I didn't like Bolton Wanderers fans - Gary Megson

Gary Megson
Megson won 27 of his 99 games in charge at Bolton

Former Bolton Wanderers manager Gary Megson has hit out at the club's supporters, claiming that they did not like him - and he did not like them.

Megson never won the fans over in two turbulent years at the Reebok Stadium before being sacked in December 2009.

"I liked Bolton as a club, but the fans didn't like me," Sheffield Wednesday boss Megson told BBC Radio Manchester. "I don't particularly like them either.

"You realise what, in my view, proper support is and that's here," he added.

As the first anniversary of his appointment at Hillsborough approaches, back at the club where he spent two popular spells as a player, 52-year-old Megson has turned round a team he inherited in mid-table a year ago into genuine League One promotion contenders.

And, if the Owls were to go up, and Bolton were to go down, they would be meeting in the Championship next season, allowing him and his number two, Chris Evans, a return to the Reebok.

Megson was appointed Bolton manager in April 2007, having left his job at Championship side Leicester City after just six weeks in charge.

But the Manchester-born boss was not a popular appointment when he took over, now acknowledging that many of the club's fans did not see him as their first choice to replace Sammy Lee.

Despite steering the club to safety after taking charge, Megson never had an easy relationship with fans and was booed after a 2-2 draw with Blackburn in January 2009.

After that game he called the jeering supporters "pathetic" and, when asked after his last match in charge 11 months later if he thought it was impossible for him to win over the Bolton fans, he simply replied: "Yes."

The Owls boss also revealed that, during his spell at the Reebok, Bolton chairman Phil Gartside asked him to ignore their European campaign in a bid to avoid relegation.

"I took Bolton further in Europe than they've ever been," he said. "Yet I was told by the chairman to get out of Europe because they don't make any money in it and it was having an impact on the league position, and it was absolutely imperative to stay in the Premiership.

"Bearing in mind that was the worst start that's ever been seen in the Premiership and still is, it was a huge ask to stay up, notwithstanding the fact we were in Europe.

"We took the reserves to Bayern Munich and got a draw there. Most people get beaten, and there's a lot of British teams since then that can't get a result there.

"We went to Red Star Belgrade, were the first team ever to have won there in over 100 years, managed to get through and we knocked out Atletico Madrid over two legs.

"I do think that, if it hadn't had been as tenuous in the Premiership, we could have got even further against Sporting Lisbon.

"But we just had to make sure that the club stayed up, by hook or by crook, we managed to do that, and yet you're still viewed as you were viewed."

Gary Megson is 'In the Spotlight' on BBC Radio Manchester on Thursday, 26 January at 1800GMT talking about his time in management and the media's perception of him. If you miss the show you can listen again via the iPlayer or download the podcast.

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