The Lion of Vienna View on Wigan’s new boss

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When Owen Coyle arrived at Bolton, he was a breath of fresh air compared to the overall grayness and smell of being bored to death that Gary Megson left at the Reebok Stadium. Owen Coyle was a genuinely nice guy, always smiling, and looked to play a more attractive style of football than his predecessors did. In his first season, he kept the club up. In his second season, he pushed for Europe. In his third, Bolton Wanderers went down. Ten games into his fourth, he was gone.


Owen Coyle’s tenure was largely defined by the rise and unfortunate fall of Stuart Holden. It was with Stu that Coyle’s, and Bolton’s fortunes rose and it was with Stu’s injury and Coyle’s inability to compensate for the midfielder’s absence that Bolton fell. In Stu, the former manager looked outside the figurative box for a new signing and managed to bring in a quality player for free. Holden would become one of the Premier League’s best central midfielders during the 2010/11 season and would push Bolton Wanderers to 6th place in the Premier League and the semi-finals of the FA Cup. 


Following Holden’s knee injury in at the studs of Jonny Evans at Old Trafford in March of that season, Owen Coyle would fail to replace the dynamic box-to-box American and with it, Bolton would suffer. Coyle tried to plug the gap with the largely ineffective Darren Pratley, the not at all loyal Nigel Reo-Coker, and an out-of-position Mark Davies while leaving arguably the club’s then-best defensive midfielder in Fabrice Muamba out entirely. The manager’s lineups often did not make sense to those on the outside looking in and when something did actually work, Coyle often tried to change the formula. 


Ten games into the 2012/13 campaign, after picking up just 11 points in ten Championship matches, the Bolton board decided to finally drop the axe on Coyle. There were no signs of improvement in the team that lost away to Hamilton Academic in the summer and at Crawley Town in the Capital One Cup and because of that, the move to Dougie Freedman was a necessity. 


It’s difficult to determine whether or not Owen Coyle left a legacy at Bolton Wanderers. Sure, there was the way that both he and the club handled the Fabrice Muamba situation, but apart from that, Coyle’s Trotters legacy is one of mediocrity before the ultimate failure of letting Botlon slip back into the Championship after 11 years in the top flight. 


What Wigan fans had better hope for is that Dave Whelan puts his foot down on Coyle’s backroom appointments. The major complaint from Bolton fans during Owen Coyle’s time at the club was constantly about the sheer uselessness of the manager’s assistant appointments. It seemed that Coyle was more than happy to hand his friends, rather than capable hires, jobs at the club. We see a prime example of this when he tried to install Phil Hughes as the new goalkeeper coach, attempting to fire Fred Barber in the process. Barber had brought up the likes of Jussi Jaaskelainen, Ali Al-Habsi, and Adam Bogdan in his time at the club and Coyle was more than happy to cut him loose. Jaaskelainen, the then-first choice goalkeeper,  was having none of that and threatened to walk out on the club in the wake of the attempted move. Coyle would finally get his way after Jaaskelainen moved to West Ham and he let Barber go.


Just know that Owen Coyle isn’t flawless and when issues arise, he is often not quick to change them. 



thanks to Mark Yesilevskiy from  website


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