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John Giles: Bolton move is right for ambitious Coyle

OWEN COYLE is right to grab hold of the opportunity now being offered by Bolton Wanderers and walk away from Burnley.

He's done great things there but he's an ambitious man and is leaving at a good time. Often in circumstances where a bright young manager builds a successful promotion challenge with an unfancied club, the end is bitter indeed.

The work done to drive a club poorly equipped for life in the top flight is forgotten in a wave of optimism at the start of a new Premier League season, but a series of bad results can quickly push the good times into the shadows.

The axe generally comes sooner rather than later. Fans that have spent a long time in the wilderness have no real idea of just how difficult it is to stay in the Premier League and cannot quite get to grips with the contrast in winning most of the games they play one season and losing as many the next.


But Coyle has been getting decent results and he's leaving Burnley in a far better position than they were in when he joined.

In fact, he's done as good a job as any manager could have done in the circumstances and if nothing else, gave Burnley fans the golden memory of beating Manchester United.

Already, the cries of ‘Judas' have been heard on the airwaves and that's to be expected. Moments like this lead to irrational responses, and the woman who berated Coyle on Sky Sports the other day has very quickly wiped some fantastic days she enjoyed during the last year from her mind.

Coyle won promotion for Burnley, kept them competitive in the Premier League, threw in a thrilling Cup run as a bonus and did it all on a shoestring.

When a richer club like Bolton with an established Premier League structure and a better squad comes along, only blind loyalty would prevent any ambitious manager from considering the offer.

Once Coyle was able to satisfy his own personal requirements from Bolton in terms of team control and salary, he then had to make a judgement.

He placed two and a half years of success and adoration at Turf Moor against a bigger and better club with fans that seem to be delighted by the thought that Coyle is the man to replace Gary Megson and came up with the right answer.

That said, I think it's entirely fair that Burnley should hold out for compensation and I do understand why many fans will feel angry right now. It's one of those odd situations where everyone is right but nobody is wrong.

Coyle is right to pursue his career after putting in a good stint with Burnley and the fans are entitled to feel let down that he won't be hanging around. They know just how good a manager Coyle is, and Bolton should pay up a healthy amount in just the same way they would pay for a good player.

Money won't help the Burnley players and fans, though it will probably soften the blow for the board. They must have known that Coyle would be offered major temptations this season. After all, he turned down Celtic in the summer.

I remember thinking at the time that Coyle made the right decision with Celtic and that he's made an unusually high percentage of good calls in his short management career. I've liked Owen Coyle ever since he began his run with Burnley in the Championship and he has displayed more of the right stuff during the last few weeks.

He has remained silent and dignified and allowed the correct process to unfold.


Right now, he's thinking hard about what he will have to do to turn around a club in the relegation zone, and if he remains true to his beliefs about the way the game should be played then he will want his new players to pass their way to safety.

It may seem like a tough job to turn around a club engaged in the art of survival for so long that passing football is a distant memory from a bygone era but I would have confidence that Coyle can do it.

Most players want to use the ball properly and, while they will tolerate direct football once it delivers results, they will always respond to a manager who wants to play.

Of course, Coyle could fall flat on his face and spend the rest of the season looking up the table at Burnley's ongoing progress under a new manager before falling through the trapdoor and back into the Championship, but somehow I doubt it.

He's one to watch and there will be clubs much further up the table, and even further afield, that will monitor Coyle at Bolton with great interest.