Early Doors

Re-Coyle in horror

Early Doors

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Much as Early Doors is amused to see a Premier League tug-of-war in which Bolton are described as the big club, it simply cannot understand why Owen Coyle would walk out on Burnley to take the manager's job at the Reebok.

Last summer, Coyle said he did not want the Celtic job, and what has happened since then? His side have made a decent fist of life in the Premier League and stand every chance of staying up.

ED is no fan of Scottish football, but it recognises that by virtually any measure, Celtic are a much bigger club than Bolton.

So what has changed that would make Coyle reject the Bhoys then jump into bed with the Trotters? It doesn't make sense.

Former striker Coyle is described as a Bolton legend, but a quick look at the history books reveals he was hardly Nat Lofthouse. In fact, he was only just fit to lace John McGinley's boots.

He spent a shade over two years at Burnden Park - almost exactly as long as he has now been at Burnley - during which time he scored 23 goals in 78 games.

Much as he no doubt enjoyed his time there, it hardly represents an indelible bond between player and club.

And in any case, if he really wants the Bolton job, it's not like he'll have to wait forever for it to become available

When Sam Allardyce left the Reebok, it was said he had taken the club as far as he could. This was correct. Unfortunately, he had taken them as far as anybody could.

The heady days of top-half finishes and UEFA Cup qualification are absolutely the best Bolton can achieve, barring some massive overseas investment.

Bolton apparently have greater potential than Burnley, but ED doesn't buy it. They have already reached their ceiling.

So for Coyle the choice is clear. Stay at Burnley and cement his reputation as the club's best manager for 40 years.

Or go to Bolton and strive (probably unsuccessfully) to match the achievements of a relatively recent predecessor.

If Burnley beat the drop with Coyle in charge, he will be entitled to hero status along with a Phil Brown style end-of-season sing-a-long.

If Bolton stay up? Nothing but a brief sense of relief followed by the grim realisation that next season will be even harder - that's what happened to Gary Megson.

Is that really what Coyle wants? Of course Bolton have a modern stadium, a bigger transfer kitty and - of course - will pay him more. But why abandon the giddy thrill of overachievement for a joyless slog for 17th place?

Football managers don't get many chances to orchestrate something truly special. Why would he walk out on one such opportunity?

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Geoff Boycott. Michael Owen. Feng Shui. No, really. Here's Boycs: "Michael is struggling with his scoring and obviously wants to get back in the England team for the World Cup finals in South Africa. So I wrote to him a while back urging him to give it a go. If he is not interested, fine, I've not a problem with that. I am only trying to help and if it helps him find his scoring boots again, then great. Everyone has won. He hasn't replied yet. But if he does, I will put him in touch with some experts in Feng Shui and see where that takes him. People who don't know anything about it say it is rubbish. But all I can say is it worked for me and that is the only thing that mattered."

FOREIGN VIEW: Who saw this coming? Bryan Robson is already struggling as Thailiand manager - he faces two years in the international doldrums if his team fail to turn around their Asian Cup qualifying campaign.

Robson has had just two competitive games since becoming Thailand's coach in October and could be left with only minor regional tournaments and one-off friendlies if his side fail to beat Jordan in Bangkok on Wednesday.

"It is a must-win game, but the pressure's not on us any more than the other three teams," Robson said.

"It's exciting, but we really didn't want it to be this exciting. We've slipped up, but the players know how important this game is and they've been working really hard."

The match will be the biggest test so far for Robson in his first international coaching post, a job he said he was enjoying but sometimes found "a little frustrating".

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The Eurosport-Yahoo! football podcast is online here. Listen to it, if you like.

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COMING UP: Now the Carling Cup is considered more important than the FA Cup, you'll want to pay close attention to tonight's semi-final first leg: Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa.

And there is action in the Premier League - Stoke City v Fulham.

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