Owen Coyle has probably no idea the trouble caused in his name at Celtic. Notions that his granny’s uncle’s cousin passed on verifiable information that either Owen rejected the Celtic job, or that he did so because he didn’t agree with the direction the club were going, were clearly nonsense at the time and are more evidently the case now.
Having just earned promotion to the English Premier League the man chose not to be interviewed for the Celtic position, a perfectly defendable decision. He was never offered a job. Coyle performed well at St Johnstone (without winning promotion) and did well at Burnley before managing an inevitable decline at Bolton. He remains a good manager who I hope gets back into the game soon.
The Bolton lesson to football is stark. On some levels the club was well run. Good manager, good scouts, a small but faithful following, a chairman who could see the iceberg ahead, all signed up to the ambition to remain in top flight football, but their budget was forever under pressure. Debts topped £100m, although the directors ensured public services didn’t suffer as a result of their ‘ambition’.
Three years ago Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman, knew the model in the English game was unsustainable and tried to change things. He failed, unfortunately, and was unable to produce a reverse alchemy – turning tens of millions of pounds from Sky TV each year into a 17th place finish in the Premier League. I hope the change works for them.[calameo code=000390171e0be5eb5e6ce lang=en page=2 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]