its aim. You may have enjoyed the pre-match Who are You? feature with an intelligent, interesting Bolton supporter Spencer Rathbone ( ). The standard of such features has been described here as consistently high yet Bolton has always presented a serious struggle in terms of finding anyone willing to take part – or, often enough, willing to reply to an approach. I am saddened by the appalling level of FA Cup gates, not just at Bolton last weekend. And I hope you get promotion. But I make no apologies for the points I made in the article.

  15. Off topic I know, but having just watched Darren Bent miss a sitter, I was wondering when we are due a large sum of money from Villa. Was it 3M after 50 appearances? He must have made that many now.

  16. I will let you all know when the number of hits from indignant Bolton fans exceeds the number of Bolton fans at Saturday’s game. That’s the mischievous bit; the real thought is that Neil, above, is right, in saying”Too few for a proper club like Bolton.”

  17. Just a sad state really. Not bitter particularly. 12000 season tickets is respectable. Our away (5000) fans plus the season ticket holders would have made for a better atmosphere as well as more cash for Bolton. In the Championship clubs have to work for their money unlike the Premiership where smaller clubs than Bolton luxuriate in Sky’s money. Maybe next time Bolton could offer more tickets to the away club. I hope Bolton turn things round and start heading up the league. I also hope that next time we play there more than 7000 home fans turn up. Too few for a proper club like Bolton.

  18. come on you cant say that out of bitterness because bolton fans didnt turn up to watch your beloved sunderland , the point is , is it was not exactly an attractive game in the 3rd round was it , a game against sunderland ? no thanks , not when your doing awful in the league and you dont care about cup but more about promotion , if the tables were reversed and sunderland were 14th in the championship doing terribly ad you drew us at home in the cup , i doubt you would bring that many either so dont kid your self , you will be lucky not to be where we are next season anyways , then we will see.

  19. what a waste of comments your man wrote here, and so full of mistakes and rubbish. So which is it Bolton the town or Bolton the city? Well Einsteen its a town, and while your region has suffered from poor eceonomics so has our town suffered. Your region has Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Sunderland and Newcastle and maybe Grimsby nearby. We in Bolton are surrounded by, Man U, Man City, Liverpool, Everton, Tranmere Rovers, Oldham Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Bury, Rochdale, Wigan Athletic,Burnley and Blackpool. So the point being that we have local teams who compete with us for the megre amounts of fans who can afford to pay to watch football. Were relegated at the last game of last season and we took over 5000 fans to Stoke City too, and this was with a team utterley decimated by injuries and ravaged by own own crap manager. We have over 12000 season ticket holders, but due to our poor record since we were relegated and the expense thats the reason for our poor attendance in a game were not really prioritising. Now for us the realities are of getting to the play offs. But heh all you sunderland fans and this idiot guest writer, dont forget where YOU came from and how close you are to us still.

    • Slip of the pen .. now remedied. Where I live for half the year, a city and a town mean much the same thing. At least it stirred Bolton fans into some sort of excitement

  20. Clearly the attractiveness of an FA Cup tie versus bloody Sunderland didn’t warm the cockles of Bolton folk’s hearts! We see enough poor teams in the second division without seeing another unscheduled one in the FA Cup. Also, people around Bolton do have other things to see and do while those from Sunderland obviously don’t and can’t wait to get out of Sunderland to civilisation every other week.

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