Former Bolton Wanderers Captain Alan Stubbs has insisted speculation of a return to the club as manager wont distract him from his goals to lead Hibernian back to the Scottish Premier League and to Scottish Cup glory.
As published in the Daily Record on Sunday, Stubbs is supposedly a leading candidate to replace the already departed Neil Lennon. When asked about the speculation, Stubbs stated:
‘I played at Bolton for over seven years and it’s a good club, But I’ve had speculation already this season. It’s just the crazy world we live in. I can’t stop it. It’s the same speculation that said I was under pressure a couple of weeks ago.
‘But that’s football. It would take more than that to distract me, when we’ve still got the opportunity to achieve what we’ve wanted to achieve all season. Even if I was being linked with a Premier League job, it wouldn’t distract me whatsoever.'
Stubbs has also recently been linked with Celtic and Blackburn Rovers.
Alan Stubbs, who scored 15 goals in 256 appearances for Bolton from 1990 to 1996, was part of Bruce Rioch's 'White Hot' Wanderers, the team that gained promotion from the Second Divison to the Premier League, whilst also achieving fantastic victories in the FA Cup against teams like Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton.
Stubbs also captained Bolton in the 1995 League Cup Final against Liverpool and the Play-Off final the same year, when Bolton came from 2-0 down to beat Reading FC 4-3 to secure promotion to the Premier League. Stubbs was even voted the 24th Greatest Bolton Wanderers Player in 2005.
Despite all this, some fans (and rightly so) are still resentful towards Stubbs for the way he acted during his last season with the club. After promotion to the Premier League in 1995, Wanderers manager Bruce Rioch left to take the reigns at Arsenal and Jason McAteer joined Liverpool for a fee of £4.5 million. At the same time, potential moves to Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers fell though for Stubbs. Stubbs made no secret of his desire to leave the club, which obviously angered the Bolton supporters. After staying at the club until the end of the 1995/1996 season, Stubbs eventually moved North of the border, to join Celtic for £4 million.
Stubbs was also branded a hypocrite last Summer for how he handled the Scott Allan transfer saga. He stated:
''I can appreciate where he is but the circumstances were different. How? Because I wasn’t going to our nearest rivals.
I stayed until the end of the season. I knuckled down and I later went for £4m. That’s how it's different. I’m certainly dealing with Scotty better than I was dealt with! I can tell you that''
Personally, I don't hold any sort of grudge towards Stubbs (I was only a year old when he left). Saying that though, it's not the way the captain of a team should act.
In regards to his managerial experience, Stubbs has been manager of Hibernian for almost two years. After finishing second in the Scottish Championship in his first year, Hibs entered the Premiership play-offs at the semi-final stage, but lost 2-1 on aggregate to Rangers. Stubbs also guided Hibernian to a semi-final place in the 2015 Scottish Cup, where they lost 1–0 to Falkirk.
This season Hibs finished third, and are currently drawing 2-2 with Falkirk in the Play-Off semi-final heading into the second leg. Stubbs also guided Hibs to the 2016 Scottish League Cup, where they lost 2-1 to Ross County. Hibs have also reached the final of the 2016 Scottish Cup, where they will face Rangers on the 30th May.
Stubbs has been in charge of Hibs for 97 games, winning 58 of them (a win percentage of just under 60%).
It's certainly an impressive win rate, but Hibernian really are a bigger fish in a weak league. Bolton really do preferably need a manger with a vast amount of experience in League One.
Would Bolton fans have Alan Stubbs as manager? It's going to be interesting what kind of reaction Stubbs receives when he plays in the Tony Kelly vs John McGinlay game on Saturday.
As well as Stubbs, the Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday afternoon that Peter Reid has reportedly held talks with Dean Holdsworth about the managers job. Reid, who assisted Jimmy Phillips in managing the final nine games of the season, has expressed an interest in taking over as manager.
There's no doubting Reid is experienced, but he hasn't been in charge of an English club since leaving Plymouth Argyle in 2011. He's certainly the cheaper option available to Deano and Ken.
So, can Alan Stubbs adjust to managing in League One? Or does he not have enough experience?