For those of you who are unaware, a very special guest joined un on the #LOVpod this week, as the chief football writer over at the Bolton News, Marc Iles, joined the team for a lengthy and interesting chat on all things Bolton Wanderers.It's a fascinating listen and any Bolton supporter should listen to it in all its glory. But if you can't muster up the effort to listen to the pod (shame on you!) I've very kindly gone to the effort to compile all the questions you, the listeners, poised to Marc for the show:
@jjstewart457: What are the differences around the club and in dealing with the club and players between Freedman and Lennon era?
Certainly the academy, the under 21s is a happier bunch. The staff and the club feels more united. The players, not a particularly discernable difference really. I think certainly, you said before, the initial impact that Lenny had, everybody was happy when they were winning but that's obviously changed over the last three months and people have been a little bit more reticent to do interviews. You have to work a bit harder as a local journalist, because you don't get to talk to too many people, but other than the whole place feeling more united, there hasn't been too much difference.
@danoftheavenue: Which of our managers have you found the most difficult to deal with?
Owen Coyle, because he spoke at 400 words per minute it was impossible to write down. No, they've all been alright. You know, Gary Megson, whilst everybody reacts with shock and horror when I say it, was actually a nice bloke and I really enjoyed working with him. He was interesting. When you put a tape or a camera on him, he changed, a lot, but as someone who travelled quite a bit with him, I enjoyed his company. Sammy Lee was difficult, I don't think he ever fit particularly well with management, certainly didn't say a lot. So perhaps Sammy would be the answer to the question. I never quite got much with Sam Allardyce, luckily Gordon Sharrock had the glory years, so by the time I turned up it was Sammy Lee or nothing. I got on really well with Dougie, in very difficult times. Coyley was a really nice bloke, again, a lot of difficult times we went through there and now Neil, going back to Gary Megson, he just speaks sense, he's so interesting to deal with so, unfortunately, Sammy will probably get that vote for the most difficult one.
@jamesbwfc22: do you think money is the only thing stopping us from going up?Or is it something like the chairman/owner?
Well, they're all kind of linked. Neil needs money, there's no two ways about that. I think unless he gets investment this summer I personally think you can forget about promotion next season. It's going to take him a minimum two seasons to build a squad on free transfers and loans that's going to be capable of getting promotion. Chairman; like him, loathe him, what ever you do, he doesn't have much say on the pitch. So it comes down to the players at that point, and the manager. Yes, the money is going to help but I think you need the players to take some responsibility over what's happened the last two, three seasons, it can't just always come back to the chairman or always come back to money. I think you need to point the fingers at some people who were being paid extremely good wages and haven't done their jobs properly.
@theMatthewPryor: if you had to take one back, who would it be? Megson or Dougie?
Megson. Any day of the week. Well, it would mean we're still in the Premier League. I like Dougie, don't get me wrong, he had a lot of tough stuff to do, but, and this won't make me popular, I think if Bolton hadn't sacked Gary Megson when they did I still think they'd have stayed up that season. I still think he'd have kept Bolton in the Premier League, probably to an empty stadium every week, but I think he'd have kept them in the Premier League, because he just had that way about him. Dougie, had to do so much difficult things, but just lost popularity left, right and centre and somewhere down the line I'd love to think he's going to be a great manager because he spoke a lot of sense about the game, but out of the two I think I'd probably take Mego back.
@ConConD98: if you were NL, would your main target be an out and out goal scorer, or a quality CB for next season?
Goal scorer. I'd love to think Le Fondre could come back, I doubt it because of finances and I'd be a bit worried about Burnley coming down I have to say, seems like he'd fit at that sort of club. They need a goal scorer. You know, this fella from Spain, Sergi, the more I hear about him seems to be a fella who knows where the net is. You not going to go up with out a goal scorer, very, very rarely you see a club manage to go up with out somebody getting 15, 20 goals for the. Hull did it the other year, but I can't think of too many other examples. You need somebody to score goals and there's simply no body in my eye, Zach Clough perhaps, who are going to get us 20 goals next season.
@glenn_ashworth: As a reporter do u get told from bwfc not to publish something relevant? And do you do that or not?
Yeah, there's plenty of stuff the club has said. The one thing that always makes me laugh, as a local journalist is that people sort of presume that you seek the clubs permission to write stories, and that couldn't be further from the case. I think if the football club were to be writing the newspaper, you wouldn't see any news in it. Well, it would be the club website because they have a self-serving purpose to put up the information they do, they're a business. Some of the stuff you write doesn't necessary go down that well, and they'd rather it not go out into the public domain, you can't help that but that's the fine line you tread. Yes, there have been plenty of things. You know, you'll sit on information occasionally, till such times that you can't sit on information anymore, and there are certain weights and measures you use. But ultimately a story's a story and that's what we're in the business for, if it's in the publics interest then you've got to write it. And they're good with that, they do understand that line as well, we don't get that much flack when stories do come out that they don't necessary want to see, as long as they're written with balance and they're fair.
@dorsettrotter: have you ever been told something from club 'off the record' that if printed would have caused a scandal?
Absolutely loads. And I'll tell you every single one! When I get so poor on Bolton News wages that I have to publish my memoirs, every single detail will be out, don't you worry. Every single detail that I've ever been told, every morsel of information will be out there in a best selling autobiography. You do, of course you do, and you've got to use your judgement, because the thing is, you gotta turn up everyday, or a couple of times a week, whenever you see them, and you've got to look at these people in the eye and when you earn trust you've got to start thinking, is it responsible of me to put this sort of information into the public domain, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. And the times that isn't, I don't think I've ever lost a nights sleep on a story I've sat on and not put out there, so there might not be too many juicy things in the memoirs, but it might be a pension fund yet.
@BKDismyhero: If Mills goes, who do you think should be captain next season?
Tim Ream leads by example, but it depends on what type of captain that Neil's looking for. I think Tim Ream, you know he's going to be in the team week in, week out, which you can't say about too many players that are contracted at the minute. Eidur, leads by example, I don't think you could go too far wrong with naming him captain. I'm not a big fan of naming goalkeepers as captains, but assuming that Adam Bogdan stays at the club, again, he would be someone you'd see on the team sheet every single week. But, I think it'd be difficult to say there's an outstanding candidate out of anybody at the club at the minute.
Could you see the merit in giving the captaincy to Josh Vela?
I don't think Josh is necessarily the personality you'd want as a captain, he's quite reserved, he's quite quiet. He's a bulldog on the pitch don't get me wrong, but I don't necessarily think he's captain material and I think's he got a bit of growing up to do before he would take that on. He isn't quite as outward as you'd probably want from somebody in that kind of role. Tim Ream's a little bit introverted as well, but I think he's got that kind of gravitas and experience that would see him through in that role.
Do you think Mills has got a problem with the academy players? There seems to be occasions where he's either taking time not pass to somebody, seemingly deliberately or, in a game against Charlton, he bawled out Tom Walker like you wouldn't believe. Do you think we're reading too much into it?
Yeah, I think so. He's quite an emotion fella Matt, he cares a lot about what's going on, possibly a bit too much. Maybe he transfers that onto the younger players, I haven't really picked up on that myself. I know for a fact with people like Zach Clough, he's been a big help, put his arm round his shoulder at times and he's been good with the younger players. So I don't subscribe to that view myself.
@Bartims: Despite being 1 of richest families in UK & being Directors for years the Warburtons won't invest..Why is that?
I think they have invested. There's been quite a well publicised amount of money that they put in quite recently. That was about Christmas time, I won't go into details, because I think that's something that the Warburton family should talk about, not me, but it certainly wasn't for the reason that many people have speculated. They've put in some money, and I'd venture to suggest that's not the only time they've ever done that. To each their own, isn't it? I can't sit here and criticise people for not putting in their own money, especially when they have put in quite a lot for the football club down the years. But fingers crossed, somebody will step forward and put some more money in too.
@BenMoore_070797: What do you think of Liam Feeney?
Well, he had a purple patch about Christmas time, where Neil Lennon was extolling his virtues on a weekly basis. I think he ran out of steam very quickly this season, I think his final ball has always been iffy, to use a nice word, but he's a trier, he's got pace, if he could find that consistency in his delivery he'd be okay, and that's something to aim at. I think he struggled in the last three months because he just played too many games, be burnt himself out too quickly and he really has struggled. I don't think he's ever had a particularly settled position in the team, I don't think that the way that Neil plays doesn't really use out-and-out wingers, so Feeney's had to be coming inside or playing off a front man, which I don't think suits him. He's got a lot of improving to do if he's going to be a regular player under Lennon.
@rupe_greenhalgh: Have we got the right back 3 defenders/players for a 3-5-2 formation?
No. Not at all. I don't think there's enough pace back there. There's only Tim Ream back there with the pace that's required, I don't think there's another two defenders that go with him in that system. I think Matt Mills is much happier in a four, Dorian Dervite is definitely much happier in a four. The only reason really that Lennon wanted to play the 3-5-2 is that he could play two upfront, which gave him an excuse to use both Heskey and Le Fondre, and also he's able to push Josh Vela into midfield. I don't think, unless he signs players that are capable of playing that system next season, you'll see too much more of that.
With that formation in mind, were we a bit hasty in getting rid of Joe Riley?
Maybe, I really rated Joe, and he knows it. He's done a terrific job at Bury, by the way, he's playing really well there. He was more of an out-and-out right back, I know he's played a little bit further forward when he was on loan at Oxford, but I don't think he was a wing, but the way that things have panned out I think he would have got games. No doubt about it. I think Oscar Threlkeld is better as a centre half, I think he's going to be a better centre half once he matures a little bit more, so they really are short on the right side.
@luke_bwfc: What do you know about the Irish takeover? What are Eddie's families intentions? Does he know if they intend on wiping the debt if anything was to happen to him?
Bloody hell, that's a big question ain't it? The takeover is as such: the person meant to be doing the takeover is saying nothing, the club are denying it, and yet Neil Lennon is saying that talks are continuing. So, it's about as transparent as mud at the moment. I think, reading really in-between the lines, it's obviously a very detailed business manner so nobody is going to be shouting from the roof tops. I remember last year when the Thai investors hit the headlines before they'd ever really spoken to Bolton, and I know how surprised Bolton were when that happened. So, I'd like to think if this is happening, that everybody's just being that bit more professional. So with that in mind, yeah, that's where that one is really. I saw an article in one of the Belfast papers today carrying it on a little bit further, saying that perhaps he is very interested, Gerry Carlisle, the person who is supposed to be spear heading this consortium. I hope that's the case, because they really do need investment.
We've asked to speak to Eddie how many of thousands of times - not interested. So it's all a bit of ifs, buts and maybes. I've been reliably assured that there is no sort of, snap your fingers and all the debt can be called back in. There's this ten year notice clause, but if whether or not Eddie Davies could wipe out a debt that size, is a complete unknown to me. And I don't think we're ever going to know until somebody passes me a press release and says it's happened, because he hasn't shown any willingness to speak and doesn't want to speak in public. We'll continue to ask the question, but it hasn't happened.
@Sharpy1991: What are your thoughts on Clough and Vela? Should we build the team around those two in your opinion?
Definitely yeah, definitely. They're the first two names on the team sheet for next season, along with Tim Ream as well. I think Zach's got a tremendous future, I'm amazed that he didn't get his chance sooner, I know I'm not alone on that. He's got this terrific energy about him, he reads the game so well, he look so mature. And Josh is like a proper Salford lion out there, isn't he? I think if he can stay fit, which is such a big thing with Josh because he's had so many groin pains. But if he can stay fit, the world's his oyster, I think he can be a Premier League midfielder in the next couple of years. I just hope Bolton can take him where he wants to be.
@sitpura7: Will Lennon stay a full season/leave if it's not going great for us and a Prem job becomes available?
Well, if a Premier League job became available I would say don't underestimate how ambitious he is to manage in the Premier League. My advice is to enjoy Neil Lennon whilst he's here, full stop. I don't think it's worth reacting with fear to every single managerial post that becomes available in the Premier League. That's not going to any good to anybody. He obviously wants to mange in the Premier League, but he definitely wants to get this job done right at Bolton, I know for a fact he's really settled in the town, he's very impressed with what he's seen so far, so just let him get on with the job. I don't think it's worth mulling on, just let him get on with the job and back him to the hilt.
@andyhat99: Which IN-contract players do you think can/will be moved on? Trotter/Feeney/Moxey/Eaves/Medo etc
I think Medo will go, I think there is a deal in place if the Israeli club he's at at the minute decide they do want him. I think Jay Spearing is a very, very probable, considering the money he's on and the money they can probably get back for him and his credentials, there probably will be a few clubs in for him, I would expect to see him go. Aside from that, Rob Hall? I don't he necessary left on the best terms, he didn't have a great game, was it Ipswich? He never seemed to fit in with what Neil Lennon wanted, he's obviously got a couple more years, perhaps they look at that. I'm only speculating really. But other than that it's so difficult, it's very easy saying "X, Y and Z don't fit in my plans" but it's so difficult to move them on in the Championship. Dougie found that, it took him two years to move on the majority of players he inherited and didn't like, and by the time he did it was too late. I think Neil is more ruthless in that respect, and I think he would get rid of a few players faster than what has happened in the past. I think it'll be a very interesting summer, I think if he really had to create some funds then he would move on a few who are under contract.
@1985Jimbo: Worst player ever seen in a Bolton shirt? My suggestion is probably Djibril Diawara. Your favourite too?
Best player Gary Cahill. I think he was just class, absolute class. From the minute I first clapped eyes on him I knew he was going to be a very good player. Grew and grew and grew and he's now just gone and won the Premier League title, which says everything. He was class off the pitch as well, fantastic bloke. Worst player, Gerald Cid takes some beating. Christian Wilhelmsson was a huge disappointment. There's a couple of loan players, I mean Owen Garvan, I'm sure he's played alright for Palace, but his performances at Bolton this season were tragic. There's been a few just blink and you'll miss them type things. There were a lot during Sam's reign, when you look down at the number of players he brought in on trial basis and you only saw them once or twice, it wasn't all Youri Djoueff and Stelios and Ivan Campos.