Date: 5th November 2009 at 11:56am
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1) So, what sort of season are you expecting after your mixed start?

I’d expect us to finish 13th-14th, just like last season. I doubt that Gary Megson has the ability to take us above that.

2) Realistically, where should Bolton be, mid table, pushing for Europe or just surviving?

Given the players and resources we’ve got, a mid table finish is a reasonable aspiration. It was great qualifying for Europe two years in three, but the game has moved on now, with the silly money involved in it. You have to shell out £40 million a year in wages just to survive in the top flight.

In any case, the Europa League is a poisoned chalice. If it was a straight knock-out competition then fine, but the format forces clubs to enlarge their squads to cope with the number of games.

3) Gary Megson.. not so popular is he? Why?

Depends who you talk to. Some fans weren’t prepared to give him a chance, whatever the results. The feature below might be exaggerating that view, but not by much: Click Here

Others, whilst not welcoming his appointment, thought they may as well see how he did, before passing judgment. I’d put myself in that category. For me, he’s got too many shortcomings to be really successful at top level. Sam Allardyce’s big strength as Bolton manager was the ability to organize the midfield in such a way that it stopped the other side playing. Megson doesn’t and the absence of clean sheets this season is testimony to that.

4) How are Zat Knight and Gary Cahill getting on?

We’d like our money back on Zat Knight please, under the 1975 sale of goods act, as he’s not fit for purpose. If I had to use one word to describe him, that word would be ‘gormless’.

He’s been accused of having lapses in concentration, but for that to be true, he’d have had to have been concentrating in the first place. There is little evidence of that.

Games against Manchester United and Chelsea showed that Gary Cahill has some way to go to be the top class player that most expect him to become, but he’s still been a very good signing.

5) If you could grab another Villa player, who would it be and why?

Ashley Young, just for the pace and ability to run at defences. That he has a disturbing to resemblance to Marlo Stansfield off ‘The Wire’ is good too. You wouldn’t mess with him because of that.

6) Who should Villa watch out for on Saturday?

We don’t have anyone outstanding, but you might want to keep an eye on Tamir Cohen. He has a habit of arriving late in the penalty area and a reliable left foot. This is slightly different than Kevin Nolan, who used to arrive late in the box because he was too slow to get there at the same time as everyone else.

7) What do you think of the new money like Man City in the league, going to be the ruination of footie or a good thing?

I’ve got mixed feelings on this. The top four needs breaking up. Having the same clubs in it every year is killing football and the Champions League money increases the gulf in resources between them and the rest, perpetuating the problem. But I’d rather the competition came from a club that has built it itself up gradually with a sound financial policy. Clearly that doesn’t apply to Manchester City who have had cash thrown at them.

Sad to say, but football is already ruined. With the amount of money from Sky, it should have been possible to pay players a decent wedge, charge fans an affordable entrance fee and still have resources for youth development, without clubs running high debt levels.

Instead, most of the cash has ended up in the pockets of players and their agents, and the debt situation is unsustainable. It’s been a great opportunity wasted.

8) Any opinions on Villa and Martin O’Neill and what do you think of Villa Park?

Villa seem erratic this season. Good on their day, poor when it’s not. Liverpool away and Wigan at home being examples.

I like O’Neill, if only for slapping around the wusses on the BBC when on pundit duty. Looking from the outside, he seems to have sound player judgment, apart from on Gary Cahill (ho,ho) and has Villa (sorry for the cliché) playing to their strengths.

9) Go on then kind sir, what is your prediction?

A Villa win. Bolton’s biggest fault at present is allowing the opposition acres of space in midfield. When faced with that it’s easy to be at your best.

With thanks to Richard McCormick from Vital Bolton.

Our interview – done by Murph this week – for Vital Bolton: Click Here


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