By Looking to the Past Is Bolton Harming Its Future?

Nathan WinderContributor IJanuary 5, 2010

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02:  Owen Coyle of Burnley after the final whistle of the FA Cup 3rd  Round match between MK Dons and Burnley at Stadiummk on January 2, 2010 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

It seems to be only a matter of time before Owen Coyle is unveiled as the new manager of Bolton Wanderers. Pending a compensation package between current club Burnley and Bolton, Coyle will be installed as the third manager since the departure of Sam Allardyce.

This move seems to have all the ingredients to please the supporters and the media alike, but is it the best football move?

Coyle has a history with Bolton, having played for the club from '93-'95. Coyle is revered by the supporters for being a key member of the first Bolton side to play in the premiership. His role as an attacking player seems to have extended to his playing philosophy as a manager.

He has experienced success at both his managerial posts, St. Johnstone and Burnley, and was in consideration for the Bolton job before Gary Megson was hired by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside.

As well as being successful, his clubs have been known for playing a passing game that is attractive and the antithesis of the long ball tactics associated with Bolton. 

Playing attractive football is always going to be something that keeps the fans interested, but the recent success of Bolton (under Allardyce) was predicated on the physical aspects of the game.

With the exception of a very unsuccessful spell under the diminutive Sammy Lee, Bolton have not really experimented with the passing game. There are also doubts that the squad could cope with that style. 

Although Coyle will have nearly the full transfer window to make changes, it is doubtful that a real remake is possible. This means that he will have to work with the players already on hand. 

There is little doubt that Coyle is a quality manager with a preference for attacking play, but will Bolton fans have a preference for flair or survival? The success that was built by Allardyce and to a degree sustained by Megson rests on Bolton being difficult to play and therefore beat. 

A change to the passing game could doom Bolton in the same way that they struggled under the stewardship of Sammy Lee. This could ultimately mean that the Reebok Stadium will see Blackpool and Watford instead of Chelsea and Arsenal next season.