This is not a clash of football’s elite. Sunderland and Bolton may command top 10 places for Facebook visits (with Sunderland at the top), but that is where our league table successes begin and end.
You’d expect Wanderers fans to be cock-a-hoop after that great result at Upton Park, itself coming on the heels of victory against Wolves. Chris Mann* from the Burnden Aces fans site – who has already previewed SAFC v Bolton for Salut! Sunderland, only for the game to be snowed off – welcomes the brighter outlook but predicts something Sunderland supporters have forgotten the feeling of – a home win at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night …
Salut! Sunderland: So now, despite your great win at Upton Park, it’s a six pointer. We didn’t expect to be having those at the wrong end of the table this season. Did you?
The fans would rather not be battling it out at the wrong end of the table, but after the first few games we could all see we were in for yet another long season! Back-to-back wins for the first time in a year have helped ease the suicidal mood around the place. A week ago we were looking doomed, it’s amazing what a couple of games can do in this poor league.
Owen Coyle has a couple of victories under his belt. What do you make of him so far and to what do you attribute his success so far in turning things around?
Being a former player, Coyle was a popular appointment but his lack of experience in a relegation battle is worrying. Prior to our last two games, we had failed to score in five consecutive league matches and although we were playing well, luck was against us. But you can’t afford to feel sorry for yourselves when you’re down at the foot.
And in which positions do you now think Bolton and Sunderland will finish?
Early in the season I would have tipped Sunderland for the top half. Since the whole beach ball incident you seem to have gone completely downhill to a point that not many would have predicted. Bolton! have a nasty habit of losing to sides that haven’t won for months, so expect three points on Tuesday night! I think both sides will be fine and we’ll be battling it out to be the best of the worst down at the bottom. 13th is realistically the highest either side will finish unless sides like Blackburn above us hit a slump. We have a very tough run in though so even though I’d like to see us pushing for 13th, I still think we’ll be very close to that bottom three.
Will you have more than 250 fans at our game – and what do you think explains that low turnout at Spurs?
Our away support has never been that great. We like to make a lot of noise, but what’s the use when nobody turns up in the first place. A long trip on a Tuesday night won’t appeal to many so your prediction of 250 might not be far off. I’m not sure how many bought tickets for the original game, but we may even have 300 on show!
The excuse for the Spurs game was similar. This game was televised (or streamed online), cost in the region of £25 plus travel, was midweek and most expected us to get thumped (which we did). I can’t make excuses because I wasn’t there and won’t be on Tuesday night but our away support only really turn out in numbers for the derby games unfortunately.
Any views on the off the field distractions affecting England? Would you have booed John Terry?
What happens off the field doesn’t bother me. I don’t know the full story but I understand what has happened. From professional level to primary school level, there’s always somebody that you don’t see eye to eye with on the field.
Whilst I don’t agree with what John Terry did, I think Wayne Bridge quitting the set-up was the wrong decision. If Ashley Cole wasn’t the obvious first choice, I think his decision may have been a little different!
Did you see the Shawcross tackle on Ramsey or the Ridgewell tackle on James McCarthy and a linesman? Any thoughts?
I thought the Ridgewell tackle was poor and he might have been sent off if the linesman could remember what had hit him! (Poor)
I’ve seen the Shawcross tackle but not any of the replays. It looked to be a strong tackle what Ramsey beat him to and by all accounts (apart from Arsene Wenger) is was a horrible accident.
Of course Wenger condemned Shawcross to hell for it. A few years ago, Abou Diaby broke Ivan Campo’s foot in a two-footed tackle. In 2007 he was sent off for a high lunge on Gretar Steinsson, with our man lucky to avoid a broken leg himself. Then in January, William Gallas hit Mark Davies with another two-footed tackle. With Davies on the floor with ankle ligament damage, Arsene’s golden boys played on to score. We were 2-1 up at the time!
My point here is Wenger likes a good moan when it’s one of his players that get injured, but when it’s his mob dishing out the treatment he can’t handle the consequences that come with it. Alarmingly, the tackles I listed above are only in games involving us. There are 18 other teams in the league and I’m sure some tasty tackles happen in those games too!
And finally, the result tomorrow night?
I think you’ll do us 2-0. You’re long overdue three points and we’re quite generous in rolling over for sides on a run like yours!
* Chris Mann on Chris Mann:
I’m the guy behind the Burnden Aces website and I’m known on the web as Manny. I’m a 20-year-old student at The University of Bolton and was brought up in the town, so that explains my choice of team. I’ve been a season ticket holder for nine years now and after our recent form on the road I’d banned myself from going to anymore away games this season. But with the sacking of Megson and hopeful appointment of Coyle, I’ll be following them across the country again, though I wasn’t one of the unlucky few who went down to Arsenal on Wednesday night.
And for those who’d like a reminder, here is what Chris made of some of the questions before the postponed tie:
We’ve had some real scraps over the past few years, you winning when necessary, walloping us on our own turf. Is it a fixture you look forward to?
I usually see this as a fixture where the home side should win. Sunderland have a poor record at the Reebok and we have a poor record at the Stadium of Light, apart from last season when we put an end to Roy Keane (shame).
I’ve never been to Sunderland before so I’ve never had the chance to look forward to it, but come Saturday that might be different under new management.
Were you sad, pleased or unconcerned when Newcastle went down and do you reckon they’ll hold their own back in the Premier?
Like most of the nation I thought it was hilarious when they went down. Our former skipper Kevin Nolan is getting a lot of rave reviews this season, but many Wanderers fans believe he has found his level after struggling for the last two years with us. I think they’re certain to come back up and with the squad they have they
should be looking to survive easily. It will be interesting to see how Nolan does next season!
Name this season’s top four, in order.
And the bottom three.
Assuming neither of our clubs was in the first list, and hoping we weren’t in the second, where will Bolton and Sunderland finish up?
Sunderland started off well and I would have tipped you for Europe, but after a bit of an inconsistent couple of months I think you’ll finish around 10th. As for Bolton, it all depends how we do under a new manager. Under Megson we probably would have just about stayed up, but hopefully with a breath of fresh air around the Reebok we can push on to anywhere between 11th and 15th (NB: see updated responses above).
Do links between players and staff who have served both clubs – Allardyce, Colin Todd, McCann, Peter Reid, Diouf to name but a few – mean much to you? Any memories good or bad?
After the 4-1 game last season a lot was made of Diouf’s little “reunion” with the Bolton players and effectively put an end to his non-start career at Sunderland. I was surprised he didn’t last long but after seeing his recent form at Blackburn, maybe you were right to get rid! Obviously Todd and Allardyce mean a lot to Bolton as they have both played a huge part in our success in the last 15 years, the less said about the other two the better!
The Eduardo question: only a win will keep you up on the final day of the season. In the last second, Gary Cahill goes down and gets a penalty even though everyone in the ground except the ref knows he dived. Wanderers score, win and stay up. You take it gladly, you take it guiltily or you’re so ashamed you almosgt wish you’d only drawn?
Everybody hates a player who dives, unless they’re one of their own. One famous incident for us at Bolton is Diouf diving at Blackburn and scoring the penalty to give us a 1-0 win.
Bolton fans had a good laugh at the time (and still do), but there isn’t any place for it in the game for me. Now look where Diouf plays his football!
Should Ngog, Henry, Drogba and countless A N Others be added to that question and was it outrageous to use Mr Cahill’s name?
Your little dig at Mr Cahill was highly inappropriate. You forgot to add a certain Steven Gerrard to the list by the way!
Club v country: rooting for England all the way in S Africa or too concerned with Bolton to care much?
I’ll be supporting England when the time comes, but for now there is a lot going on at Bolton to even acknowledge the World Cup. We should have a couple of players there in Lee Chung-Yong and hopefully Gary Cahill so it could be an interesting summer for us.