So it appears that we have approached some sort of end-game, to use an Americanism, in the reign of Owen Coyle as the manager of Bolton Wanderers. The club has officially parted company with the beleaguered manager and now it is up to Phil Gartside and Eddie Davies to appoint a replacement.
1. Gary Neville
Pros - Talks a good game, and obviously has coaching ability hence his appointment to the England national side staff. Excellent defender and would presumably sort out that shower of a back line.
Cons - Zero managerial experience, plus he's Gary Neville. Can't grow a proper moustache.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 0.00%
2. Alan Curbishley
Pros - experience in the Championship plus had a reputation for being solid if unspectacular. Plenty of experience in the Premiership and was a candidate to be England manager at the same time as Big Sam.
Cons - has been out of the game for some time, had a reputation for being solid if unspectacular which might test the limits of some of our more impatient supporters.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 40.85% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
Pros - Vastly experienced manager both in terms of club football and international football with Rep of Ireland. Also possesses vast experience in getting teams promoted from the Championship.
Cons - A dour and uninspiring man, his track record of success in the Championship is mirrored by how poor he has been in the Premiership. Once paid £7m for Kevin Doyle, which speaks volumes.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 39.29% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
4. Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer
Pros - again a vastly experienced player, spent a decade at Manchester United learning both as a player and youth team coach from Alex Ferguson so has had a good ‘education' in the game. Has been a success in his job in Norway leading Molde to their first title.
Cons - has only had one managerial job in a backwater league, despite his success. Rejection of Aston Villa job in the summer perhaps hints at a lack of willingness to move at this early stage of his career.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 62.50% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
5. Billy Davies
Pros - A "stand-for-no-BS" Scot with a decent record of getting teams to be competitive in the top half of the Championship. Friends with Julian Darby.
Cons - A "stand-for-no-BS" Scot with a decent record of falling at the final hurdle in the Championship. Also stands for no shit and has therefore fallen out with most of the Chairman he has worked for.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 40.57% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
6. Phil Brown
Pros - Knows the club from top to bottom having spent years here as both a crap full back and as assistant manager to Big Sam. Had a successful short spell as caretaker manager in between Colin Todd's departure and Allardyce's arrival. Did well to get Hull promoted into the Premiership for the first time in their history.
Cons - Hull's ship sank spectacularly with Brown being sacked midway through the second season. Has a worrying predilection for sunbeds and for wearing headsets.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 30.08% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
7. Dean Holdsworth
Pros - Young and upcoming manager who did well at Newport before moving into the Football League with Aldershot.
Cons - Hasn't been quite so successful at Aldershot with them currently close to the bottom of the League. Also, still haven't forgiven him for that miss at Wembley.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - unavailable
8. Harry Redknapp
Pros - Good motivator, gets teams playing good football and has experience at the highest level in the game.
Cons - Would want a fortune in wages, would want a fortune in terms of a transfer budget. He's also got a track record of leaving teams in terrible financial shape and let's not forget that his son is a dribbling dickhead. Taking the Bolton job would mean relocation from the south coast, something he has not been willing to do in the past.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 40.82% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
9. Steve Kean
Pros - none
Cons - he's Steve Kean
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 28.38% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
10. Peter Reid
Pros - Ex-Wanderer and someone who has had a decent career in the game at numerous clubs. Stock was highest when at Sunderland and he took them to the top half of the Premiership.
Cons - Hasn't managed higher than the lower leagues in recent years. Did poorly at Leeds and Coventry before struggling with Plymouth Argyle.
CAREER WIN PERCENTAGE - 41.72% - OWEN COYLE WIN PERCENTAGE 41.99%
So, in conclusion, there are many candidates available to replace Coyle should the powers-that-be decide that now is the time. The above are just the main few whose names have been bandied about online. Each has their own positive and negative attributes, most of which I have ignored in favour of blanket judgements about their character and/or criminal dealings.
This is a massive decision for Bolton Wanderers. We need promotion. The financial reports without Premier League income do not bear thinking about. The time to stick or twist is fast approaching and the board have a huge decision to make in who to hire.