Bolton Wanderers’ Long March Back

It has become something of a cliché in recent years to suggest that the Football League Championship is rather more difficult to fall into than it is to get out of in an upwardly direction. There is a swathe of clubs in this division who have found this out to their cost, and amongst those currently experiencing this is a club that spent thirteen of its previous seasons living the high life in the Premier League: Bolton Wanderers. It seems reasonable to say that Boltons relegation at the end of last season was something of a surprise. Bolton had stabilised in the top division, with only occasional flirtations with the Premier League trapdoor and four consecutive top ten finishes between 2004 and 2007. Last season, however, the wheels fell unexpectedly off the wagon and Bolton dropped back into the often unexpectedly tricky world of the Football League Championship. Whenever this happens, it is widely anticipated that the manager behind this drop will find himself without a job, but Owen Coyle found himself clinging on at The Reebok Stadium. Such faith, however, comes at a price, and the price for Coyle was the implicit understanding that the club would be required to have a strong start to life in back in the Football League. It is fair to say that this didn’t happen. That his team dropped out of the...

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