If ever a match summed up Bolton Wanderers, it was that trip to Barnsley. Hitting rock bottom one minute, on the crest of a wave the next, then wondering what might have been at the final whistle. Emotional rollercoaster seems a little tame, chaotic torture seems more apt.
One thing is for sure, Parky certainly divides opinion on the terraces. The term ‘hoofball’ has become synonymous with our tactics this year, and let’s be honest, we were shite in the first half with aimless long balls doing us no favours. As my headmaster used to say, ‘There’s a time and a place for that laddy and this is neither’
It’s the same old problem we’ve had this season - our decision making, our assessing of how the game is going and then adapting to it has been poor. The message is simple boys; if it’s not broke don’t fix it, if it is broke, fix it pronto. The players (as well as the manager) need to take the responsibility for that, they shouldn’t need hand holding for 90 minutes and it shouldn’t take until half time to make the change.
Ultimately, it’s the manager who takes responsibility on how he sets up the team. Sometimes, maybe we need to accept that Parky just doesn’t have the answers. There is no shame in admitting that, but you know what, he doesn’t need them all either, he just needs enough of them to get some points on the board.
I’m sure he will be the first to admit he has made mistakes this season and in hindsight would change a lot. He’s not infallible and he’s not got the management prowess (or Catalonian chic) of Pep, but he can only work with what he’s got. We also have to accept that other teams have spent a shitload of cash and invested in better quality players. At this point in time financially we’ve got the pot to piss in, but it’s bone dry.
Importantly, I still see committed players, and I’m sure Parky is aware of the constant barrage of abuse he is receiving from some fans, but negativity killed the cat (or something like that) and sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. Whatever your opinion is on the manager, we are where we are, we still have a good chance of staying up and we have to give it everything.
Bottom line is he’s our manager, one of us, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s clear to see that PP has certainly changed his tune over the last few weeks. His interviews have become more candid, he’s trying every tactic to get us out of the poor form. Saying the players need to take responsibility, saying the spirit is back, telling big Ken his words weren’t helping - rather than the usual football patter that we have become immune to. He's actually saying it like it is. I do think he has given his all, he has put his heart and soul into it, done his homework every night on the opposition and worked his bollocks off in some tough times and against tough opposition.
As a fan I will always back anyone who gives 100% commitment and has passion for our football club and I don’t think anyone can say Parky hasn’t given it his all. If that’s enough only time will tell, but we need everyone to take on the pressure and responsibility to lift us above that dotted line.
Now’s not the time to play the blame game, now’s the time to get behind the boys for the last minutes of our season. So let’s take the strain together as there’s plenty of time to reflect in the summer
A win, a loss and a draw (in any order) will see us ‘reet.