Owen Coyle: The Bolton legend has come home.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


After days of negotiations, Owen Coyle was finally named manager of Bolton Wanderers on Friday evening. Now, this is certainly an appointment that has puzzled many in football as many view Coyle’s move from Burnley’s Turf Moor to Bolton’s Reebok Stadium as a step in the wrong direction.

The move is certainly a kick in the teeth for Scottish football after Coyle turned down a summer move to Celtic in favour for staying on as manager of Burnley, to which he signed a contract extension to stay at the club until the end of the 2012-2013 season. Yet six months later he has left Turf Moor in favour for rivals Bolton.

That contract extension was vital to this move because it included a clause that meant he could talk to any rival club that was prepared to pay more than £3million in compensation for his services; albeit I believe the two clubs came to an agreement of £1.5million in compensation in return for Coyle’s services.

It also emerged this week that Coyle had indeed applied for the Wanderers vacancy created by Sammy Lee's sacking in October 2007, so it was no surprise that when Gary Megson was sacked two weeks ago his hat was once again thrown in the ring, only this was his time to move.

The Scot was immediately considered for the position, because of his track record having steered Burnley to promotion to the top flight for the first time in 33 years in his first full season in charge.

He is the man who solely put Burnley back on the map; beating Arsenal, Chelsea and Fulham in the Carling Cup last season, and clubs like Manchester United and Everton this season working on very small means.

At Burnley the weekly wage ceiling is £15,000, by far the lowest in the Premier League. At Bolton, he will be able to pay his players more, while also attracting a higher calibre of players.

He made no qualms about saying that he was "privileged to be building something special" at Burnley. But, as we know all good things must come to end.

The 43 year-old has signed a three year contract at the Reebok, and it being hailed as a 'Bolton Wanderers legend' despite the fact that he only played 54 times for the club.

Speaking after his appointment Coyle said "I'm absolutely delighted to be back at Bolton, and I look forward to bringing the good times back."

But, there are many questions to be raised by Coyle’s decision and some that will remain unanswered. Now we will never know if he would have kept Burnley in the top division for more than a single season, but one thing is for sure, he must keep Bolton in the Premier League, relegation is not an option for the Trotters.

Bolton are in their ninth successive Premier League season having came up with Fulham and Blackburn in 2001 season, remarkably the trio, despite their brushes with relegation have stuck around since.

His first match in charge is now scheduled to be the televised Premier League fixture at home to Arsenal next Sunday.

In my view Coyle is making a mistake, and if I was in the position he was in I would have stayed on at Burnley till at least the end of the season and then go from there. People that have been reading any of my recent articles will know that I have been banging on about my pre-season predictions, but if I was to consult them right now I would see that I predicted Burnley would stay up and I still believe they will, for the record I also think that Bolton will remain in the top flight.

My question to you is if Coyle was indeed building something special at Burnley why didn’t he stay there to finish the job?

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Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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