Wigan fans, get your table tennis bats ready. Owen Coyle is coming (back) to town! According to a number of reports including a pair out of Sky Sports and BBC Sport, the former Bolton Wanderers manager is set to take over the vacant post at the DW Stadium after Roberto Martinez was appointed as Everton's manager.
Coyle has been out of a job since his sacking by Bolton back in October and had interviewed for a number of positions that he had failed to get, including those of Red Bull New York and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Owen Coyle enjoyed some success at Bolton Wanderers, especially coming in as the happy, kind, smiling alternative to Gary Megson's medieval dungeon dour style of management. Following the decision to put Gary Megson on gardening duty, Owen Coyle kept the Trotters in the Premier League before pushing even higher the following season. In 2010/11 Wanderers were pushing for a place in Europe on the back of Stu Holden's incredible success in midfield. Bolton Wanderers had put in some wonderful performances in the league and in the FA Cup, where they reached the semi-final (culminating in that match that shall not be named).
It all fell apart after Stu Holden's injury at the studs of Manchester United's Jonny Evans. Bolton's performances slid drastically and Bolton Wanderers would finish that season in 14th after sitting in 6th place. The next season was even worse as it was (almost) a perpetual slide to the Championship with Bolton's relegation confirmed at the (brutish) hands of Stoke City at the Britannia on the final day.
Bolton Wanderers fans will look forward to this season's clashes against Wigan Athletic even more now as they look to get a win on the man that left the club in a pretty dire state in terms of training, fitness, and personnel, among other moves. The fixture list has not yet been released but whenever t'Clasico comes up, fans are sure to circle it on their calendars.
Dave Whelan has placed his confidence in Coyle but didn't do a very good job of selling him to the fans:
"If anyone can get us back to the Premier League, I think Owen is the manager to do it.
"It's been no easy task [finding a new manager] but Owen has shown enthusiasm and passion from the moment I met him.
"He's been there and done it with Burnley. He wasn't so successful at Bolton but he had a lot of injuries and bad luck.
‘He's aware of all the clauses in players contracts now that we are out of the Premier League, but we need a big squad and probably need to add another seven or eight players to what we have."
There is a blow that will come to Bolton fans, though, and that is that Owen Coyle will be managing the Latics in Europe this season, following their FA Cup win last season. His "training" (sarcastic quotes) techniques will likely struggle to cope with the sheer volume of matches to play across the Championship season, Capital One Cup, FA Cup, and Europa League.