Embattled Manager of the Week: Owen Coyle

Embattled Manager of the Week: Owen Coyle
Coyle... Omnipresent

A demoralising 2-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic, rivals of both the ‘local’ and ‘relegation’ variety, understandably brought about a substantial amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst the Reebok faithful, not least of course the Trotters’ online communities. Always fascinated by the fickle world of fans’ football forums – this week’s Embattled Manager was being hailed as a hero a year ago, lest we forget – Football Burp sneaks a peak at what Bolton Wanderers fans have to say about Owen Coyle…

Embattled Manager of the Week…

Owen Coyle, Bolton Wanderers

Stands accused of…

“From the moment I saw the team it was always going to happen. How it is that everyone, every single other person, can see that with the players available 4-5-1 works and 4-4-2 does not …. that SKD [Super Kevin Davies], God bless him, is shot … that Mark Davies will only be the player he can be when given a free role & that requires Muamba on the pitch with him. Coyle hasn’t done that accidentally, it was a decision …. cocking a snook at the fans, at Muamba, at the club. He should own up to his error & if he cant then he should fck off. That being unlikely then he should be shown the door. Now, not at the end of the season. This evening … by text.” – bobo the clown, The Wanderer

“I always liked OC even if I didn’t rate him but the one thIng I’ve lost now is respect for him. If he doesn’t appreciate the close relationship between formation and the way the players perform then he has to be ejected for the good of the club now. The linearity between our results and the way we are set up is so basic that it takes nothing but a stubborn fool not to address it. The scary thing is that the layman who supports another club thinks OCis ace, meaning I guarantee if this continues, as we turn en masse against St Owen we will be criticised by all and sundry who will utilise Megson’s shit deflector as yet another vantage to put down the average Wanderer who is fed up with this wankfest. We are being ruined, not by an obvious evil like the odious ginger servant, but by a poor mistaken media savvy fool who is too blind to see; too stubborn to act.” – jules_darby, Wanderers Ways 

“If what I am reading is true with regard to Coyle’s reasoning for playing 442 then that decision is mismanagement on a colossal scale. As already highlighted, our squad is far too small and allowing a personal agenda to get in the way coupled with that style of punishment is extremely cavalier. Placing the issue aside as far as Muamba is concerned, it’s being suggested that Coyle would have played him had he not turned up late or whatever it was that occurred. Holding the team/formation to ransom and taking unnecessary risks, just to teach somebody a lesson, is a selfish foolhardy act in every regard. It’s also an act that has not only severely backfired but one that could seriously cost us dearly come the season’s end……I hope for Coyle’s sake that this particular blunder, orchestrated by him, doesn’t come back to haunt us else I’m sure he’ll feel the wrath of the fans and the criticism being flung around at present will seem like a walk in the park.” – flamingboy, Bolton Banter

“Everyone was so SO angry when they saw Kevin Davies rather than Reo-Coker step out of that tunnel, 20,000 of us knew what it meant. His thinking probably, “It’s only Wigan and we beat them 3-1 at their place.” – Yes 3-1, one in the last minute on the break and all 3 from horrendous errors which we couldn’t have counted on for this game to happen again. All we ‘created’ today was 1) score a wonder goal after the ball landed on N’Gog’s back, which by the way was more with a long ball than Davo had done all afternoon. 2) the Myaichi chance. This was Wigan at home ffs. and just for good measure another goal conceded from a corner.” – Athers, The Wanderer 

“if we had played 4 5 1 we might not have lost. we did play 4 4 2 and not only got beat we were woeful, so 451 would have been no worse. This is with hindsight but I sent a text to chielf wiggum before kick off saying ‘no muambe ffs’. with the players we have 4 5 1 means we have ngog, petrov,eagles and Mavis going forward then NRC breaking to support. a few weeks ago we looked screwed, then played 451 for a few games and we were improving, to revert to 442 was a massive mistake. Mavis [Mark Davies] has looked a threat in most of those games, yesterday he was a liability, NRC was a shadow of the player he was against arsenal, eagles and petrov got subbed, SKD was poor, ngog isolated. I am struggling for a player we have who is more suited to 442 than 451. understand if Fabrice was late OC might want to do something about it but given we do not have anyone at the club that can come in and do the same job dropping him is a joke.” – Ani, Wanderers Ways 

“Its clear to see that confidence is low and that the players look fragile and uncomfortable with playing 4-4-2, so some of them where probably puzzled by it all in the dressing room – you simply can’t have a premiership midfield that has 3 attacking players in a 4 man midfield, we are wide open. If Coyle had any tactical nouse or managerial ability, then after 20 / 25 mins yesterday when it was clear to most fans that bottom of the league Wigan were being made to look like Barcelona with 70 – 80% possession, they were controlling midfield and we couldn’t get hold of the ball and you could see that a goal was coming, he should have changed things and brought on Muamba for the yet again ineffective KD and gone back to 4-5-1 – instead he just let them carry on controlling the game, he never once changed the tactics and shape of the team. We need to bring someone in now who can get the best out the squad we have because Coyle is clearly incapable, I don’t know whether he’s stupidly brave or just plain stupid but I suspect its the latter.” – Peter Thompson, The Wanderer 

“Whats worrying to me is the seeming lack of fitness. We are second to the ball all the time. For goodness sake there’s a hill called Rivington not a hop skip and a jump away from the Reebok. Run up and down it. We look tired, out of sorts and it looks to me Coyle has lost the dressing room. He has three more games to put it right, but I can’t see him doing it. A change is becoming a must.” – Greeny2, Bolton Banter 

“’Little things like formations’ – is that a wind up? Everytime he does an interview he becomes more of a laughing stock! If formations are little things, what’s the big things? Standing on the touchline cheer leading week in week out? I’m sorry but that quote alone is a stackable offence, it’s downright ridiculous.” – matty_bwfc11, Wanderers Ways 

“Haven’t we already been through the whole “I’m going to make changes and drop anyone who makes a mistake phase before”? Knight’s been in, out and back in. Steinsson has been named, shamed, in, out, in, out and back in. Kevin Davies is in out then in again. Boyata was in for Steinsson, made an error then out again. Then in for Knight, then back out again. Mark Davies was in had a poor game, out then back in. Ngog was in against Chelsea at home, looked all at sea, then out again, then back in. The list goes on….Forgive me for not being totally convinced that the answer to our problems is dropping a player who makes a mistake. Surely we’ve seen enough of a revolving circus to realise that isn’t working? In fact this is Coyle’s interview from December after Newcastle beat us at home (another defeat Coyle cost us with a terrible decision but thats an aside)” – BWFC_Insane, The Wanderer 

In his defence…

“this is all such bollocks. some points for a reality check
1. we beat Wigan 3-1 playing 4-4-2.
2. If Muamba breached club discipline he shouldn’t play. if he didn’t then its clear OC doesnt rate him above RC or Davies. I do but many on here don’t either. Given Coyle was always going to go 4-4-2 and look to pressure high up the pitch and Sordell was injured it was Davies or Klasnic or Tuncay for the 2nd striker. He went for the wrong one.
3. some on here now calling for Coyle’s head had us finishing mid table after our mini run against the Scousers and Arsenal. Utter shite.This season was always going to be a roller coaster and if we survive it will be by the skin of our arses. why? see point 4
4. WE ARE A TEAM IN TRANSITION. It is not inconceivable that we start games for the remainder of the season without any of those fckers who started that game against Stoke (leave Knight and Steinsonn -oh and Muamba- out and its a done deal). Myself and most on here who went to that game were calling for exactly that. If anything OC has been over patient with the likes of Davies K and Knight but his hands have been tied with injuries.
5. The transfer window looks a good one. Last orders has gone for SKD,Steinsonn and Knight (i’d keep Muamba but i’m biased).Its Coyle’s team now – judge it and him this time next season when either, i predict, we will be comfortably mid BPL table or running away with the Championship. If we survive we will be a better side for it. Sack the manager and we may well implode. COYWM” – lovethesmellofnapalm, The Wanderer 

“We beat Wigan earlier in the season without Muamba and a midfield/attack comprising Eagles,Petrov,Reo-coker,Pratley,Ngog and Kevin Davies. The only change from when we beat Wigan is Mark Davies for Pratley yet Coyle should be sacked.It makes you laugh. It’ll be ‘We’re on the march with Owen’s army’ next week if we win at Millwall.” – Butterfly, Wanderers Ways

“look at our squad (available) we do not have a Prem standard squad perhaps 5 or 6 players who are at the correct level and two of them are long term injuries. Would MON have had the same success doubtful, would he have taken on the challenge not a chance. So who out there could get this bunch to be World beaters. OC is all we have for this season he may keep us up, if he does next season looks to be equally as challenging as we will continue to shop in poundland. With or without OC. I think he may keep us up, equally I will still be a Wanderers fan whichever division we find ourselves and it will remain a painfull experience.” – Catte Strophe, Bolton Banter 

“let’s not get carried away with ourselves… yes – the formation is one thing… but we did not have NO CHANCE with 4-4-2. we played wiggin 4-4-2 away from home and won 3-1. making them play 4-4-2 isn’t the greatest idea – but it’s not like he cut their legs off!! are we REALLY saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE to beat wiggin at home with those players playing 4-4-2?? really?? if so – we are in a fecking sorry state!! Coyle has (rightly) taken stick – but it is not the only factor in play (more’s the pity)” – thebish, The Wanderer

“Keep Coyle, imo, he has made some pretty amateurish/ foolish calls in the last couple of matches, giving up valuable points, even so, I’d be a little hesitant in replacing him just yet, maybe setting him targets to achieve within a certain period is the short term solution, although keeping an eye out for a suitable future replacement, wouldn’t hurt. However, this is Bolton, and I seriously doubt those powers that be have any kind of contingency in place” – Revelations, Bolton Banter

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect us to take the game to Wigan. At home. It’s about time the players took some responsibility for their performances instead of hiding behind the, ‘I can only play if the team is set-up the way i like it’, bullshit. The system shouldn’t affect the way we defend a corner.” – SpiritofBurnden, Wanderers Ways

“[Re: Muamba] I don’t have a problem with the manager enforcing whatever rule he sees fit. Ferguson dropped Rooney for going out the night before training and they lost the game. But he enforced a rule that the whole squad are bound by. This is just another stick to beat Coyle over the head with, and it’s ridiculous. Professional football players have nothing to do on most days of their lives and on macth days, spend 90 minutes of their precious time kicking a ball up and down a field. The least we can expect is that they show up when told to.” – Billy Bradshaw, Bolton Banter 

“If it comes down to the final game of the season, with us requiring a win at Stoke to keep us up, will you be advocating us playing Klasnic and Davies up front in a 4-4-2? We beat them 5-0 with them both in the side. It’s meaningless. Everybody who’s seen us enough times this season knows which formation and personnel are more likely to get us points and which aren’t. I don’t believe anybody is suggesting 4-5-1 with Muamba in the team would see us storm up the table laying waste to everyone in sight. We’d still have problems (namely getting regular goals from N’Gog and the midfielders), but we’d at least look a limited team with an idea of what they’re supposed to be doing, as opposed to the simplistic (more strikers = more goals), idealistic, clueless shite the manager seems to prefer. Coyle isn’t going anywhere, so it’s a waste of time discussing if he should. He’s proven in the past month or so that, almost in spite of himself, he can find the right team and pick up some points, and that may well be enough to keep us up. I am utterly terrified of the side he’ll put together when he gets to rebuild from scratch in the summer, but that’s an arguement for another day.” – Tombwfc, The Wanderer 

So, How Does Owen Coyle Measure Up On The Embattled-O-Meter?

Unpopularity rating…


Derisive nicknames…

St Owen (ironically), Owen “Barclays Premier League” Coyle (owing to his repeated use of the phrase)

Estimated number of games left to save his job…


And those games would be?

Millwall (a), Chelsea (a), Manchester City (a), Queens Park Rangers (h)

Owen Coyle of Bolton Wanderers is Football Burp's Embattled Manager of the Weeksays…

Doesn’t look good, does it? Hard to think that this is the same man who was being heralded by all and sundry for his work at Burnley and then the first few months at Bolton last season. In general, it’s safe to say that Barclays Premier League managers tend to know a bit more about football than the average fan, but the opinion here is startlingly unanimous, even to the extent that Coyle’s evidently few remaining supporters – if the forums are any kind of accurate gauge, that is – concede that he made a right holy show of the team selection against Wigan.

Defeat at Millwall in the FA Cup this weekend could spell the end in itself, but if he survives that one then he’s got a couple of games in a row in which only brutal tonkings would significantly further the present level of embattlement. Any Barclays Premier League points before the visit of QPR are basically bonus ones – lose at home to Mark Hughes’s men, however, and it could be curtains.

And not very nice curtains at that.

Owen Coyle – in or out? Have your say in the comments section below…