It has been a long time coming, but Bolton Wanderers’ victory against a woeful Blackburn Rovers finally brings us humble Trotters fans some tidings of comfort and joy.
The Men in White podcast has sounded like st…st…st…stuck record at times this season, with impressive victories (QPR, Stoke, Wigan) followed by stuttering performances against teams against which we really ought to compete (Fulham, Norwich and Aston Villa to name but three).
Invariably, the runs of poor results have resulted in your two weary podcast hosts calling for ‘passion’; for ‘a spirited display’; and for ‘resilience’. Too often, however, our calls have not been answered.
‘Passion and belief are not hear at the moment. Please leave your message after the tone.’
However, the Blackburn game was different. It had to be – don’t get me wrong. Anything short of a 100% committed display would have been inexcusable, but the lads certainly delivered.
It was a bold team selection by Owen Coyle, but one that set the stage for the evening. It oozed positivity – and so did the fans on the terraces. They approved of the decision to leave out Kevin Davies (unthinkable a year ago) and Darren Pratley (yet to really make his mark), and they made Ewood Park sound like the Reebok.
One of the highlights was looking to the away stand and seeing Tony ‘Zico’ Kelly and Stuart Holden in amongst the fans. The good-looking, charismatic, dynamo of a midfielder boasting his latest swanky hair-do looked like he was having a whale of a time. As did Stuart Holden. (Groan).
Anyway, the difference between the Bolton fans’ and the Blackburn fans’ approach to the game was palpable. The Rovers faithful were out for blood. I spoke to a Blackburn-supporting friend pre-kick off, and he said he almost hoped his team would lose so that Kean would be sacked. You could tell he wasn’t alone in that sentiment, and it is a credit to the Bolton contingent that they knew their job was to support, and they did it from the off.
The players, too, did their bit. Yes, there were scares; but the celebration following Mark Davies’s goal showed the camaraderie amongst the team. They celebrated like it was the 94th minute rather than the fourth.
Honourable mentions go to Alonso, Nigel Reo-Coker and Petrov for sterling performances. Steinsson deserves praise too for getting across to Samba in the final seconds. Arguably, in doing so, he made sure the three points didn’t become one.
We await injury news for Ngog and the aforementioned Alonso, but with the latter spotted on crutches after the game it’s unlikely that Coyle will be able to field an unchanged side against Newcastle on Boxing Day. This is a shame, because consistency can be valuable; it leads to understanding.
That said, we have given ourselves a platform. Lets hope that this time, we are able to build something on it.