The End of Our Knightmare

Jamie McDonald

He was bad, but was Zat Knight really THAT bad?

I'll admit it, I could have been just the slightest bit wrong.

He was a problem for sure, but it turns out he wasn't the only problem.

But let's face it, when Zat Knight is your captain and you can't seem to win a game, all signs will point to him.

The giant gap he constantly left in our defense was enough to anger even the most reasonable fan and all of us know that there were days where we cursed his name and prayed to every deity that Dougie Freedman would replace him so we could just start winning.

Now that we've finally won a game and tempers are controlled, I can't help but look back on the beginning of the season and analyze everything we did.

Sure, I was happy when Knight finally got benched, but we all quickly learned that getting rid of him wasn't a quick fix. We continued to lose with him on the bench. Our new defensive partnership of Matt Mills and Tim Ream has held up better than our initial defense did, but it was a struggle to get to this point, and to that win.

So I guess, in a way, I've realized that Knight deserves some credit. Maybe even an apology depending on how you look at it. Some people will still think he deserved what he got; as fans it's typical for us to get riled up. But it wasn't that we hated Knight a lot, it was that we all hated him. No matter where you were on any day, start a conversation with a Wanderers supporter and it would have almost definitely brought you back to the existence of Zat Knight.

Take a step back and think about that. Having loads of people you don't even know critiquing you about the one thing you've dedicated your life to doesn't sound like my idea of a fun time. And yet, Knight seems to have handled it with the utmost grace. We heckled him, mocked him, even outright cursed him, and I never heard any incident of him treating any of us the same way. In fact, when I met him after the Brighton match he was nothing but polite to me (which was not the case for some of our other players that day).

But most importantly, he never put up a public fight when Dougie decided it was time for him to step back. There was no rumor circulating that he wanted to leave Bolton or that he railed against Dougie's decision. He stepped down graciously like any good captain would and did what our manager thought was best for this squad. That alone makes me respect him more than any handful of brilliantly played games ever could.

So from me to you Zat, I think I owe you an apology and even a round of thanks.

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