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  1. #1
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    Apr 2009

    Exclamation The Frustration Behind Owen Coyle's Gamble on his Move to Bolton

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    Owen Coyle's move to Bolton is all about the long term.

    We all know the arguments about his departure from Burnley, with Coyle taking the opportunity today to justify his switch from Turf Moor to the Reebok Stadium.

    That debate is now likely to be shelved until Bolton come up against Burnley on January 26 in what is sure to be a highly-charged evening at the Reebok Stadium.

    Coyle had every right to make the move, of course, and fully believes that he will plot a route to safety for Bolton, who are level on points with 17th-placed West Ham with two games in hand.

    He has also stated that he has no doubt that Burnley, who are two points better off than his new club, will also be able to stay up.

    If the gamble pays off, Coyle will keep Bolton in the top flight and Burnley will stay up too, with the Scot emerging with the lion's share of the credit for both achievements.

    Although managers, and Coyle in particular, always think positively, there must also be a question lingering in the back of his head. What if both go down? Where would his stock be then?

    Everything in football is about timing. It is not long since Sam Allardyce was thought of as a potential England manager and, although he has pulled his career back into shape and looks steady as Blackburn manager, an international future is now unthinkable.

    Adie Boothroyd was the brighest young manager in the country when he steered Watford into the Premier League against all the odds but, unsurprisingly, they went straight back down and the opportunity had passed. He is still working, which for a manager is always an achievement in itself, but in League One with Colchester.

    Coyle reasons there is little more he could have done for the Clarets, whose lack of cash and subsequent absence of squad depth always meant that - despite their fine start - they were likely to be sucked into trouble. Now, with Coyle gone, their survival chances appear even more insecure.

    "My frustration is we took Burnley to a certain level and it was always going to be difficult to throw 30m at it," says Coyle.

    "If you look at the infrastructure of Bolton, the academy, the training centre, everything is geared for top flight football and my job as manager is to make sure that happens.

    "I must say, Burnley have still got a Premier League team as well. We really galvanised the club and took them to a level that is always going to be difficult.

    On balance I had to look at, if we'd achieved survival, come the summer is there going to be that investment? I wasn't sure there was. In a transitional period I was trying to move things along quicker than finances would dictate.

    "There's two things which happen to football managers - you do well and you move on or you don't and you're moved on.

    "It was difficult. The emotional attachment alone over the course of two years... but when all was said and done we tried to take the emotion out of it and make what we felt was a football decision."

    In the end, it was a decision that was all about the future. And Coyle knows the immediate future - the next four months - could define a managerial career that has only known an upward curve.

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