|Derby Down Under - Bolton Down The Aisle|
Sat 05th Apr 2008 03:27 by Daniel J Sewart
Last weekend while performing my duties as best man at a wedding, I was able to share my feelings of an opportunity lost.
I shared this with one of the other groomsmen, and as a Bolton supporter he knew my pain.
It is not often Down Under that you get to discuss the lower reaches of the table with a fellow football fan. As I have stated in this article on many occasions the top four clubs have most supporters in my part of the world sewn up. To sit down and discuss football with someone who follows a club in similar circumstances to the Rams rather than one competing for the Champions league or any other title is a nice change.
Bolton have suffered from a terrible season that has included a sharp drop in fortunes since all conquering Sam Allardyce left them behind for an ill-fated spell at Newcastle. Not only did they lose their number one, the club then sold the player most likely to score them goals in Nicolas Anelka. They may have received a massive sum for the player but did not even go close to bringing anyone in who could give them hope of survival.
Discussing my disappointment of relegation and the hope of being able to bounce straight back with someone likely to be in the same boat was somewhat therapeutic as it has been a long lonely season for all Derby fans. Although we have already broken records for speedy relegation there is definitely no more sunshine for those who are not setting new benchmarks for obscurity this season.
After a day of wedding festivities and football discussion we had the pleasure of watching Bolton blow a 2-0 lead against a ten man Arsenal to lose 3-2. This result put Wanderers even closer to the drop on the same day that the Rams officially sealed their fate even if it had been beyond doubt for quite a while.
The encouraging signs are there for both clubs if they can hold onto their better players as Bolton have shown they can at least score goals as did Emmanuel Villa against Fulham showing what he can do given decent service. That service seems to be finally being delivered via Savage, Jones and Sterjovski who are beginning to make our midfield accountable and effective.
Paul Jewell is making a lot of noise about being successful from the word go next season and bouncing straight back into the Premier League. Whatever he achieves anything less than the play-offs in the first season would be seen as a failure and find him judged swiftly by new owners and fans alike. I for one believe he has the ability to do the job and noises that he has already targeted and perhaps secured players for next season suggest there will be no excuses not to hit the ground running.
Whatever happens next season I just hope that when I sit around talking football with my fellow groomsmen again that both of us will have something more positive to talk about. That said the conversation may not be as amicable as it was this time around as quite possibly we will both be competing for the same position. Once the first whistle of the season is blown it will be survival (and hopefully promotion) of the fittest and who would have it any other way.
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Daniel J Sewart