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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers vs Derby County

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Well that was one of the most disappointing afternoons of football I have seen for some time. I was very careful with this ‘5 Things’ to wait at least 24 hours before putting metaphorical pen to paper as I wanted the raw emotion to pass before I gave any of my thoughts to Saturday’s events.

Richard Heathcote

No point dodging this subject and of course it will be a common theme throughout the piece and begin with perhaps the most disappointing thing about yesterday.

‘Fan Protests'

Don't really know where to start with this.

Firstly, to make sure this is understood clearly I am very much for the idea of public demonstration to voice discontent but yesterday I felt that Bolton Wanderers fans voiced their discontent at the expense of the class and dignity. It's one thing chanting for the removal of a man from his job; it is another thing entirely to ride the corner flag like a horse.

Steve McLaren must have thought he was back in his worst moments of a football manager as another fan approached under fire boss Freedman in a ludicrous ten minutes for Bolton.

The fears of the Bolton security staff that they may have to do something for their fucking money were allayed after a couple of minutes as the two fans merely headed to the exit themselves. Bolton's finest security staff were foiled once as one of the cheeky chappies re-entered the free to incite the stadium to chant ‘Fuck Off Freedman' at the Bolton Wanderers manager.

Post-game some videos emerged off a minority group of fans staying behind to voice their anger and whilst they have been criticised by many for this I feel it is a much more appropriate form of protest and I would hate to see the scenes I saw on the pitch at any club never mind my own Bolton Wanderers.

As I departed on the match day train I was sat behind one of Bolton Wanderers fans who made the journey from Norway for this game, God only knows what he thought about our club.

Something has got to give

Quite simply the question of whether Dougie Freedman should or should not go no longer matters, after the events of Saturday he has too.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the results on the pitch are hurting Mr Freedman a lot more than they are us and I am not even brushing on the boardroom issue, that will come later, I don't think there is any coming back from what happened on Saturday, the cat is out of the bag.

I am surprised Dougie Freedman has not resigned, why anyone would put themselves through that for a job is beyond me.

From a political perspective, the board need to cut him off, it may help move things forward and scapegoat Freedman as Megson and Coyle were before him as all managers battle the clubs financial decline that came from the glory days we all loved so much.

Do what needs to be done Bolton; it will be better for everyone, club, fans and even Freedman.

Bargain Basement

In his post match comments, a dejected Dougie Freedman eluded to his ‘honest' squad.

It did get me thinking and I tried to put myself into Dougie's shoes with it. He clearly knows the squad we have isn't good enough, he has never mentioned the prospect of promotion are even competing for play-off places come the end of the season. It is no surprise, when you have fuck all to spend, you are going to get found out, especially in the Championship, were the quality is as good as the lower parts of the Premier League.

We sat and watched as we missed out on important signings, both permanent and on loan that really could of made a difference to us, this was demonstrated by the wonderfully talented Jordan Ibe, who ripped apart the Bolton full-backs which ever wing he was on.

Forget Freedman people, the problem is bigger, we are in a decline and I genuinely believe that if we continue to the debt management we now have to because of the financial strategy of not only Phil Gartside, but all of the Bolton board and Eddie Davies, then this club cannot survive. I don't care how much Eddie Davies loves the club, if we continue our decline, there must be a point he calls it a day.

Worrying times people.

On The Pitch

Terrible, absolutely terrible.

There was no clear strategy to be had and Derby soon settled and 2-0 did not flatter them whatsoever.  Bolton were flat, lethargic and most worryingly far inferior to their opponents.

In attack, Joe Mason was completely invisible but in truth that wasn't really his fault. What I would say about Mason though it was disappointing not to see the high energy levels that we have come to expect from him but I would suspect the negativity of his surroundings.

Perhaps most disappointing was the lack of defensive organisation we had, especially after the resolute defensive performance midweek against Chelsea. For me Andy Lonergan does not command the area anywhere near to the levels of Adam Bogdan (unless he's kicking off with paying Bolton fans) and the disorganisation showed as Derby enjoyed large pockets of space for their productive midfield to exploit.

One way in which this was evident is perhaps the most simple of defensive responsibilities, maintaining a line as far too often Matt Mills sat deeper and played Derby's dangerous wide players, Jordan Ibe and Jamie Ward onside.

What Now?

Well unfortunately, we have another game on Wednesday!

I would hope the club would not take this into account when they have their board meetings on Monday morning. It will probably do the Bolton players a lot of good to be away from the Macron Stadium as the atmosphere will be simply toxic. In terms of any organised demonstrations, whilst I am not aware of any at the time of writing, I would be expectant to see rallying calls on the matter through various social media outlets.

The Bolton board must understand that while the actions of the fans oviously directly correlate with results on the pitch, the fact they are able to do so little about it demonstrates the disconnection between the club and the community of Bolton.

Whereas diplomacy may have been an option for the club if they still had any relationship with the fans whatsoever, simply now the fans want drastic change and that will mean some P45's need printing off.

Don't worry about it though guys, its only football ...