Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Wednesday January 30 2008
It`s hard not to like Roy Hodgson!
His craggy features, the dulcet vocal tones and the endearing nature in which he addresses the media have always seen him respected by his peers, his players and those who follow the club`s he has managed. In fact, he reminds me of my dear-departed grandfather.
However, with our Premier League status becoming more precarious by the game, you sort of wonder whether even Roy, one of life`s great optimists, is secretly looking towards the probable challenge next season of restoring our Premier League status.
After the 0-0 draw at the Reebok Stadium and in his obligatory post match press conference, Roy tried to remain cheerful, tried to give us all hope that survival was achievable but also let out a few quotes that perhaps portray an inner belief that belies the brash exterior that tries to suggest different.
Lines such as,
"If we stay up it would be like the Great Escape."
may well be a jocular throwaway line but is it an indication that survival is an almost impossible achievement considering the fixtures that lie in wait for us?
Nevertheless, in another rline Roy does try to get a decent point across remarking,
"We`re getting stronger all the time and were good value for our point. If you ask any Premier League team they will tell you Bolton is not an easy place to get a point, so we`ve got to be happy."
Unfortunately, whilst this may be true of the Bolton of last year, under Sam Allardyce, it doesn`t ring true this season. Bolton, like ourselves; have struggled and the recent sale of Nicolas Anelka has seen their front line severely weakened.
Thankfully, the spiel does sort of pick up with Roy complimenting his players on their performance, stating,
"It was a very good team performance."
"We showed we have players who are willing to put their bodies on the line."
"They rolled up their sleeves and showed the character we need to get out of this situation"
The lines indicate that, it`s almost as if, Roy has decided it needs a 'fight them in the trenches` attitude to survive, a point that has been made by many in a situation similar to ours. Often it`s about spoiling, about hard toil more than individual flair that digs teams out of the lower reaches. If Roy can harness this spirit it augers well, however, he was keen t point out that, if required, we can also play a bit, remarking,
"We also showed we can play a bit when we get the chance and we really can take heart from this."
The trouble is, I`m not sure exactly how much heart we can take, the feeling that Bolton (a) had to be three points rather than one is proving to be a troublesome one!
Date:Wednesday January 30 2008
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