Now you’re talking. Last Saturday may have been the first of the 12 local Derbies we’ll play this season, but this one has got to be the most eagerly anticipated. It’s been a good few years since the teams have locked horns enough time for Bolton to have put what at times seemed like an irretrievable gap between us and them, but we’re back on level terms. There’ll be plenty of talk ahead of this one, on many a varied topic. I’ll leave the reminiscing to those of you with better memories than me, instead I’ll give you a few of the more general things that come to mind when I think of our near neighbours.
Ok, this might strictly be Westhoughton, but why let a few miles ruin a good story. They’re as good as the same anyway. Just ask your self, if my prize bull were stuck in the town gate how would I get it out. If the answer is ‘lob it’s head off’ then the queue for the pig’s trotters is over there.
‘Wow, it looks like a spaceship!’ It’s a fairly impressive sight, but there aint half been some rubbish spouted about the abode of our lovely neighbours. As impressive as the exterior may be, in my experience the inside is cramped and the view’s not as good as the JJB. Might give good viewing for RL games though, something for DW to bear in mind? Then again, I suppose it’s better to have a supermarket next door than one actually inside the ground.
The main thing about their ground is its proximity. In fact I’m lead to believe that it’s closer to Wigan town centre (5 miles?) than it is to Bolton’s. Is it the closest Derby between teams from separate towns? I’m not sure but it can’t be too far off.
The Next England Manager
It seems these days that the criteria for being linked with the England job is to have done reasonably well with little money. If the likes of Curbishly, Robson and Allardyce can turn a group of less than superstars into a decent team then imagine what they could do with the talent in the England squad. Ok big Sam is at the forefront of new techniques to prepare his teams for games but the style of play is more suited to Rochdale than it is to Rio. Graham Taylor managed success at club level, but look what happened with his England side.
Not strictly a Bolton thing, but we bought him from them so he’s in. The signings of both him and David Lee really got to me at one stage, and where as respect for Lee begrudgingly grew the same can’t be said for Green. Whether it was his cock of the school attitude or the moronic “Green, Green” chants from the South Stand almost everything about him wound me up. Although there is a bit of the irrational about, I like to think that the real reason behind this is a little more logical.
He was crap; what’s more he was crap but treated like a hero because he tried (he didn’t really, but mad it look like it by throwing in a couple of ‘hard man’ challenges per game). Carl Bradshaw was the better player by far and when Brads was offered another season and this fellow three, I could have thrown John Benson off the top of the West Stand (but then again, when wouldn’t I have).
If you don’t believe me about how bad he was, have a think about it. Think about the times before we signed Nicky Eaden (or before Jeff Kenna came on loan for that matter) and after. Think of the pillioring that Eaden got, if he was that bad, how bad must Green have been. Not convinced? What happened to his career after we stopped paying his wages? Exactly.
The fact is we’ve had worse off them, the Stuart’s Storer and Whittaker spring to mind. In fact the former probably deserves my rant as much if not more than Green, if only for the ridiculous spiv moustache he had on occasion. I just can’t bring myself to it though. In a club trying to go forward, I can’t believe that Scott Green hung about for so long, there’s only one word for it, it’s just WRONG!
Aw it’s sweet isn’t it? All these new fans means one thing for clubs, its way too easy to forget your past. When I was being dragged up we seemed to play Bolton a lot, not quite as much as we played Bury, but a lot. I don’t remember them being placid affairs either on or off the pitch. Now I’m not qualified to comment on any shenanigans that took place elsewhere but the followings they brought to Springfield park, and the atmosphere both home and away tell me that it meant something to the few thousand hardy souls that followed them back then.
Now the crowd has swollen and their sights have lifted a little we’re not worthy of their rivalry, no that’s reserved for the likes of Manchester Utd. You just know that the people spouting this have never heard of the Lancashire cup, let alone pre season tournaments in the Isle of Man, who needs Ibiza eh?
There’s plenty more tales, and I would have liked to have got some of them in, but I’m not sure I’d do them justice. Think Bobby Campbell’s hat-trick. Think games abandoned at half time, when they’d done the hard work and the weather was easing off. Think driving past lads being legged still going two miles away from the ground. Hang around at the bar on Sunday and I’m sure you’ll here plenty more. As much as the old stories are great, it’s time to start writing new ones, here’s for the first one being us hammering them this weekend.
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