No sooner had ”Bob” supplied his answers for the Bolton Wanderers ”Who are You?” than our old friend Howard Page – doubtless fired by events at Villa Park – overcame pressure of work and did likewise. Salut! Sunderland policy is straightforward: if a supporter takes the trouble to answer our questions, we ensure the effort is not wasted. Howard was also perfectly happy to use his full name – his band The Menu can always use publicity …
Salut! Sunderland: Explain why Bolton must somehow stay up and whether they deserve to ….
We need to stay up in order for the club to remain on an even financial keel. Should we be relegated I think we’d find it hard to get back up. Without the parachute payments it would be hard to sustain the club debt with reduced income. Not that I’m a financial expert but I’d prefer not to think about it just yet! As to whether we deserve to. If Wigan, Blackbum and QPR continue their resurgence then I’d have to say no. We managed to beat the Villa away (which pleased me greatly as I work in that area and most of my colleagues are Villa fans). I’m hoping for a resurgence!
If you manage it, what – or who – then needs to change or are you in for the same sort of battle season after season?
Initially I feel we’ve been terribly unlucky this season with injuries. More broken legs than a centipede under a Sherman tank plus other well documented problems have left the squad threadbare. Hopefully if we can get these guys fit for next season we’ll have a much better squad from which to choose. We still lack a decent striker. I love SKD but we can’t rely on him for much longer, and that’s assuming he doesn’t jump ship at the end of this season. I would like Owen to get some assistance with his tactics, particularly when changing things around when we seem to revert to the old tried, tested and definitely set to lose 442. But first and foremost for we need someone who can score goals! If we can find that we should be able to improve.
And if you don’t, can Bolton do a Newcastle or is it likely to be no Premier football for some time to come?
The latter I think.
Do you wish you had Martin O’Neill rather than Owen Coyle?
Tough one – Martin has more experience at this level and may be a better tactician but Owen has the full support of the fans as an ex-Bolton player which we now know to be hugely important so as to avoid the ‘Megson Factor’. I think we’ll stick with Owen whether we stay up or go down. We’re not an attractive proposition to a potential new manager as a Premier League team never mind as a Championship one!
Describe your feelings about football’s general response to Fabrice Muamba’s collapse and give me your message to him as begins his recovery
Touching. I watched the game and I’ve never before seen, and never again want to see, the horrified reactions of those who witnessed first hand Fab’s collapse. He’s one of the nicest chaps you’ll ever meet and a great family guy. The world has been behind him and who knows he may play again for us. We wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next.
Name this season’s Premier top four in order.
Chelsea (I know! I should stick a tenner on that one!)
And hand on heart, the bottom three
Bottom Wolves, then Blackburn then QPR (ever the optimist!)
Where will Bolton finish, if not relegated, and Sunderland?
Bolton 17th if we’re lucky, Sunderland top half – 9th.
What do you make of the Man City/PSG route to successGood to see the elite shaken up a bit (even PSG had been in the doldrums) or part of the ruin of the game??
As a Bolton fan I’m relatively impartial to the top of the league. It is good to see things so tight with ups and downs and any of the top teams beatable by any of the lower teams! Beaten even in many cases! I’m a cynic when it comes to putting huge sums into a club and expecting immediate results. I believe it takes time, 3 or 4 seasons even to build a great side capable of consistently challenging at the top. Who knows, this could be Citeh?
Would you be proud or ashamed to have Ashley Young in Bolton’s side? Is he currently the worst of football’s divers and cheats generally or are there too many contenders for the title?
As I’ve said before I don’t like the diving, feigning injury or generally cheating of any kind. It’s all part and parcel of the European game and over the past few seasons it’s come into the English game. I blame Jurgan Klinsmann! Solving this problem is very difficult as is the lack of respect shown to match officials. Maybe the introduction of technology to assist the officials will buck the trend but I don’t think we can ever rule it out completely. For me it has spoiled the game somewhat. In many a great game of football, the joy of watching is diluted by the diving and cheating.
Will you be gripped more by the Olympics or Euro 2012, or will it depend on your post-season mood?
I prefer football to athletics. I’ll watch the big finals if there is a British contender. But for me it will always be Euro 2012.
Will you be at our game? If not how will you keep tabs and what will be the score?
No. I went to the Villa game and was lucky to be taken by a pal of mine who has a box at The Villa. I was surrounded by Villa fans. I was told no colours in the box so I wore a plain white T-Shirt with BOLTON born and bred on the front. I thought this to be suitably subtle. As I walked down the road to the pub where we were meeting a van pulled up and two Blue Noses rolled the window and, pointing at my shirt, shouted “Come On Bolton – Stuff The b*****s” and with that drove off. It was the start of a memorable evening for any Bolton fan! I’m pleased to say I did my bit to the current beer shortage in the village!
* Howard Page on Howard Page: : I am 47,was born in Bolton and have supported the Trotters from a boy. In 2001 we moved up to Scotland close to Loch Lomond but I work I Warwickshire so I drive up and down the M6 weekly. This means I don’t often repeat the process at weekend to go to see Bolton. I do usually see a few games each season especially when we are in Bolton visiting family. Bolton has a small but passionate Scottish fan base mainly consisting of us ‘ex-pats’ and we often arrange trips down to England to see Bolton play. But it’s a long journey home when we lose – particularly from the capital. I design and build web sites and we have www.bwfcscotland.com as our Scottish based supporters site. I also play in a rock band called The Menu. www.themenuband.co.uk If you are looking for a band to play at any of your wedding or function let us know. The photo shows me playing in my band, The Menu. I was hoping to send a picture of me in my ‘Bolton Born And Bred’ tee shirt but unfortunately it’s in the wash. Thanks for letting me share my views with you.
Interview: Colin Randall