Many thanks to Chris Manning from Lion of Vienna Suite for kindly taking the time to answer some questions before Saturday’s match between Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers. I answered some of their questions as well, so you should check that out as well.
1. I’ll get the obvious ones out of the way: What is going on with the ownership situation at Bolton right now? You guys over at LoV were one of the sites that was organizing some of the protests against Anderson, and it sounds like he’s looking to sell. Will it get resolved before the end of the year?
I think everyone hopes so - Anderson included. Without question this has dragged on far longer than anyone imagined which has led to speculation that his demands are what have held a sale back - though obviously nobody knows for sure. He hasn’t been seen at a game for a couple of months now which is very much out of the ordinary. No doubt he would say that it’s because he’s working hard on selling the club but that coincided with the start of the more vocal anti-Anderson protests. They have died off a bit now but the desire to see him leave remains strong amongst large portions of the fanbase.
2. What’s your take on ‘Spygate’ and the fine that was levied against Leeds? We’re just ready to be done with it right now and a lot of fans were just happy not to have points docked.
I’ve had a soft spot for Bielsa ever since I saw his Athletic Bilbao side take Manchester United apart a few years ago. With regards to the whole ‘spy’ issue I really like a mountain has been made from a molehill - surely as a club you would want your manager to be as clued-up on the opponents as possible and so I really don’t have a problem with it. Unfortunately English football is run by a parochial bunch of dinosaurs who think that the spirit of fair play still exists. In any case, surely the EFL have more important things going on that some continental-style shenanigans. We should embrace what Bielsa brings to the league and learn from it, not treat his methods as some sort of foreign wacko coming in here and corrupting our pure sport.
3. Onto the stuff on the pitch. Who is likely to cause Leeds the most problems? Will the team that beat Birmingham City show up or will it be the team that got rolled by Norwich City, or are they the same, just with a few bounces going in either direction?
I think Leeds are probably the team most likely to cost you the game. Against Birmingham everything came together - the defence was strong, the midfield organised and the attack gave their defence problems. Unfortunately we have only won twice in 22 and against Norwich normal service was resumed as we chased shadows throughout - against any semblance of pace we crumble and they exploited that with ease. It was only thanks to our goalkeeper that it wasn’t even more embarrassing.
4. Is there hope for Bolton to survive the drop? It wouldn’t seem fair after all of the chaos of your ownership situation to end up going down, but football is rarely, if ever, fair.
Nope. This is, without question, one of the most toothless footballing sides I have ever seen. Our forwards are not up to it and so chances are the only way that we might get something from the game is if you do something daft. On top of our forwards being poor the midfield is worse and the defence even worse. Our path to League One appears certain and I would be astonished if we ended up surviving.
5. Score prediction?