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Chung-yong Lee - The Start of Our Downfall

Dan reckons he's pin pointed the star of our demise.

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

I believe I've pinpointed the exact moment in time everything began to go down hill for Neil Lennon and Bolton Wanderers - it was after the departure of Chung-yong Lee to Crystal Palace.

When Neil Lennon first joined the club back in October he turned the club's dire fortunes around and by late December/early January we were in a fine run of form and climbing up the table. It was the last time it was actually enjoyable to be a Wanderers support.

All that soon faded away by the end of January and we then gradually began to slide back the table as the season fizzled out in dull, dragging manner.

The main reason Neil Lennon managed to get the team performing and gave us when little spark of hope was his first, and probably only, revolutionary decision he made at the Macron.

He brought Chung-yong Lee out from the wing and played it him through the middle. It was a was a brilliant move, one which saw the South Korean play the best football since he sadly broke his leg all those years ago.

It's a wonder that Lee played under four managers during his time at the Macron, but it took the fourth to spot that he had all the attributes needed to be an influential and decisive attacking midfielder. It was Chungy's sublime performances that had begun to propel us up the table. He was getting on the score sheet again, even having the confidence to take crucial penalties, but more importantly he was creating chances which were leading to goals.

We all knew that Chungy was a very skilful player who could leave the best of defenders bamboozled, but what I think we all failed to appreciate, because his position outside restricted it, was just how intelligent of a player Lee is. His astute passing and clever movement could not have been matched by anyone in the division and it was no surprise at all that a Premier League club came calling.

Since Chungy's tearful departure we have been in a state of decay, and the rot is yet to stop.

Since Chungy completed his move to Crystal Palace on February 2nd, Bolton Wanderers have played 31 matches across all competitions. They have won five of them.


That's a win percentage of 16.1%.

From Neil Lennon's first game against Birmingham City on October 18th to the date that Lee left, the Whites played 19 games, nine of which ended in victory. A win percentage of 47.4.

What might be an even grimmer statistic is the amount of games that Bolton have lost since Chungy's departure compared to the above time frame. From when Lennon came in until Chungy left, the Whites lost just four games.

They went on to lose five in just the first month after Lee's departure. They have lost 18 football matches in total since that day.

Obviously there are other factors effecting these stats, they are spread over two seasons, Lee wasn't available for his last four games as a Bolton player due to international duty and the often muted 'bounce' effect may have also been a reason for the period of good form. But as I said early, it was Lennon who move Chungy to his optimum position and then he reaped the awards.

Whatever other factors there may be, it's clear that we've failed to replace Chungy's influence on games and haven't recovered from his sale.

Where is Chungy now? To my utter dismay he spends the majority of his Saturday afternoon's sat on the Crystal Palace bench, unable to get in the team ahead of the likes of Puncheon, Zaha and Bolasie. The trios form more than justifies it, but seeing a player of such wonderful ability wasting away as a sub is difficult to watch.

So Pards, do us a solid and loan him back to us would you? Nice one.