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Five years on

Five years on, Eddie takes a look at Wanderers' relegation from the Premier League

Stoke City v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Over the weekend, social media was awash with reminders of Manchester City's dramatic Premier League title win of 2012, as Saturday 13th May marked five years since. Accompanied by Martin Tyler's famous 'Agueroooooo', City's last gasp win against QPR is regarded as one of, if not the best Premier League moment ever.

It was glorious to see the devastated looks on the faces of the Manchester United players' faces, who had assumed the title was theirs after victory against Sunderland.

For Bolton Wanderers fans, the day is more remembered (not so fondly) as the day Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League.

It was a strange day. The trip itself to the ground is up there as one of the best I've had as a Bolton fan. However, the day will forever be tainted because of the result of the match that followed.

Manchester City's dramatic win also meant that if Wanderers had won, we would have remained a Premier League side. That was a bitter pill to swallow. Relegation was devastating, but the fact that QPR looked like they'd claimed at least a point meant Wanderers were down regardless of the result.

The train home was horrific. Some people were in shock, whilst I was adamant Wanderers would bounce straight back. 'We'll boss the Championship' I remember saying. How naive I was.

I think the fact that we were actually relegated and what it truly meant only sank in when I got home. There was my Dad, sat on the couch, large glass of whisky in his hand and a haunted look on his face. It was almost like there had been a death in the family.

The Championship was going to be a novelty in my eyes. A one year stop gap on the way back to the big time. Back then, I think I had an arrogant outlook on Bolton's standing in English football. We were 'too good to go down'. Because of the Big Sam years, I still thought Wanderers deserved to be a Premier League side.

You could have said Newcastle United deserved better because of the Keegan years, or Aston Villa because of Martin O'Neil's reign, but the fact of the matter is, no side is too good to go down.

Inconsistent performances and poor, overpaid signings were ultimately the catalysts that caused Wanderers' relegation.

Now, picture two alternative scenarios.

Number One: Tim Ream's header goes in, Wanderers stay up

Would Owen Coyle have kept his job? Most likely yes. Coyle would have then gone on to continue his transfer policy of youngsters with potential on extremely high wages, like David N'Gog. We might have had some decent results along the way, although I feel like relegation would have come the year after.

The club could then have been in even greater financial peril than we were in reality.

Number Two: Owen Coyle is sacked and replaced by Mick Mccarthy

I'm absolutely positive Big Mick would have secured promotion in a season. Back in the Premier League, I think Wanderers would replicate the likes of Sunderland, where success is staying up by the skin of your teeth. A different manager every season to keep the club up, the best Wanderers fans could hope for would be a 17th place finish and a scalp against one of the big boys.

Relegation was heartbreaking, but was it a necessary evil?

One thing relegation meant was the budget had to change. For years, Wanderers had been trying to build on rotting foundations. Relegation pushed Wanderers into making a change.

Five years on, the club finally has a positive feel after years of doom and gloom. The ghosts of Big Sam's reign have finally been exorcised.

Wanderers are finally looking up, not down.