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BWFC Flashback: Walter Zenga to Replace Gary Megson?

Chris takes a trip down memory lane

Francois Nel

Back when Gary Megson was sacked as Bolton Wanderers manager in December 2009, the world was a better place. We were a Premier League outfit, and an established one at that.

Granted, things had not been rosy in the garden since Sam Allardyce broke our hearts to leave. Chairman Phil Gartside had picked the then-Leicester manager Megson to replace Big Sam, much to the chagrin of many supporters.

Megson's reign was tumultuous, although the club survived. This was his objective and he achieved that, to his credit. However, during his third year in charge, a 2-2 draw with Hull City left our glorious club third from bottom in the Premier League and the former West Brom boss felt the supporters ire for the last time, and was relieved of his duties the next morning.

Back in 2009, Wanderers were linked with names such as former Wigan boss Paul Jewell, who coincidentally was at the Reebok to watch the game and was considered a strong candidate alongside Darren Ferguson, Alan Curbishley and Gareth Southgate, whilst some fans appealed to the club to aim high and go for former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes along with former Bolton striker Owen Coyle, then making waves at neighbours Burnley.

Jewell soon ruled himself out, speaking to the Daily Mail thusly:

"I find it embarrassing as I was at the Hull game with my son as a guest of Gary. There was no ulterior motive

I just thought it would be an interesting game to watch. I am not one of those managers who sits in the stands to be seen or to put any kind of pressure on other managers."

However, another name soon emerged. The Premier League was in love with Italian managers including Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti, Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Mancini, and reports from Serie A claimed that Zenga has been approached. Indeed our very own Bolton News ran with the story soon after.

The former Italy goalkeeper had managed extensively in Europe and further afield, including Gaziantepspor, New England Revolution, Steaua Bucharest, Red Star Belgrade, Dinamo Bucharest and Palermo.

However as we now know, Zenga was overlooked in favour of Coyle, whose time at Bolton can best be described as 'disappointing', with a fair splash of 'disastrous' thrown in for good measure.

The Italian went on to manage in the Middle East with Al-Nassr, the similarly named Al-Nasr, before joining his last club Al-Jazira, who relieved him of his command in 2014.

Walter Zenga - Career Stats

978-1979

→ Salernitana

3

(0)

1979-1980

→ Savona

23

(0)

1980-1982

→ Sambenedettese

67

(0)

1982-1994

Internazionale

328

(0)

1994-1996

Sampdoria

41

(0)

1996-1997

Padova

21

(0)

1997-1999

New England Revolution

47

(0)

Total

530

(0)

National team

1984-1986

Italy U-21

15

(0)

1987-1992

Italy

58

(0)

Teams managed

1998-1999

New England Revolution

2000-2001

Brera

2002-2003

Naţional Bucureşti

2004-2005

Steaua Bucureşti

2005-2006

Red Star Belgrade

2006-2007

Gaziantepspor

2007

Al-Ain

2007

Dinamo Bucureşti

2008-2009

Catania

2009-2010

Palermo

2010

Al Nassr

2011-2013

Al Nasr

2013-2014

Al Jazira