STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Bolton Wanderers fans look dejected as they are relegated during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Bolton Wanderers at Britannia Stadium on May 13, 2012 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
That's right, no one deserves Man of the Match. We conceded 77 goals this campaign, 4 in the last 2 matches, 3 of them from a winning position. What players stepped up defensively? None. What players stepped up in the midfield? None. What players stepped up in attack? None.
Some people are going to blame the referee. And yes, the first Stoke City goal should not have stood, it was an obvious foul. But Stoke had no shortage of chances. And look at Bolton's goals in the last two matches. A penalty, an own goal, an attempted clearance that literally went in off Mark Davies' arse, and a mis-hit cross. The players did nothing to show that they deserved anything but relegation.
Some people are going to blame Owen Coyle. And there is no question he has made mistakes throughout the season. But he didn't tell our central defenders to passively watch opponents run on goal. He didn't tell our forwards to slice their shots into row Z. He didn't tell our midfielders to not bother closing down opposing players fifteen yards from goal. In fact, I think most supporters would agree, the last few games, when we had myriad opportunities to secure our safety, Coyle played the best 14 players available, the exact same players anyone in the terraces would have played. No, this one is on the players.
So, you know what I did Sunday night. I drank the Lion of Vienna Suite Man of the Match champagne. Every last drop of it. Because I am a fan. And I will continue to be a fan, no matter what division the Mighty Bolton Wanderers play in. The fans may be the only representatives of Bolton that came out of this season looking good. So each and every one of you should raise your own glass of champagne, or Boddington's, or orange juice, and drink a toast to yourselves, and your support of the Whites. We'll be back, and stronger than ever!