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Coyle's high-risk Bolton move

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Phil McNulty | 09:19 UK time, Monday, 4 January 2010

Owen Coyle came to worldwide attention when the razzamatazz of Wrestlemania XXV in Houston last April was punctured by a Burnley fan brandishing a banner in front of millions of American television viewers.

It read "Owen Coyle Is God". There is now a Facebook group with nearly 800 members paying similar homage while a Burnley butcher gratefully created a sausage in the 43-year-old Scot's honour after he guided The Clarets back to English football's top tier after 33 years. There was even a suggestion local crime rates had dropped in line with improved results.

Now Coyle appears to be considering risking this elevated status, not to mention the butcher's sausages, by pondering the 31-mile trip from Burnley's Turf Moor home to Bolton Wanderers and the Reebok Stadium.

Coyle has a sentimental attachment to The Trotters after making 78 appearances for the club in the mid-1990s - but is this actually a wise move for a manager whose reputation has been growing steadily since he left St Johnstone for Burnley in November 2007?

After watching both Burnley and Bolton this season, I am not convinced. Coyle is one of the managerial stars of the future and, with Burnley ahead of Bolton in the Premier League, it looks a high-risk strategy and a sideways switch.

Burnley's fans are mystified as to why Coyle would quit the club for Bolton when they realistically accept bigger and better offers may be down the line if he continues his rapid managerial maturity. And I sympathise with them - although they can be assured this is not a move Coyle will make without much soul-searcing.

owenplayers595.jpgOwen Coyle (right) celebrates with David Nugent (centre) and Tyrone Mears after Nugent's equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Bolton on Boxing Day

Is Bolton currently a bigger and better club for Coyle to join than Burnley? Not on this season's evidence, but it seems more lavish budgets on offer down the road may lure Coyle away from Turf Moor.

Coyle ignored Celtic's courtship to stay at Burnley this season, citing what he had built at Turf Moor, the players he had persuaded to come to the club, and his desire to continue what he called "this incredible adventure".

Not a huge amount appears to have changed since then, which would make this switch even more surprising, although Coyle may now be more aware of the need for added financial muscle at elite level, which he will expect Bolton to provide.

Burnley's Premier League season has been one of light and shade. Formidable home form has been countered by defeats away from Turf Moor - but Coyle's status is unlikely to be affected even if they returned to the Championship at the end of the season.

It is easy to see why Bolton chairman Phil Gartside is attracted to Coyle's talents. Burnley chairman Barry Kilby made instant comparisons with Bill Shankly after an interview for his vacant manager's job - but it was Gartside's glowing reference for Coyle that helped to seal the deal.

What Gartside gave Burnley he now wants to take away. And the appointment of Coyle, who remains a popular figure at Bolton, would be a coup that will heal some of the wounds caused by Gartside's divisive appointment of Gary Megson.

Megson was never going to win over large portions of Bolton's support. Indeed, when I watched Bolton score a late equaliser against Stoke amid a poisonous Reebok atmosphere earlier this season, some home fans appeared to have mixed feelings as the goal removed some heat from their manager.

On the other hand, Coyle's commitment to attractive, passing football will be seen as a seismic and welcome change in culture by Bolton's supporters, who never warmed to what they regarded - harshly on occasions - as Megson's more basic approach to the game.

Bolton would offer Coyle greater financial scope than Burnley, with more transfer funds to work with and a wage bill that is reportedly three times larger than their counterparts at Turf Moor. But will it be a war chest of such significance to make Bolton a guaranteed better option than Burnley? That remains open to question.

My belief remains that Coyle may eventually be in a position to do better than Bolton and now is not the time to leave a club where he is revered.

I got into trouble with some Wolves fans recently when I registered my preference for a manager like Coyle, who believes he can win every game and has beaten Manchester United and taken a point off Arsenal at Turf Moor this season, in the wake of the defeatist and below-strength line-up Mick McCarthy took to Old Trafford.

After witnessing Coyle's team in action on the pitch as well as his performance off it this season, I am convinced he is destined for big things. Bigger than Bolton? To be brutal, yes.

Tea-total Coyle is a hugely impressive figure, who talks with real passion and love for football and Burnley, all at a breathtaking pace that leaves hardened journalists bemoaning their failure to maintain old shorthand skills. Asking the question is easy - writing down the answer is a risky business.

It would be a devastating blow for Burnley to lose Coyle. It could be akin to removing the magic carpet from under a club that has travelled so far so quickly.

It is almost a ritual to watch Coyle take Turf Moor's acclaim at the conclusion of home games. He has fostered a spirit of unity among his players and the town. They revel in every second of the Premier League experience.

Coyle employs a ferocious work ethic and legend has it that he gets by on a limited sleep pattern that rivals Margaret Thatcher's - with apologies for the comparison to lifelong Burnley supporter Alastair Campbell.

He is tactically shrewd, a perfect public face for Burnley Football Club and more importantly has brought success back to one of the game's most historic locations. No wonder Bolton want him.

It would be a move that might finally allow Bolton's fans to forget the successes enjoyed under Sam Allardyce and move forward under a progressive member of one of the younger generation of managers.

Coyle would be making a brave move to leave Burnley for Bolton, and the banners and Facebook may not make such pleasant reading next time. Whether it turns out to be a wise one remains to be seen.

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  • Comment number 1.

    It'd be a huge blow for us, one which would be difficult to recover from. It would also dent Owen Coyles reputation which he has built here and make the words he has preached about loyalty empty.

    I would thank him for last season which was the best season I have witnessed but I wouldnt be able to wish him or Bolton well. You can't turn your back on people like this and Coyle knows it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Wow, this is the first time I have ever seen this blog without a single comment.

    Damned if you do. Damned if you don't, eh Phil?

    If I only had a pound for the number of times I've read comments on here castigating you for "only talking about the 'Sky Four.""

    If you'd have mentioned the words Liverpool and Man United you'd have a five hundred comment flame war...


    Nice article...

    For what it's worth, I agree. It may rally the Bolton fans, but if I was Coyle I'd stay where I was, focus on staying in the Premier League and cementing my reputation.

    He is worthy of far better things and keeping Burnley in the top flight will land him a much better job than at lowly (by virtue of their spending) Bolton.

  • Comment number 3.

    Coyle going to Bolton would be the right move for Bolton Wanderers and Owen Coyle. Bolton have some very good players, just Megson was completely clueless. Coyle can easily turn them round, and they are an established Premier League club. Burnley arn't and no disrespect, I can't see them becoming one.

    You just have to look at Phil Brown, he was linked with a move away from Hull to Newcastle early on in our first season in the Premier League. Next thing he's seen as one of the poorer managers in the league. If I was Coyle, i'd take the Bolton job, as they have a much better squad and can attract a lot better players.

  • Comment number 4.

    "After watching both Burnley and Bolton this season, I am not convinced. Coyle is one of the managerial stars of the future and, with Burnley ahead of Bolton in the Premier League, it looks a high-risk strategy and a sideways switch"

    This is purely down to the Megson factor, if we had somebody decent in charge ie; Coyle, we'd be further up the ladder. We have a squad that cost Megson £40 odd Million to assemble in just 2 years, yes he bought well, so we have a decent squad now, but he couldn't get the best out of those players and clearly they never respected him (as reults and performances showed). Therefore it could be a good more for Coyle, if we back him once survival is ensured, but from our point of view at least we'll have some positivity and actually look forward to football matches in the future, which we couldn't during the former regime

  • Comment number 5.

    A good article but if Owen Coyle turned down Celtic then there's no ay he would go to Bolton. Smaller fanbase, smaller stadium, bigger players, European football...

    Besides, Burnley are a team going forward - if you look at Bolton's league positions over the last three or four years it's been getting worse.

    To Burnley he is a god and as a Celtic fan and a neutral in this post; I hope he stays put.

  • Comment number 6.

    Tea-total eh? Is that what he drinks instead?

  • Comment number 7.

    I remember watching Wrestlemania and missing some of the match from laughing at the wonderfulness of the fact that Americans all had banners talking about the wrestling, English people just want the world to know what team we support.

  • Comment number 8.

    I always think its a fine line. While as Claretnblue mentions that it would be a lack of loyalty by him to take the job, you look at the other side of it and to how quickly Hughes, Irvine or even Megson were dumped following some poorer results.

    My personal opinion though is that I agree for once with Phil's blog. I can't see why he'd go to Bolton. He's built Burnley up and no matter where they finish this season his reign has been more successful than anyone could have imagined.

    Phil mentions that Coyle's style of football would go down well at Bolton due to the way that Megson's team played - well the other side of that is that it would take those Bolton players some time to adapt to a totally different style of football during which time results may not go well for them.

    I'd wonder where it would leave Burnley if he left too - who could realistically come in and stablilise them enough to survive if he did leave?

    Maybe Coyle will end up staying but find that his transfer budget for this month goes up as a result. I think they do need one or two new faces to beat the drop, but the difficulty is finding players that will improve the team, but fit in with the squad and not cause disruption.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a Manchester United fan who fell in love with watching Burnley last year in the cup competitions, I really hope that Owen Coyle stays there.
    Bolton may be a bigger club at present, but they are stagnant and aren't going to reach the heights they had with Big Sam.

    Burnley play a fantastic style of football, with a never say die approach, which is all down to Coyle's management. I can see them staying in the Premiership this season, and investing well over the summer.

    Stay at Burnley Owen!

  • Comment number 10.

    I get the point of the piece: the only draw of Bolton seems to be the greater funds available and Coyle can do better.

    Now I appreciate these articles are banged out in next to no time due to the pressures of the job, but this article needs a hefty edit. It is prodigiously repetitive and is hinged in the middle with an out-of-place comment about Wolves fans not liking Phil's comments about the team selection for the Man U game. Read it back: why should Coyle move, he's really good, he can do better etc... odd Wolves comment... followed by more on why should Coyle move, he can do better. It's like the article has been written twice...feel free to moderate out my comment if you like, but please tidy up the original piece! Thanks

  • Comment number 11.

    If he goes, i'll thank him for the past 2 years. They have been the most wonderful i've ever had as a Claret. He has taken us to the Premier League where i never thought we'd be in my lifetime (and i'm a young man!)

    He should stay. If he stays and keeps us up his stock with rise hugely, if he takes us down he won't be damaged goods. I don't see where this love for Bolton comes from (and in my opinion is a weak excuse.) He amassed a "massive" 78 games for them. Most of us have played more than that for our local pub and don't feel love for it!

    I won't be wishing him any luck. After all Bolton are relegation rivals at the moment and i hope they occupy a relegation spot at the end of the season whether Coyle is there or not. Nothing personal, but we need 3 teams to take up those spots!

    Good article Phil but one criticism (or both the article and Coyle) would be calling Coyle tactically shrewd. I believe him to be anything but. He is tactically predictable which is exactly why now, without the element of surprise, we aren't winning games. Teams can easily guess our starting 11 and prepare accordingly which cannot be helping our cause.

  • Comment number 12.

    Coyle should stay on at Burnley and ensure they secure Premiership status for next year. At least he'd still be in the Premiership next year. Bolton probably won't be. After that.. who knows.. Maybe he could continue to emulate Bill Shankly by getting the Liverpool job if Rafa is sacked in the Summer... ;-)

  • Comment number 13.

    Coyle is likely to have greater financial clout at Bolton, but that is not everything at the bottom-end of the Premier League (one only has to look at the comparison of Stoke and Newcastle last season to see that), and I genuinely believe that Coyle has a better chance of keeping Burnley up than Bolton.
    Were he jumping ship at the start of the season then it may well be different, but at Burnley he has "his" team that plays "his" way. He has neither of these things at Bolton. Asking him to transform, even effectively modify Bolton in a short space of time to keep them up is quite optimistic. He could go down with either, but I think he has a better chance of staying up at Turf Moor, and certainly of going down with his head held high.
    As for Bolton, they would be better bringing someone in as a fire-fighter for the rest of the season and try to lure Coyle in the summer. They would have a better chance of convincing him to join, and making it successful if he does.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good blog Phil and happy new year.

    I have to agree with your sentiments contained within this article Coyle is without doubt one of the brightest managerial prospects in this country and i believe he should continue his work with Burnley rather than taking a "sideways step" to Bolton.

    If (as looks very probable based on their home form) Coyle keeps Burnley up his stock will rise much further than if he was to accept the offer from Bolton.

    Who knows what managerial positions will be up for grabs come the end of the season but if Coyles star keeps rising as it currently is his name i'm sure will be on just about everybodys wish list.

    Stay at Burnley you know it makes sense.

  • Comment number 15.

    Bolton Wanderers are an established Premier League club.

    Owen Coyle was loved at Bolton Wanderers as a player. I can still see him taking the ball down on the edge of the Everton box at Goodison Park in 1994 and sending Wanderers through to the next round 3-2 in extra time with the silkiest of finishes. And saving us from humiliation at home to Gretna with two strikes deep into the second half. And scoring one of the goals in the great comeback Play Off Final against Reading.

    The two reasons Megson was never accepted at Bolton were his lack of history with the club and the turgid football he oversaw. I don't see why it isn't clear to Phil McNulty and others that he might want to be the man who can take the club forward without history and negative, terrible football holding him back.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree with you Phil I think this is a sideways move. Bolton may be more established in the Premier League but this season looks like they will be in a relagation battle, and Coyle will be inheriting most of the players that are in this predicament.

  • Comment number 17.


    There's no doubt Coyle is doing an excellent job at Burnley. However, I've heard this tag of 'potential managerial star of the future' so many times with nowt coming of it.

    Last season with Hull flying pre-christmas, Phil Brown was being lauded as a potential future manager of England. He almost nearly got the Sunderland job! This was all based on a few games of Hull showing no fear just as Burnley try to do.

    Paul Ince was another one, unfairly dealt with by Blackburn imo but none-the-less a failure after being built up.

    Chris Coleman started wll for Fulham, he was the next great 'Welsh manager' again he was built up too soon.

    If Coyle went to Bolton it would be a mistake. Give him a second and third season in the prem at one club before you start dishing out the star of the future tag. How many times have we seen a manager built up by you guys (journos and pundits) eventually fall by the wayside after 2nd or 3rd seasonitis?

    Paul Jewel was being touted by some in the media (mind you it was talksport) as a possible Liverpool or England manager of the future. Hmmm.

  • Comment number 18.

    Please stay Owen...


  • Comment number 19.

    If Coyle does join us, I hope he does amazingly and proves all the media/other fans wrong. Who have mostly never watched a Bolton game but assume they know all about our club and tell us we're terrible fans. We're a similar club to Burnley, yes. But we are an established Premiership side. I don't think anyone can doubt that. So i don't see how it isn't a step in the right direction for Coyle. We have good players, who CAN pass it about and play attractive football, heck we even had a couple of games this season under Megson when we actually played well and won. There is nothing wrong with mixing it up a bit.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm and ardent Blackburn fan but am perplexed as to why Coyle would consider leaving Burnley now...a side-step if I ever saw one. Owen Coyle is a wonderfully gifted young manager, destined for great things in time....I'd wait til at least the end of the season.

  • Comment number 21.

    The main feeling coming from the Burnley fans is one of just not understanding why a move to Bolton is a bigger draw than Burnley, they dont have the time or money for Coyle to make Bolton play his style of football.
    I could accept a move to a Euro challenging team but to a relegation rival just feels like a smack in the face.

    If MK Dons was his last match in charge then the almost cowardly exit will what is remembered and the game on the 26th will be a big chance for the fans to show Coyle how they feel.
    I wish it was resolved today so we can concentrate on Saturday and have time to get a new manager in place.

  • Comment number 22.

    As a Wanderers fan I would love to see Owen Coyle return to to Bolton, he seems to play the football that may inject some atmosphere back in to the Reebok Stadium. In recent years the football on offer has been pretty dire, and that does include the Allardyce period! The Reebok is a pretty poor place to watch football at the moment, the fans find it very dificult to get out of their seats with the style currently on offer. Gary Megson did a job and kept us up when we looked doomed, however he is not a charismatic person and his continuing feud with a large section of the crowd meant that, often, the only form of entertainment was the Megson Baiting. An appointment like Owen Coyle could lift the gloom and inspire the crowd to actually get behind the team.
    BUT, I cannot see how Owen Coyle can see Bolton as the next step to managerial super-stardom! I actually believe that ultimately he will stay were he is, he can't go wrong at Burnley can he. It could end up like Allardyce when he left to move to greater things at Newcastle, and shatter his growing managerial value!
    However we do need a manager and Owen Coyle, should he accept, will be very welcome.

  • Comment number 23.

    Bolton Cyril, largehat and BWFC on toast — I love your belief in Bolton, but you can't take being an established premier league side for granted. Just talk to fans of Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Charlton, Southampton, West Brom, Derby etc...

  • Comment number 24.

    The majority of our players have only been with us for 2 years or so, so in that time do you think they only know how to play one way? Or could it be that they are able to mix things up and play anyway a game / manager dictates.. You know what, I'm bored of these tired old cliches that the media, the BBC and it's know-nowt wage stealers are spouting.. One minute Megson was a boring, lifeless, poor manager who shouldn't be poisoning the world with his anit-football, the next he's hard done to and the horrible northern boo boys should hang their heads in shame..

    Get a grip

  • Comment number 25.

    Good article Phil. Coyle is no doubt a management start of the future and moving from Burnley to Bolton can only be seen as a sideways step.

    No disprespect to Bolton... but I have to wonder what Coyle could achieve if he were given the expansive resources available at some clubs.

    If it were to happen, it would be an excellent move for Bolton, a real shame for Burnley - and as a Wolves fan, I would be more than a little worried that Bolton would have a good chance of finishing above us.

  • Comment number 26.

    It would be a shame to see him leave like this, having lead the team so strongly it would seem quite bizarre for me to see him leave for Bolton. Even though he might have a past with the club, he has a much stronger future with Burnley.
    It also brings up how quickly managers are changing quicker than the team's shirts .. I strongly feel that managers are often neglecting or not being given the chance to create a legacy for themselves at a particular club. If I had the choice to be remembered as a local hero at a smaller club or just a passing manager at a big club.. I know which one I'd choose. Burnley's entry in the top league is recent and of course the funds won't be there, but this is the struggle that a decent manager I'd feel would relish. He has a chance to be the one that elevated the clubs status and could be competing where Bolton were given a few seasons and with that increased revenue from ticket sales, merchandise and sponsorships.
    Hard work, and incredibly stressful, but surely that's where the real reward comes from the profession ?

  • Comment number 27.

    Surely we are now at a point were despite that 12 Teams desperate need to stay in the Premier League is driven out of the fact they could easily go belly up should they get relegated. So inf act due to the lack of success the fans now are only interested in watching attractive football.

    There was a time were winning your games was enough for most fans, but to what end? 8th place? Most clubs in the lower half of the Prem are getting tired of the constant grind to meet the cash demands of their players who aren't really entertaining them or winning matches

    So really I don't blame Bolton fans for wanting a manager that might bring them more attractive football even if they do go down, which is probably likely. I think he should move, Bolton do have a much more stable Prem history.

    Football is very close to bursting and attendances aren't down because of economics its down to the fact that you can count the amount of entertaining games on two hands. Shame, football is dying

  • Comment number 28.

    As a Blackburn fan I have no fondness for either Burnley or Bolton. But I honestly think that Coyle would not be making either an upward or even a sideways step in joining Bolton. Burnley, though by no means the best team around, is certainly a great football club, in terms of its history, its puritan fans, and because of Owen Coyle. He has made this team his own, and Burnley's recent success is in part down to him. Burnley is also a club with great ambition, again largely due to the Coyle revolution.

    Is Bolton a bigger club? Does it have a better team or squad? Does it have a better history or standing within football? Does it have a bigger fanbase? Does it have have a far bigger transfer or wage budget? Does it have a better board or chairman? I believe that the answer to all of these questions is broadly NO, and so Coyle - whatever his attachment to Bolton - would be a fool to leave Burnley at this stage.

    Can you get more of an impartial view from a Blackburn fan? I think not.

  • Comment number 29.

    As a PNE fan I think Owen Coyle should look after his own future and family. Having seen how shabbily my club has been with Alan Irvine, he will realise that there is no loyalty in football. If Bolton offer to 'double' his salary and put funds at his disposal, then he can improve his lot. If Bolton were to be relegated then he would still have a job as the blame would be aimed at Megson.If Burnley were to be relegated with him at the helm, he would probably be given a little time to get in the promotion frame, and if not,then shown the door.The current Burnley team have done brilliantly to get into the premiership but cannot survive without massive investment in the squad.

  • Comment number 30.

    Phil, great blog. I'm a Burnley fan and am desperate for Owen Coyle to stay at Turf Moor. There's no doubt we wouldn't be where we are now without him. The way he organises a team and gets the most out of a set of players is second to none. I am with the majority on this one and am asking my self 'Why Bolton?'. I really don't think his affiliation to the The Trotters is as strong as some are making out. It must be down to the fact that the board aren't willing to stump up the money we need to stay in the PL. No-one knows Burnley's squad better than Owen Coyle and it is well documented our defence needs tightening and that we want to take Nugent on permanently. Without this we will undoubtedly struggle in the second half of the campaign.

    However, looking at the PL table I can't see too many of the 'bigger' clubs you suggest will be looking for a manager in the near future. Every team above us seems to be content with their current manager. Although I agree with comments that Burnley have a richer footballing history than Bolton, we are clearly leagues below them in terms of financial stability. Bolton have been an established PL side for years and have the infrastructure and finances of a PL club. Maybe he sees this as an opportunity to push Bolton into the top half of the table and possibly better the progress they made under Big Sam?

    Coyle will be badly missed should he leave Burnley. But there are other bright, young British Managers (Fergie junior to name one) available, so all is not doomed.

  • Comment number 31.

    As a Wolves fan (who of course still thinks you're wrong about Mick McCarthy), I have a feeling this might end up bad for all concerned: bad for Burnley, who will lose a fine manager, bad for Bolton, because I don't see Coyle and Bolton having nearly such a good 'fit' as Coyle and Burnley did, as Bolton's players aren't suited to Coyle's style, and there will be MUCH more pressure on him to succeed at Bolton than there was at Burnley, and bad for Coyle himself as he will have sullied (even if only slightly) a reputation that has led many (including yourself) to admire and respect him.

    Of course he may well succeed - there are many weak sides in the lower reaches of the Premier League, so surviving with Bolton and a decent budget isn't quite as hard a task as it may seem (Pompey, Burnley and Hull are still my favourites for relegation, and for others you would have to add Wolves and Wigan to the list. But if he doesn't succeed, it won't look nearly so good for him....

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm interested in which clubs you think Coyle might be interested in that are better than Bolton. Looking at the top 12 in the premiership only Liverpool might want rid of their manager (and they'd want a higher profile name) so you'd be looking at those teams at the bottom or possibly Scotland.

    It's possible that Coyle thinks he's taken Burnley as far as possible. Bolton Wanderers are an underachieving club that has stagnated under Megson's management. There is potential for a club that has played in europe twice recently so if Coyle does join and can take Bolton forward it's another feather in his cap when a top 6/8 club e.g. Villa start looking for a new manager in 12/18 months time.

    Bolton Wanderers want change and Coyle wants to improve his CV so this could be a match made in heaven for both parties.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 26.

    I have to disagree slightly with the need to have heavy investment. Survival is obviously the most important goal in the first year of promotion, but the players needed aren't necessarily incredibly expensive. You should already havea good championship base to start with and add to that a couple of has-beens who have played in the EPL and I think it's a good foundation to carry on with. Adding loads of cash can make the transformation much easier .. but it's not required.
    It's all about shrewd buys and a good scout team...

  • Comment number 34.

    Phil, I would argue that our footballing histories are very similar indeed, BWFC like Burnley have both won cups in the past and are founders of the football league. However it's modern history that counts, we're ahead of you on that front.

  • Comment number 35.

    As a Burnley fan I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Owen will stay with us but that's starting to look more and more unlikely, particularly in light of Nixon's article this morning.

    If Owen was to announce at the end of the season that he wanted a new challenge and moved on he would go with my thanks but to leave the team that he spent so much time and energy getting to the Premier League managerless in the January transfer window would lower him in my eyes. Burnley fans have waited so long to see the team in the top division and we were all looking forward to pulling together and seeing what we could do. If we went down so be it, but we would go down having tried our hardest, having played good quality, attractive, attacking football and as a team. If Owen does leave we will have to find a new manager, give that manager time to assess the team and bring in the one or two additional players that I believe that we need in an extremely short space of time. This team have constantly exceeded my expectations in the past year but I think that this would be too big a hurdle to climb and I can't see how we would avoid relegation.

    I think that if Owen were to stay, bigger jobs than Bolton would come along even if we were relegated but if he does leave now and Bolton go down he might find that he has hindered his career progression. From a logical perspective I don't think that Bolton is a big enough club to justify the move, from an emotional perspective my view of Owen would be tainted if he leaves.

    The match at Bolton on the 26th will be an interesting one either way but I'm hoping that it'll be the Burnley fans singing Owen's name.

  • Comment number 36.

  • Comment number 37.

    Enough of the Bolton bashing. There is a large section of the media who is totally negative towards some of the so called "unfashionable clubs". Writing for the BBC must come with a certain amount of responsibility. This article is poorly researched and equally poorly written.

    If this much discussed move does see the light of day, then it is in the best interests of a certain Mr Coyle and his family. The opinons of others are of no concern.

    Very disappointed Mr Mcnulty...

  • Comment number 38.

    When you read the nasty comments made by many Burnley fans, the bloke would obviously be mad to stay there.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am curious why there has been no official comments from either Board of Directors? I hope and believe that OC will stay as he is a man (I thought anyway) of integrity.
    As a Claret fan since 1975 this is our greatest season since the 70's and OC is a strong part of that. We play great to watch footy, and I will be sad if this is true. As I said no one is denying it so there's no smoke without fire. If your reading this OC please DONT GO!

  • Comment number 40.

    'I am convinced he is destined for big things. Bigger than Bolton? To be brutal, yes.'

    To who, Phil? Surely not in the short-term. The 13 sides currently above Burnley in the table all have managers nailed on certainties to still be at their respective clubs next season, short of very unexpected events. The only manager it's really possible won't be managing his current club next year is Rafa Benitez, and I'm sure you'll agree that, quality future though he has ahead of him, the idea that Coyle could get the Liverpool job in the near future seems very unlikely.

    The Bolton job is the the only Premiership job which would appeal to Coyle, in terms of the sides below Burnley in the table, I think. So, after turning down the Celtic job, surely there are no "bigger" jobs, in the short term, which are potentially available to Coyle.

  • Comment number 41.

    "realistically accept bigger and better offers may be down" (paragraph 7). I think that the correct word would be "expect" and not "accept"

  • Comment number 42.

    I think the other thing is that if his team at Burnley go on a long losing streak, I would think and hope that his prior work with them meant he wasn't in danger of losing his job. However, if this happened at Bolton, where he'd got no previous track records, not sure it would be the case.

    Anyway, have Bolton suddenly gotten a massive tranfer budget from somewhere? and if so, from where?

  • Comment number 43.

    I think it would be a good move for him. It's a decent squad at Bolton - Cahill, Taylor, Jaaskelainen etc, and he'd have more money/pulling power than at Burnley. There aren't too many teams better than Bolton who he hs a realistic chance of coaching the likes of Spurs and Villa are off limits and also Bolton are now an established PL side.

  • Comment number 44.

    Not in a million years should Coyle make this move. He is still earning his stripes in the game and the best move he could make is to take a "thanks for the offer - I will stay here and keep Burnley in the EPL". Then, he could have his pick of jobs. He has been well advised throughout his playing and management career and has made all the right steps at all the right times, stay on track Owen.

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree that Owen Coyle should stay at Burnley. The very ungrateful fans at Bolton are in for a shock this season much like the Newcastle ones last season when they hounded Sam Allardyce out of their club. Gartside should have sacked his fans not his manager. He should stay at Burnley until the end of the season and if, he can keep them up he can use the tv revenue to build the squad to maintain their league position the following season much like TP has done at Stoke. Tony Mowbray went to Celtic when West Brom went down so he Coyle shouldn't think that Burnley will go down and his career opportunities will be limited. You can see he is a good potential manager who has assembled and gets the best out of a group of lads who really play football and perform well above their station.

  • Comment number 46.

    Agree with every word Phil. Never thought i would say that to you!

    Mr Coyle. Stay. Your Club and your spproach is a credit to the Premier League and this is not something that can ever be levelled at Bolton. Gartside will soon dump you if you don't become 'Allardyce reinvented' overnight.

  • Comment number 47.

    41.. accept does work ... its the expectation of the possibility of losing OC together with reluctantly coming to terms with it... also paragraph 6.

    The only thing I see Bolton having for them is the couple games in hand which could rocket them to mid table considering the tight point difference ... but I don't think thats enough reason to go...
    also people looking for other teams where he could go ... if he's to go off to a bigger team, the offer doesn't have to come for next season .. he would have to prove himself over a couple of seasons before he'll get anything substantial... and he might as well do that with a team he is comfortable with than try and change to a club which may have had a stable history, but is far from a rock of confidance at the moment.

  • Comment number 48.

    Some times you hear things that leave you dumbfounded in life and this is one of those. I mean why go to Bolton? This is surely a sideways step. Coyle has everything to lose by making this move considering Burnley's current position. He is very well placed to survive with Burnley and his future is much brighter than freaking Bolton.

    If he makes this move and Bolton relegate and his name is lost in obscurity I will have no sympathy with his plight.

  • Comment number 49.

    I doubt many Burnley fans would begrudge Coyle jumping ship to a Villa, Everton or Spurs, but the idea of him jumping sideways to one of their biggest rivals will cause as much confusion as resentment.

    Why does he want to ruin everything he's worked so hard for, for such meagre reward?

    I really thought he had more about him.

    One final thing - Burnley fans would stick by Coyle through thick and thin, and while they're doing okay in the league this season, that "thin" would inevitably come.

    Bolton fans have shown themselves to have the loyalty and patience of a gang of rats.

  • Comment number 50.

    Burnley have now confirmed Owen Coyle has held talks with Bolton. I honestly do not see what significant gain he can make from leaving Burnley for The Reebok. I hear all the talk about more transfer cash, but I still believe there will be bigger jobs than Bolton in future for Coyle and he should stay and build on his current work.

    Is he suddenly going to be handed a huge pot of transfer cash by Bolton? Transfer funds have to be part of the lure.

    Sad for Burnley if he goes because I have genuinely felt when I have gone to Turf Moor that there is a special bond there between manager, chairman, fans and players.

    Bolton will feel they have pulled off a real coup if he leaves though.

  • Comment number 51.

    Phil, where does this put your 'Owen Coyle is a paragon of footballing virtue' thesis now? Any chance of a reassessment? I know you don't ever like to admit that you might have been even slightly wrong about anything.......

    ......long, slow, whistle......

  • Comment number 52.

    Claretnblue conveniently forgets that Owen Coyle left St Johnstone for Burnley just before a Scottish Cup Final! So it's a bit rich to suggest he's suddenly acting contrary to character - or that Burnley FC are paragons of virtue. Besides, Clubs sack managers at the drop of a hat so a manager is entitled to move when the option presents itself, as one must.
    As for the lead article - Coyle is unlikely to be offered one of the top four clubs yet, or Man City or Spurs - so Bolton FC owned by a billionaire with a Chairman he trusts and a set of supporters with whom he has affinity and history - represent a great move. First clss facilities, decent squad, sound finances, new stadium. Onwards and upwards for OC's career.

  • Comment number 53.

    If he goes to Bolton-does that mean that Bolton are a bigger club than Celtic?

  • Comment number 54.

    You didn't mention the aspect of Coyle's personal wages. They will presumably be higher than he's on with Burnley.
    Personally after watching him with Burnley for few seasons, (with the aid of a Burnley mad friend), I hope he stays.

  • Comment number 55.

    i dont normally bother commenting on these blogs, but this is one of the worst written pieces ever. ant the comments are even more irritating. as bolton fans weve been used to this bolton bashin in the media for years.

    firstly to phil

    "it looks a high-risk strategy and a sideways switch."
    "why Coyle would quit the club for Bolton when they realistically accept bigger and better offers may be down the line "
    "Is Bolton currently a bigger and better club for Coyle to join than Burnley? Not on this season's evidence,"
    "Coyle may eventually be in a position to do better than Bolton"
    "this season, I am convinced he is destined for big things. Bigger than Bolton?"

    how many times were you gonna repeat the same thing? It seems as though you think Bolton are not as big as burnley. I think you should think again. 9 seasons in the premiership for a small club like ours when Leeds and newcastle are playin in the lower tiers. 2 european campaigns and a cup final we should have won. compare that to burley who are in their 1st season and i believe will be relegated with or without coyle. the truth is bolton had a bad time as a club under megson and the quality is there to lift us back into the top 10 and into europe again within 2 seasons with the right man in charge. And Coyle could be that man. Burnley have not got the infrastructure as a club to be pushing for europe. they are in there 1st season and it only gets harder, look at hull. where as bolton just need someone to reignite the flame.

  • Comment number 56.

    Bolton are a better team, they're more established and they've proven this season that they can win both home and away, but they're surely not enough of an improvement on Burnley that Coyle would risk ruining his masses of goodwill just so he can spend an extra couple of million? He needs to stay, let Hughes take the Bolton job if he's interested as he has more chance of keeping Bolton in the Premiership this season anyway.

  • Comment number 57.

    I notice you drop in that he is Tee Total and a hard working most journalists no doubt! however not certain what that's got to do with the question you pose??
    It's clear to see why Bolton want him, though a lot harder to see why he would want Bolton in preference to Burnley from an emotive point of view.
    However, from the angle of it being a job, there will undoubtedly be a lot more money for him and for him to spend theory further for him to go without the pressure of a really big club.
    So it is not the sideways step you imply and could be a good move, especially if he does not feel ready for the likes of Celtic, Rangers, Man Utd, Liverpool etc etc. mmmmmmm could he be saving himself for Fergie's post that fellow canny scot????

  • Comment number 58.

    Mr McNulty - you still haven't answered the question. Who do you think Owen Coyle should be looking to manage if he's far too good for "little old Bolton"? Let's see if you've got the bottle to name names.

  • Comment number 59.

    Phil, loving your blog, I'm a US reader, avid EPL fan here for a couple years. Man Utd and Arsenal are my sides (can I have more than one? I also like Tottenham), but I am also a huge fan of the underdog. Teams like Burnley, Birmingham (and now Leeds) have captured my interest this season. I am fully in support of Coyle staying with Burnley, and agree with all your points. There is something special about both new teams Burnley and Birmingham, largely due to Coyle for Burnley and Joe Hart for Birmingham. Funny that you should write back-to-back about each of these men. I hope that Coyle stays with Burnley, and I hope that Birmingham have a chance to keep Hart.

  • Comment number 60.

    I just can't see why he'd make this move when he knocked back the opportunity to manage 'his' club, Celtic, in the summer. This also considering that Boltons budget is supposedly not much greater than that of Burnley.

    And by tea-total do you mean he's a non-drinker of Earl Grey, or should he infact be a tee-total?

  • Comment number 61.

    I love how all the pundits THINK they know everything about football and readily give their two-penneth. Has it ever occurred to anybody that the fans of a football club know their own club better than a pundit? Or better than a rival fan?

    Bolton have the players in place to play attractive passing football, and there were glimmers of it shown this season in the majority of games. The main reason that Megson was "hounded out" is NOT because of the style of football he plays, which was improving over the course of the season.

    The reason that Megson is NOT a Premier League manager is because his tactical know-how DURING a game, when a cool level head is needed, was as bad as I've seen. During the Hull game, the team were shaken by a Hull goal, so the LAST thing a manager should do is alter the shape of the side... You can bring on a defensive midfielder for an attacking midfielder (eg. bringing McCann on for Taylor or Lee would have been fine) but to change from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 meant that almost half the team had to change their roles slightly, which caused openings for Hull to get back into it.

    Megson stated MANY times (in every flaming interview since he was sacked that he "did the same thing in the West Ham game and we went on to win 3-1"... It wasn't exactly the same, we'd just gone from 1-1 to 2-1 in front and were on the acsendency when he made the change, which doesn't cause the same disruption.

    I would go so far as to say that Megson would be really good at managing a premier league team if it weren't for the fact that people had minds of their own, and responded to emotions like panic and drops in morale. The simple fact that he sees the two situations as the same just goes to show that he doesn't in fact know what he is talking about.

    But what do I know eh? I'm not a "person in football".

    Back on topic, and to our new manager. I think it is a step up.

    Simple fact of Premier League life, Burnley are going down - or maybe staying up by the skin of their teeth. They've had the honeymoon period, but they've been found out and they will be beaten regularly now. When Bolton got promoted, we were top of the league for the first 6 or 7 games (with a 5-0 win away at Leicester, and a 2-1 home win over Liverpool amongst the results) but only managed to stay up on the last game of the season. Hull were in the top 8 for most of the first half of last season and then dramatically dropped off towards the end, only just staying up.

    Bolton are a more established club, which means that we don't have a purple patch, or a major bad patch. You can look at a season and pretty much predict where the points will come from (save for a few freak results). That in itself is a big thing for a manager to look at when deciding where he wants to work. We have numerous established internationals in our squad, a potential England World Cup defender in Cahill and one of the best keepers in the league.

    With the right management our club can push on for top 10 and maybe even higher. We have been SEVERELY stifled by Megson, and before him even by Sammy Lee and Allardyce in his final year.

    To call this move "high risk" not only shows how anti-Bolton the BBC are, but also how unaware of internal club politics and tactics you pundits really are.

  • Comment number 62.

    Owen Coyle said not so long ago that "we don't want people here who are chasing the money but people who are here for the love of football" well if he leaves then it shows its not always about the love of football and he was talking bobbins.

    We did take Coyle from St Johnstone at a critical time but then again an agreement was met with them before we talked to him so it was at least done in the correct way.

  • Comment number 63.

    The idea of Bolton fans bemoaning Megson for negative tactics is still for me one of the most oxymornic things I have seen in recent footballing times! Even worse than every 15 year old or younger Arsenal fan who seem to think they are the bastions and inventors of attractive football.

  • Comment number 64.


    i dont normally bother commenting on these blogs, but this is one of the worst written pieces ever. ant the comments are even more irritating. as bolton fans weve been used to this bolton bashin in the media for years.

    Surely it's not just me who notices the glaring irony in this comment.

  • Comment number 65.

    I honestly don't know what to say. Everything in me wants to convince Mr Coyle that he should keep the faith and stay with us at Burnley. He is a very reasonable man and so i trust that he will properly assess his options.
    I'm sure Bolton will pay more money, I'm certain they will spend more in the transfer window. I'm convinced that if he leaves now he will break the hearts of all true Clarets across the country.

    As for you Bolton......Get your grubby hands off our man.

  • Comment number 66.


    We did take Coyle from St Johnstone at a critical time but then again an agreement was met with them before we talked to him so it was at least done in the correct way.

    Surely Bolton have gone about it in the correct way as well? They asked Burnley for permission to talk to Coyle. Burnley said yes, and Bolton are now in talks with Coyle and it's looking likely he's going to join them.

    What's incorrect about that?

  • Comment number 67.

    Owen Coyle is not a saint and will doubtless do what he believes is best (financially) for himself and his family. As a distant observer I hope he stays at Burnley, but I am of the old school who loved football before silly money and politics turned it into banking.

  • Comment number 68.

    Bolton may be four places lower in the table but there's only 2 points in it and Bolton have two games in hand. Sure it is a bit of a risk but at the same time it could be risky to wait and see a poor run by Burnley undermine his stock...

  • Comment number 69.

    Not if reports over the weekend are to be believed. Gartside flew upto Glasgow over the weekend to see Coyle.

  • Comment number 70.

    Well Claretnblue, Bolton have also approached the Burnley chairman prior to any contact with OC. So your argument that Burnley acted properly with St Johnstone and Bolton improperly, is, err...shot to pieces and shown to be the immature inuendo we knew it to be.

    It's a shame for Burnley but BWFC is a bigger and better job by far.

  • Comment number 71.

    Right move. Wrong time. He should wait until the end of the season.

  • Comment number 72.

    I've been a Burnley fan since 1962 and was there at MK Dons on Saturday.
    I've seen a lot of managers, players and ups and downs in my time. Coyle is the best manager we have evr had, yes, including Harry Potts who won the old First Div 1.
    IMO Coyle would be silly to go : silly to go now at this particular time and silly to go to Bolton. It simply doesn't make sense. If Burnley survive this year, bigger and much better clubs will come knocking and if they don't, Coyle's reputation will not be damaged as no-one expected us to stay up in the first place. And his standing will have been enhanced for not jumping ship at the first (EPL) opportunity.

  • Comment number 73.

    I can't really disagree with a lot of what you're saying and don't think that it is a forgone conclusion that he will leave Burnley. As a Wanderers fan I hope he does come as he was of my preferences before Megson came. For those who didn't have to suffer football under Megson please don't comment. Believe me it was dire. More than four thousand season ticket holders less than when he arrived says it all.

  • Comment number 74.

    I'm a big fan of owen coyle but can't help thinking this move could be detrimental to both his progression and possibly Boltons. The way burnely have applied themelves is superb but how often is there a premiership newboy suprise package. This time last year Phil Brown was being touted around for top jobs, and needless to say his reputation has not been cemented this season.

    Coyle should stay and see out his contract with burnley, he'll only be 46 by then, in managereal terms very young still. Further premiership experience (if he keeps them up) will be a great achievemnet. Inheriting a bolton team low on confidence and unable to play his style of passing football may provide a challenge to far.

    Bolton should try and get one of the talented (out of work managers) currently avaiable, curbs or hughes, and save themselves 3mill which could be better utilised for players.

  • Comment number 75.

    Don't go Owen. I'm a lifelong Burnley fan and would be distraught if he left. We are basically down if he leaves.

    Don't forget Owen Coyle, Burnley is where you built your reputation and is a club that loves you .... with a better history than Bolton.

    We will get Mark Hughes if he goes!

  • Comment number 76.

    Eminently good sense spoken by Mr. McNulty. Perhaps money and ego outweigh common sense. I agree that Mr. Coyle has a big four Liverpool or manchester team on his future CV. I hope he is loyal to the club that helped him to achieve his reputation. Sometimes loyalty and patience pays dividends.

  • Comment number 77.

    IF Owen Coyle joins us at Bolton then there is only one reason for him doing it and that is because he sees it as a step up, a progression of his managerial career. I'm sorry if that offends any Burnley fans but its the truth. We may be in the same part of the table right now but when you compare the resources of the two clubs the difference is clear. Granted we're not the biggest step up for Coyle but what other bigger clubs are likely to take a chance on him? Practically none.
    Another positive for Coyle is that Bolton are not a club that sacks a manager on a whim. Since Phil Neal in 1992 we've only sacked 2 managers, Sammy Lee and HWSNBNA, and HWSNBNA was given a fair amount of time and money. Anyway, there's no chance Coyle would be sacked anytime in the next 4 years, even if we go down the board (and the fans) would give him time and back him.
    Finally, as has already been commented on Bolton have the players to play Coyle's style of football, namely attacking. HWSNBNA didn't have the ability to do this and get the best out of the players. There's very little between the clubs in the bottom half of the prem league and Bolton with Coyle and our current players plus a good CB and creative midfielder could easily make mid-table and at a pinch top 10.

  • Comment number 78.

    If I was Owen Coyle and was offered the Bolton job I'd snap their hand off for it. Out of anyone in professional football, managers should have the least loyalty IMO because a few bad results and you're out of a job.

    Last year Phil Brown had a good run and was linked with the Sunderland job, this year he's a few bad results from the sack.

    Similar could be said about Irvine at Preston, in the playoffs last year and sacked this year after a run of bad results.

    To the Burnley fans who think Owen Coyle owes you loyalty, he owes you nothing! If it wasn't for his talent as a manager Burnley wouldn't be playing Premier League football this year.

    I wish Owen Coyle the best of luck, I don't think anyone can turn around and say he hasn't earnt the right to manage a bigger club.

  • Comment number 79.

    If Owen chooses to leave TM and come to Bolton it will be a fantastic for both parties, its a great club that has been suffering from post Allardyce blues. I agree with the sensible comments that have pointed out that so called larger offers are not yet on radar, and looking at the top half of the league it's unlikely that any openings will appear for some time, Bolton can provide Owen with a great stage to prove what most feel is the destiny of the mighty Coyle and become a legend.

    Come to the Reebok Owen, enjoy the opportunity to further develop what is an established premier league team. The fans are already feeling the force.

    Up the Whites

  • Comment number 80.

    Owen Coyles reputation is enhanced by the phenomenon of "recent success-ism". Rather like Sam Allardyce, whose reputation was sky high as he performed miracles at Bolton, and then crashed at Newcastle, and that of Alan Curbishley, though Alans fall was cushioned by the general view that West Ham failed him, not the other way around.

    Owen Coyle has clearly done an outstanding job at Burnley, but his ability to turn that success into something more tangible than survival, will be what defines his reputation. In addition, the expectation at Burnley was the long sought after holy grail of a premiership return. The current position, a few points off relegation, is a bonus. At Bolton the fans will be wanting him to push the team for a European place, a somewhat different goal.

    I agree with Phils position that this move is unnecessary, particularly if Coyle has ambitions to manage a "big club", and that should not be seen as slap in the face to Bolton fans. The hidden card, though, is what Mr Coyle knows about Burnleys ambitions. If he is truly to be compared to Bill Shankly, then he should be defining those ambitions, not reacting to them.

    Bolton, conversely should consider the likelhood that Coyle, may be no better in reality than Hughes or Curbishley, and is more likely to move on himself than either Hughes (who would be seen as having his chance with City and failing) and Curbishley (who apparently spurned bigger clubs while at Charlton).

    TEE-Total by the way, means the sustained abstinence from drinking alcoholic beverages, while Tea-total, is the lifelong earnings of the PG Tips chimpanzees!

  • Comment number 81.

    Whilst I agree with the overall sentiment of the article (that Owen Coyle should stay where he is for the moment) I disagree with almost every point you have actually made.

    First up to state that Burnley to Bolton is a sideways step is absolutely ridiculous and shows just how short sighted the media are. Bolton have been in the PL for 9 seasons now, Burnley have been mid-table Championship fodder up until last season. This means that Bolton are a bigger team than Burnley plain and simple, the fact that Burnley are are performing well above their means is commendable but it doesn't suddenly make them an established PL team.

    Next you state that Coyle wil eventually move onto a bigger club but frankly which bigger club is this Phil. If Coyle were to stay at Burnley do you really think that he would transform them into a regular PL team? Chances are if they did stay up this season they would struggle greatly next season, and the season after that etc... he would be walking a very thin tightrope and I hardly see a bigger team taking him if he did take Burnley down (I know it was a fantastic achievemnet taking Burnley up but he would hardly be a big name manager that top 10 fans demand).

    Finally you state that "after watching Coyle's team perform on the pitch they are destined for better things", well I presume that you must only have watched them at Turf Moor because they are awful on their travels.
    Methinks there is some sort of link there, his team can only perform in front of an admittedly packed vocal house in a cramped little ground with facilities that Superstars earning tens of thousands a week simply aren't used to having to play in.

    As for why I don't think that Coyle should leave Burnley it's simple, I don't think that he is as good a manager as he is made out in the media. His team fall apart on their travels and without the unique experience of Turf Moor (Reebok stadium simply doesn't have the atmosphere) I think that he will be found out very quickly.

    As has been stated before Burnley can hardly come over all hurt as they poached him from St Johnstone just before the Scottish Cup final so they should hardly complain when someone else does what they did and offer him more money.

  • Comment number 82.

    Someone tell me how moving from Burnley to Bolton is a step UP the ladder, I just dont understand the logic of this move. From what I have seen this season Burnley are the better team, a team Coyle has built. He will have to start from scratch at Bolton and that might mean relegation this season unless they can get it together fast.
    Bad move I say.

  • Comment number 83.

    I agree completely with Phil McNulty's asessment. Owen Coyle has seemingly a lot to lose and not much to gain by leaving Burnley for Bolton mid-season. If he stays at Burnley,then even in the worst case scenario of Burnley being relegated Owen Coyle's reputation would be enhanced. He would still have achieved so much with so few resources and would have loyally seen the job through Burnley's Premiership season.That would surely be a much better springboard to future Managerial glory then bailing out mid way through for the sake of another struggling team!
    Owen Coyle is a shrewd man. Why does he want to leave Burnley for Bolton now? Could it be an understandable frustration and perhaps anger on his part over the paltry sums available to him in the January transfer window? He always knew(and accepted)that he'd be operating on a tight budget, but probably reasonably feels that at this stage a little more could be safely made available for him to spend to cement Burnley's survival in the Premiership; perhaps for the purchase of David Nugent and a couple of promising central defenders. I believe that this is the hidden agenda. Come on Barry Kilby, give Owen a bit more of the funds he needs to do the job at Burnley!

  • Comment number 84.

    The notion that OC should wait till the end of the season is frankly just desperation talk. These jobs arise when they arise and have to be decided upon in their own time sphere.

    OC has treated Burnley no worse than he did St Johnstone which in turn, is as good as any club can expect from their manager - their all while they are there.

    If the time of the BWFC is now - then he should take it. The job promises more of everything, in all departments that count.

    I hope he makes the right decision.

  • Comment number 85.

    " Tea-total Coyle is a hugely impressive figure, who talks with real passion and love for football and Burnley, all at a breathtaking pace that leaves hardened journalists bemoaning their failure to maintain old shorthand skills. Asking the question is easy - writing down the answer is a risky business."

    Ever thought of investing in a dictaphone!?

  • Comment number 86.

    This would be a sidewise move at best for OC. Bolton have some good players and maybe he feels that if he can keep them and add some more (maybe nab a few from Burnley on the cheap) to suit his style of play then he can ultimately build a better team than he has currently. Either way it is likely to be at least a couple of years work minimum.

    Personally, I think he should stay at Burnley, get them a mid-table finish and wait for a 'big' team to come knocking.....he will keep the Burnley support (no one would blame him moving to a big club) and he would have a much better environment to create his team. Playing 78 games for a club wouldn't suggest that there is an amazing bond between the 2.....maybe he gets easily attached.

    I am a Liverpool fan and think Rafa has started to loose it a bit and I have had more enjoyment watching some of Burnley's games this year than I have had watching almost any of Liverpool's. I would be quite happy if OC came to Pool if Rafa should leave.

    BTW, I believe it is 'teetotal' and not 'tea-total' (maybe he does just drink tea and nothing else, in which case I apologise).

  • Comment number 87.

    I do sometimes wonder why I pay a licence fee to read such dross!
    Coyle has got Burnley playing good football, but if he comes to Bolton, then he obvioulsy views it as a step up, whihc admittedly through my rather rose tinted eyes it is....
    Burnley are not an established team in the Premier League, and started the early part of the season playing well above themselves, much like Hull last season. There recent form however is not all that inspiring as they have been found out by the teams in the league... much the same as Hull.
    Coyle's got an opportunity to come to a club he admits is "close to his heart" and has been playing well below its full potential. Phil may have seen a dour affair vs Stoke, but there is no mention of playing Tottenham off the park at the Reebok... The players at Bolton are good enough to play the football Coyle plays, and with the addition of a creative middle man could do it pretty well.
    The reason we are in the situation we are is not that we have poor players - people like Taylor were lauded when they played at Pompey (though being in the media darling Redknapps camp may have been a reason behind that!)- but because of a poor manager. Megson did his job and kept us up first season, but he has died on his sword of negativity. The odd occassions he got the team to come out of its shell of defend a nil-nil at all costs we did well, but it was too few and far between. Taking strikers off to be replaced by defensive midfielders every week has costs us numerous points.
    A manager with some attacking intentions can easily take us further up the table, and with a little luck bring some of the fans back to the Reebok after they were driven away by what they perceived as overly negative tactics. For several seasons we played worse football under allardyce, but at least had attacking intention and the Reebok was a fortress as the crowds were still there. Maybe Coyle can get a similar atmosphere - I'd personally say it'd be better if he can bring Rioch-esq football with him!

  • Comment number 88.

    Robbie Keane was in the groove, he moved for reasons, now he's no longer in the groove, will he ever be ? Flamini moved, poor thing. Mourinho got sacked, but moved, Ronaldo has moved, for the better? Allardyce is still the same after Bolton, Curbishley was so happy at Charlton, he was a part of Charlton, will he ever see that level of success again? Allardyce he was in the groove at the Reebok. Sometimes you can be in the groove and you want more, the grass is always greener, blind ambition. Some players only ever make the semi final of an FA cup, sometimes it's a bit of a fairy tale, Bolton could easily go down and we'll never see Owen again, when you start a great adventure you should follow it through when it's still going well. "It doesn't get much better than this" is a luxurious risk.

  • Comment number 89.

    Burnley will probably go down now I reckon. He's doing the right thing leaving. Burnely are a small club and once relegated will probably struggle to get back into the PL for a while, given the amount of sleeping giants in the Championship. Bolton however have a bigger stadium.


  • Comment number 90.

    Bolton may have spent a few years in the Premier League but, like Burnley themselves, they will never be anything more than a struggling side who look upon a season free of relegation worries as being a success. And whilst Owen Coyle could probably turn Bolton into a mid-table side is that the limit of his ambition? Somehow I don't think so.

    If I was him I would be looking for something a little bigger, a club who could really challenge for honours rather than waste my time moving to a club where simple survival is the aim. He knows that all he has to do is wait for the right opportunity to come along as it surely will.

  • Comment number 91.

    Phil, you mention that Owen is destined for greather things than Bolton but where?

    Who out there could claim to be considerably bigger than Bolton aside from the established big four and the chasing pack of Spurs, Villa, Everton and Man City?

    Jobs at those top clubs dont often become available and when they do, promising young managers are usually ignored in favour of experienced, big name and often foreign candidates - rightly or wrongly.

  • Comment number 92.

    Let's answer a few spiritualwolf - I am guessing you are a Wolves fan and going back to my criticism of Mick McCarthy. I do not recall describing Owen Coyle as "a paragon of footballing virtue".

    I do, however, remember stating I prefer Coyle's attitude of trying to win every game to the defeatist stance taken by McCarthy when he sent Wolves out at Old Trafford - irrespective of the fact Wolves then beat Burnley on the Sunday. I stand by that point and it would appear Bolton are impressed by Coyle too.

    And to RememberScarborough. I do not have to name names of particular clubs, but I believe if Coyle continues his impressive work at Burnley he will eventually be a target for clubs who are not currently below Burnley in the Premier League. Plenty of vacancies occur at all sorts of times in football - and I do not think Coyle needs to rush towards the Turf Moor exit. He is good enough to bide his time.

    And judging by posts on here I am not alone in being surprised that he would consider leaving Burnley for Bolton.

    He is young in managerial terms and in my opinion has shown enough at Burnley to suggest he can continue to enhance his reputation there. It is a brave decision he will have to take.

    Just on Bolton's methods of getting Coyle, it should be stressed that everything they have done up to now suggests they have gone about this in a totally correct manner.

    And to Milts101...I do have a dictaphone but I like the old-fashioned shorthand as well - but he doesn't half talk fast!

  • Comment number 93.

    If he can't keep Bolton up AND Burnley go down he will know he made the wrong decision. Which is more likely to survive, a tight team with a good ethic or a club in freefall with only half a season to go?

  • Comment number 94.

    Phil, you've totally missed the point with this blog. Burnley are above us in the league (although we have two games in hand), but why is that? Is it because Burnley have a team of great Premiership quality players? One look at their squad will tell you that isn't the case, with most spending the majority of their careers in the lower leagues or in Scotland. On the other hand, the Bolton squad is full of Internationals from the world over, and I would love to see what Owen Coyle would do with those players, because Gary Megson with his frankly pathetic tactics did not get the best out of them, no matter how much you try and tell people otherwise.

    If Coyle does take charge and is a success, I'll bet you won't be very quick to admit you got it wrong (and not just wrong about Coyle, but wrong about Megson as well), will you?

  • Comment number 95.

    If the fans hadnt been so vitriolic towards Megson the team would be in a better position there is no doubt whatsoever about that. I can't understand wanting to leave Burnley for Bolton, he has all the support he could ever need from the fans, players and the chairman. Fair enough he doesnt get supermillions to spend but without some clever wheeler dealing such as the Anelka deal, Bolton wouldnt have had much more money than them. He has a chance to use the money made from this season to consolidate his position and form a legacy at Burnley, why he would want to leave that for a team who are lower in the league, playing poorer football and have fans who deliberately undermine the team I don't know.

  • Comment number 96.

    I remember Saints fans complaining that Hoddle moving to Spurs at the time was a sideways step.

    This is a mirror image.

    Burnley are destined to scrap for survival for the next few years (if they are lucky enough to survive).

    Bolton have been in Europe twice in recent years and finished 13th last year. Bolton also have a relatively new stadium and Premiership infrastructure. Not too long ago the club were looking at increasing the capacity.

    Megson's pathetic PR and depressing tactics have caused the attendances to drop alarmingly.

    It makes me laugh when fans of other clubs and the media have a go at Bolton fans for making a stand against shocking entertainment given the fact that the media has constantly criticised Bolton for their 'Anti football' tactics.

    I agree with several comments indicating that Coyle would be under pressure if Burnley were to be relegated. Fans expectations do change once the fans get a taste of the Premiership!

    Finally, to comments that suggest Coyle should show loyalty is an absolute joke.

    Rooney to Man Utd,Phil Brown under pressure at Hull and Irvine getting sacked by Preston etc. are all prime examples of the lack of loyalty in the game.

  • Comment number 97.

    Ah, Phil, I knew you wouldn't be willing to admit that you might have got things even slightly wrong! The media has this lovely habit of criticising people as much as they can, but never being able to either take criticism themselves or admit to fallibility. Of course you didn't use the term 'paragon of footballing virtue', but you did put Owen Coyle up on a huge pedestal, complete with shining spotlights, in comparison with our own manager............

    ...when in fact the reality is that both of them - and all of us - are just flawed individuals trying their best in interesting and often difficult circumstances. You crucified McCarthy and beatified Coyle, and neither reaction was appropriate, even if it made neat and attractive headlines for the simplistic.

    Are you man enough to admit that? To acknowledge that you've oversimplified and overdramatised?

    No, I thought not.......

    Personally, I'm a fan of Owen Coyle, but he's not the man you presented him as being - not even in the sense of trying to win every game. If you'd been to the Wolves Burnley game, you'd have noticed that from the first minute he put 11 men behind the ball, and played as defensively as any team that's come to Molineux. Was he trying to win the game? Barely.....

  • Comment number 98.

    High Risk? Respectfully, your article makes ample argument for a move to the Reebok being far from high risk. If Owen Coyle is indeed the next Shankly, then Bolton would be a perfect move for him. The bigger risk would be in not taking the chance and staying at Burnley.

  • Comment number 99.

    First off, I definitely agree that Burnley would be reeling from this hammerblow if Coyle left, and yes it most probably would tarnish his reputation.
    However, this is a free country and a free world and if Coyle feels that he should take Bolton on for what ever reason then nobody can hold that against him. As for the comment about not wishing him all the best, I think that it is an extremely selfish comment. How would we feel if we were in his position?
    Finally, I'd just like to point out that Coyle should be the future England manager

  • Comment number 100.

    I am neither a Bolton or Burnley fan but from where I sit, if Owen Coyle goes to Bolton, he is in need of urgent medical help. Phil McNulty has described this as a sideways move. I don't think it's as good as that. It's a move based on misguided sentiment and the only place he'll be managing next season is in the Championship. The only thing that could possibly be worse for the Burnley fans is if Megson gets the vacancy at Turf Moor. It's utter madness.


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