Sammy Lee’s reign as Bolton manager is over with the Wanderers boss agreeing to leave the Reebok Stadium by mutual consent with the club. This was announced this morning by Bolton Chairman Phil Gartside.
Lee replaced the great Sam Allardyce last May, but his side have struggled this season, and are now second bottom of the Premier League after just one win and six defeats from their first nine games.
Big Sam and Little Sam on first day of the season at the Reebok, Newcastle won 3-1
Lee has also had to deal with many problems behind the scenes, and was in a power play with captain Kevin Nolan and player-coach Gary Speed recently, after a reported row over tactics and training methods. He dropped both players from the squad, which to us looked like a desperate move by the Bolton manager.
It has been a difficult task for Sam Allardyce’s former assistant manager to replace the big man at Bolton and rather a thankless task too. Sammy is a good man and a good coach, but it looks like the job overwhelmed him and he finally lost the support of some of the senior players at the club.
Announcing the news, a sad Bolton chairman Phil Gartside said this morning:
â€œThis has been a difficult decision for all parties but we have agreed that the time is right.â€
â€œSammy has played an important role in the club’s recent history.â€
â€œOur efforts will now be to look for a replacement manager and to concentrate on the future.â€
It’s always sad when something like this happens because everybody really wanted Sammy to be successful and we’re sure Big Sam is as disappointed as anybody with these developments. Donâ€™t be surprised if former Newcastle player Gary Speed gets the nod to at least take the job as player manager on a temporary basis.
Gary is highly regarded as a coach, and his career as a potential manager, once he retires from playing, looks to be very promising. There were hopes that Gary could even join Sam Allardyce at Newcastle in January, but if Gary gets the nod, it will be a great challenge for him and he will find it hard to resist. If it happens we wish Gary all the best.
But now the task has to be to keep Bolton in the Premier League – they are a club with a wonderful history of success and it would be sad to see them relegated. We remember vividly the 1958 FA Cup Final when they beat Manchester United 2-0 with both goals coming from the great Nat Lofthouse.
Manchester United had been decimated in February of that year with the terrible Munich Air disaster. A number of their players and staff had been killed on take-off following a refueling stop in Munich, after reaching the semi finals of the European Cup on the previous day. Twenty three of the 44 passengers on board the aircraft died in the disaster. Bobby Charlton and manager Matt Busby were two to survive the crash, and that particular FA Cup Final was a highly emotional one.
But back to the Bolton news today – and if Gary takes over we think he can do a great job at the Reebok, and certainly avoid relegation.