Spyin' Kop: Bolton at home

Posted by blurred on April 7, 2006, 12:17:13 PM

Soaring teenage pregnancy, over-zealous traffic wardens and assisting in the execution of King Charles are just some of the things that make Bolton stand out, at least, that is, according to the members of ‘The Wanderer’, a Bolton fansite. But the cyber-denizens of TW are hoping that a return to the UEFA Cup next season will really help put Bolton on the map as this Sunday sees the Whites make the short trip along the M62 to play the mighty Reds with both sides’ eyes on the European prize.

Liverpool v. Bolton Wanderers
Anfield, 9th April 2006
Kick Off 2pm
Live on Sky Sports 1

While Bolton have faltered in recent weeks with away defeats to Middlesbrough and Birmingham City sandwiching a home loss against Manchester United, Liverpool have been calmly going about their business having won their last five since the 2-1 reverse at Highbury in mid-March, scoring a fair few goals in the process. Another two wins for the Reds will surely see them cement their place in next season’s Champions League qualifiers, whereas Bolton are scrapping it out to get themselves another year gallivanting around some of the smaller grounds on the continent. Needless to say, there’s a lot at stake for both sides going in to Sunday’s clash at Anfield.





Bolton Wanderers - Major Honours:

FA Cup Winners:
1923, 1926, 1929, 1958

Runner up: 1894, 1904, 1953

Division One Champions: 1997

Division Two Champions: 1909, 1978

Division Three Champions: 1973

Division One Play-off winners: 1995, 2001

League Cup Runner up: 1995, 2004




History and Form Guide:

The last time the two sides met, they fought out a keenly contested 2-2 draw at the Reebok in the opening game of 2006. Liverpool were, as they are now, on a decent run of form at the time, and Bolton shall be looking to repeat the feat of breaking our good spell and take at least a point back to the Breezeblock. A few talking points came out of that encounter, including a rash challenge from Sissoko on Diouf and allegations of Steven Gerrard stamping on Kevin Nolan, but I’m sure all has been forgotten now ;) Last time round at Anfield it was a late Igor Biscan header that settled the tie, but sadly our cult hero has moved on to pastures new.

Bolton’s last six games:

WLWLLL

It doesn’t make great reading for Wanderers fans to see their side faltering at the crucial stage of the season. The first in that run of six was a fanastic demolition of a weakened West Ham side, who, unfortunately for the Whites, had their revenge four days later by nicking the FA Cup tie in extra time. The compulsory defeat of Premiership whipping boys Sunderland followed, but the Whites haven’t won since that tie on the 18th March, and their designs on Champions League football appear to be all but gone.

A tough run-in of fixtures for Bolton sees them playing Liverpool and Tottenham away, and also Chelsea at home in their final seven games. If Bolton are to repeat the feat of European qualification, they must surely be looking to take at least a point from Anfield, and Big Sam will have his side motivated for this crucial clash.



The voice of the fans

Once again Spyin’ Kop has found itself plodding around cyberspace across to The Wanderer in search of some Boltonian views (along with the help of one or two RAWKites ;)) Many thanks to all those involved who answered our questions :)

How’s it been going since the last two sides met back in January? Has 2006 turned out ok for the whites?

Plodder: Steady is the word. Nothing spectacular but steady.

Warthog: Disappointing. Knocked out of two cup competitions by teams who were not as good as us. Not many defeats in the league but far too many draws.

Elli: Very well indeed – 7th in the league with 2 games in hand, through the UEFA group stage and knocked out by l’OM… Not bad. I was very worried about a bottom-half finish, heavy defeats in Europe and an exhausted squad full of injuries, but it looks like my fears were unfounded.

Soldier of the White Army: I would say it has been indifferent. We started 2006 really well, being the only unbeaten team. Yet we were drawing games we should have won, and our away form seems to be suffering as of late.

Gertie: Going out of the 2 cups was disappointing especially as the teams weren't that special and we could have won. Not winning away is frustrating as well… But our tremendous home form is fabbie news, especially as it's aided by me not walking over 3 grids on the way to the ground...

And how has the season as a whole gone compared to your expectations in August?

Communistworkethic: About what I expected, we'll probably finish 6th, same as last year. More UEFA Cup shenanigans next season! Stock up on beer Europe!

Dujon: My own expectations in August were low. I've followed this team for so long that I'm somewhat pessimistic when it comes to looking into my well worn crystal ball. Reality to date has been a little better but, to be honest, we've won a couple we should have lost and drawn a few more than I'd like. Yes, we've also lost one or two we really should have won. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

Durham Wanderer: I expected our thinnish squad to only really get mid table and didnt think we would get so far in Europe, so shouldnt really complain!

mummywhycantieatcrayons: I expected that we would finish in the top ten, and hoped that we would be in the mix-up for Europe at the end of the season, so it's gone pretty well. I fear that we lack the stomach for the step up to a Champions' League spot, but a win against you lot would go a long way to persuading me we have what it takes this time round.

Gravedigger: Europe was an exciting venture which I didn't really expect to survive for as long as we did. Good progress up the table whereas I was a little apprehensive about the amount of games we would be playing.

Given that we’re now coming to the end of the year, who’s been your player of the season for Bolton, and who’s impressed you from any other clubs?

Gravedigger: Got to be Davies for us. Other teams? Harewood, West Ham and Fabregas, Arsenal. Crouch gave a few surprises to the more pessimistic among us.

Bruce Rioja: Most improved player would have to be Ricky Gardner who's blossomed beyond explanation. However, player of the season for me just has to be Kevin Davies. I love listening to knobbers like O'Dreary come out with guff like "Davies bullied our Centre Backs". First off, not something I'd quite so readily admit to if I was him, but secondly to realise that there are still managers that have no idea as to what Davies' game comprises. We'll start with the fact that he's also our best defender! The longer that people think we just hoof it up to him the better. Let's hope that you lot do on Sunday. ;) As regards players from other clubs then for me it would have to be Edgar Davids. I can't remember ever seeing a player for the opposition that's made me draw breath quite like this fella did when we played Spuds at home.

mummywhycantieatcrayons: For us, it has to be Ricardo Gardner. He has been an unbelievable asset at leftback, combining his skills as a pacy winger with a defensive prowess that even Alan Hansen has been eulogising over. That's Alan Hansen who is the best pundit on TV by the way.

For other clubs, well, nobody stands out immediately, but I have been impressed by the way Beattie has found some form, and I have to say that, considering he and Morientes cost you and Everton a similar amount of money, I think Everton have by far the more effective Premiership striker. I have also liked what I have seen of Reo-Coker - strong, fast, decent shot, and can find a pass too. Definitely one for the future.

Athers: Obviously Nolan has been getting all the headlines this season with his goals from midfield, but Stelios has scored just as many and Gardner has been in the best form of his career for the last few months. I suspect Nolan will win the award though.

Ignoring the obvious big names that will pick up the awards I’ve been impressed with
players like Camara & Roberts at Wigan, Bellamy and N’Zogbia. I think they’ve all
made their teams much better both results wise and on the eye in Blackburn’s case.

What’s been your best performance of the season?

Warthog: Arsenal at home 2-0. History is already being rewritten to say that Bolton out muscled/bullied them. The truth is that we outplayed them in every department, including the ones in which you would expect Arsenal to excel

Hisroyalgingerness: We totally outplayed West Ham in the 4-1 and the two Arsenal wins were amazing as well.

Plodder: Arses at home - played off the park both times.

Communistworkethic: Spanking Arsenal. Wenger is such a cock.

And the worst?

Bruce Rioja: Fulham away - Absolutely shocking!

H Pedersen: Maybe this is only because it's so fresh in my memory but I don't see it getting much worse than Boro. Letting in four always hurts, but when the team is as bad as Boro there's no excuse. We can't even take consolation from the three we scored since the first two were so soft.

Warthog: Newcastle away. Lost 3-1. No attacking ideas and shambolic defending. Embarrassing.

Winter Hill White: Fairly abject at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve. And we seemed to have developed a nasty habit of saving our worst for the Pie Eaters games.

What’s been your abiding memory of the season?

Bruce Rioja: Plovdiv away to fulfil the lifelong ambition of going to our first ever European away game regardless of who it was against, but overall the trip to Marseille, and to be sat in a heaving French bar, looking at the visitors' scarves hung up; Real Madrid, Juve, AC, Barca (you lot) and so on, then thinking back to being two deep at the bars of pubs in Doncaster, Darlington, Scunny, Lincoln and the likes. Stirring stuff.

Winter Hill White: Scoring at Marseille to take the lead in the tie was one of my best moments as a Wanderers fan. All the more enjoyable as it resulted from a Barthez cock-up. But this being Bolton, my joy was only allowed to last about 20 minutes.

Athers: Conceding a last minute equaliser at Highbury after not winning in the league there for 40+ years. I felt gutted for the old bloke behind me who told me he’d been coming since then without a win in the league.

Elli: Lipreading Fabien Barthez shouting “PUTAIN” as the ball hit the net after his mistake that put us ahead in the second leg against OM. Very satisfying. Before that, it would have to be going to Bolton’s first ever UEFA match, at the Reebok all that time ago at the start of the season.

H Pedersen: I think Diouf's goal against Plovdiv was the goal of the season, and of course Borgetti's goal in the same game still gives me the shivers. But my fondest memory would have to be celebrating Diouf's goal against Liverpool with Athers at the Reebok. It was the first Bolton game I have attended, and you have no idea how much it meant to be able to sing the Diouf version of Way to Amarillo after he scored on his old team. Unforgettable.

Letting myself into a bit of trouble here I reckon, but what do you think of Liverpool under Benitez?

TangoDancer: Very hard to say we particularly like any opposition sides or their managers as, if they are outside our boundaries they are enemy. Liverpool's manager has done okay for the Reds but gained little admiration south of Kirby or north of Ainsdale. Steve Gerard has lost credibility as a leader by his foolish moments of insanity and Pongostick has reward notices out for him in every Bolton chip shop. Jamie Caragher voodoo dolls are on sale in the club shop and are selling like hot cakes.

We are effectively looking to Liverpool to beat any of the chasing pack of top six candidates and in return we'll do our best against the Mancs, continue to despise Phil Neville and prefer red to blue if they were the last two colours on earth.

Gravedigger: Bit of a Wengerist who moans when losing. He's become more cheerful over the last couple of months but not the kind of guy I'd buy a second hand motor from.

SOTWA: A much more balance side, Benitez has taken a leaf out of Sam's book and consentrated on keeping clean sheets before scoring goals. Benitez needs to find a world class finisher though if you are ever to seriously contend with Man Utd and Chelsea.

Dujon: I can't comment on Liverpool - except to say that after a somewhat shaky start they have come on a treat (even with their European commitments).

Winter Hill White: "We need a new striker" is a load of codswallop. You've got loads of strikers - it's just that they're ineffective. Concentrate on getting your existing players to play better rather than splashing the cash. Thought the Benitez post-match interview along the lines of "I cannot stay to talk - I must get to the hospital" was very amusing.

Communistworkethic: Boring. People slag us off but man alive, what I've seen of you this season has not made the pulse race.

Diving (or simulation), refereeing inconsistency, Gary Neville… We’ve all got things that we’d like to see abolished from the game, but what really annoys or irritates you most about the current game?

Dujon: Pet hates about the modern game: Stupid, stupid celebrations after a goal is scored. By all means allow the provider (if there is one) and scorer to shake hands but the continual exhibitionist claptrap that is the norm these days gets my goat. Nah, more than that, it pisses me off.

Elli: Fighting amongst fans. Diving and poor refereeing and Robbie Savage and whinging managers and frankly ridiculous kick off times and stupidly expensive match tickets and people who arrive late, leave early, bring small crying children to the match AND ask stupid questions all the way through (I have known one couple to tick all 4 on that list) are all irritating, to a greater or lesser degree. But the one thing that winds me up enough to want to climb on a bar and shout about it is the people who fight for no reason besides the football team they support.

Plodder: Alan Green, poncy hairstyles...KEWELL! and Drogba. We could do without all of those.

Gertie: I know that no-one else will agree with me here... But why book a player for taking his shirt off when he scores?? Where's the harm in it and why can't we have more of it? Bare-chested men that is.... Come on it's not a crime.... Meanwhile some disgraceful tackles get overlooked *Sissoko* there's no logic to me....

Warthog: Cynicism. Over the top tackles, two footed challenges, climbing on top of players, holding players, deliberately elbowing an opponent in the face whilst making sure that you are looking the other way.

The cowardice of the FA when failing to deal with the above.

The lazy and incompetent media who rely on stereotypes rather than accurately reporting the facts. The idea that playing a long ball is inherently a bad thing, for example. The even more ludicrous assumption that West Ham play attractive football. The utter stupidity of the average footy fan in believing this garbage.

SOTWA: The Offside rule. For the love of God, will someone just make a rule and stick to it!!!

Communistworkethic: Robbie Savage - my little pony-haired, capped toothed, welsh c*nt. He's what irritates me most. Public execution would make the world a better place.

Would you support the use of technology in top-flight football? To what extent?

mummywhycantieatcrayons: I think it's senseless not to have goal-line technology in place, but I'm much less sure about any other disruptions to the play. Most of the referees already slow the game down far too much with their over-officious style, so breaking it up even further is the last thing we need.

Where the technology should certainly be used more is in retrospectively punishing 'simulation'. As it is, while players can gain an advantage by cheating, I fully endorse Stelios throwing himself full length if it is good for the Bolton cause. But what I would actually prefer is for diving to be ruthlessly and consistently stamped out across the board.

Gravedigger: No. We have a ref and a couple of linesmen. That should be enough. You bring in technology and the computer behind it crashes, would that mean the ref has to abandon the game? Dodgy area.

Batman: No not at all. the game has lasted 100-odd years like this, it should continue. Human error is what makes the game interesting.

Plodder: Yes, goal line beams to say when the ball has crossed the line. Would take no longer than the linesman "buzzing" the ref.

Communistworkethic: Yes - robots, cyborg players. That'd shit a few up at contract talks - "You want £50k a week?, Sorry we're letting you go, we're replacing you with Data from Star Trek the Next Generation, he only wants 2 HP11 batteries and a pint of oil."

Failing that, goal-line sensors and pro-zone-esque off-side monitoring.

Notwithstanding the fact that Anfield won’t supply fat men with flags on the touchline, fireworks and big screens, what’re the locals likely to make of your away support?

Warthog: As the match is on the TV, the away following will probably be quite small. I expect this to be mocked.

Batman: Not much, but then we have never been bothered about the opinions of the Irish.

H Pedersen: They will likely say "Curse those handsome devils!"

Would it be fair to say that there’s an air of the ‘grudge match’ between the two sides, now, not least because of some incidents in the last match at the Reebok? How do you view the clash with the Reds?

Communistworkethic: Easy 3 points ;)

H Pedersen: I will be honest, and don't take it personally. As a supporter of a team with a very low wage bill, a team that has carved out a place in Europe with little in the way of transfer funds, I dislike Liverpool. They can waste 9 million pounds on a flop like Morientes when we could build the entire team for that. I also do not believe they should have been in the CL this year, and I'm disgusted by their antics as a part of the G-14. In that sense, I do think it's a grudge match.

Elli: No, I wouldn’t say so. I’m sure there will be some journos looking to inject a bit of drama who might go down that route, but I can’t see the players having that attitude and Bolton-Liverpool has never really had a grudge atmosphere about it.

Plodder: No, tis a game.

SOTWA: I believe we will be up and ready for our next three matches against the big boys, having lost points last week. We seem to play better when we are up against it, so I think Benitez will be more wary of us then Sam will be of Liverpool.

Gravedigger: Lets hope the previous protagonists won't cynically foul, dive or surround the ref. Course it's a grudge match. They all are.

Will you be coming to Anfield? Have you any memories of games here? (Bonus prizes will be awarded for not mentioning a certain game ;) )

Communistworkethic: Hopefully! I went to Italy v Russia there in Euro 96 - I won £52 betting on a 2-1 win to Italy. The Italians I was sat with didn't appreciate me celebrating the Russian goal, I thought I was going to end up with a horses head in my bed.

Gertie: I won't be coming.... I've no spending money left for football... :( The time I remember at Anfield is sitting in the away end during the Carling Cup game when Youri scored a penalty and not being able to celebrate.

Incidently I went to Anfield when there wasn't a match, my Scouse friends got married there in 2002 in the European suite. They split up in February, ooh.

TangoDancer: I won't be going to Anfield as, after working twenty years in Bootle I've had enough red and blue Scouser talk to last a lifetime and twelve quid is a rip-off for entry into the Beatle museum. I just prefer the Kopites, as a barber who was an Evertonion once gave me a bad haircut and I don't eat toffee and dislike Alan Stubbs intensely. Oh, and I went to Wembley in 65 to see you beat Leeds, what more do you want? I even remember a sign outside a Bootle church at the time saying "What shall we do when the Lord comes?" Underneath in red paint the reply was "Move St John to inside right" :)

Batman: Yes I will be there. I recall a certain FA Cup game about ten years back (shove your bonus prize up your arse!! ;D)

Any predictions for the game?

TangoDancer: All said, our next encounter should be the usual mix of friendly banter mixed with suicidal malice. We promise not to dive if you won't and your ex-favourite son, Mr Diouf sends his regards and a kiss. Let's just hope the ref isn't Mike Riley.

Athers: I’ll go for a 1-1 draw, Diouf to score at the Kop end and get things thrown at him as he does his “cupped ear” celebration. Crouch to equalise second half.

Plodder: Hard game to get a result. 1-1

Warthog: Nope. I think we could nick it, but our defensive lapses in concentration tend to cost us. Liverpool are erratic too.

Elli: A tough battle with a late goal, 2-1 Bolton. Bearing in mind how bad I am at predicting scores, that should be a safe 3 points for you

Gravedigger: About 2-1 to us should be attainable. Three yellows for us and four for Liverpool with a possible sending off. If the cloud base is low we should be able to contain Crouch.

Winter Hill White: Diouf will wind up the home fans. By scoring. The winner. Late on.

Any favourite Bolton stat/piece of trivia?

Hisroyalgingerness: Bolton have won more domestic trophies than "big club" West Ham, and we have more players from our youth team in our squad than them.

Gravedigger: King Charles was held in Bolton for a while, prior to his beheading.

Communistworkethic: We've been unbeaten at home throughout the season twice in our history.

Durham Wanderer: Bolton was teenage pregnancy capital of Europe 2002/03

Warthog: We have the only ground with different tunnels for the home and away team. This prevents our players from kicking the likes of Robbie Savage before games. Not good.

SOTWA: We have no less then four international Captains (past and present) in our team.

Bruce Rioja: Yes, if we don't qualify for the UEFA cup this year, we're going to see if they'll let us back in anyway ;)

Athers: Of 21 away games this season we have failed to score only 3 times. This is a stat that has applied for the last couple of seasons, we generally tend to get one goal regardless of result.



Once again thanks to all those who responded in making this a decent showing from the Bolton fans – best of luck for the rest of the season (after Sunday) and I’ll be seeing you at The Wanderer in the days after the game to dissect its finer points, I’m sure.

Cheers guys and girls :wave :)

© blurred 2006

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