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Page last updated at 22:49 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bolton Wanderers sack manager Gary Megson

Gary Megson
After over two years in charge Megson leaves Bolton 18th in the Premier League

Gary Megson has been sacked as Bolton manager after two years at the helm.

Megson, 50, was booed by fans in Tuesday's draw with Hull and claimed such negativity was affecting his side.

Assistant boss Chris Evans and first team coach Steve Wigley will initially take charge of the Trotters, who are 18th in the Premier League.

A statement on the club website read: "The decision has been taken in light of the position the club finds itself at the halfway point of the season."

Megson becomes the third Premier League boss to lose his job this season and the second in less than a fortnight following Mark Hughes's exit from Manchester City. Paul Hart parted company with Portsmouth in November.

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Hughes has been installed as the favourite to take over at Bolton, with Peter Reid, Darren Ferguson, Paul Jewell and Alan Curbishley listed as other possible candidates.

Chairman Phil Gartside decided to act after Megson's side threw away a two-goal lead against Hull at the Reebok Stadium, a result that left the Trotters in the relegation zone going into the new year, albeit with one or two games in hand over most of the other struggling sides.

Megson's decision to replace striker Ivan Klasnic with midfielder Gavin McCann when the home team were leading 2-1 against the Tigers was met with a chorus of loud boos.

After the game the former Leicester City boss voiced his frustration with the jeering.

"It has started now to have an impact," Megson told BBC Radio 5 live. "It's difficult for the players to be playing in that atmosphere."

Perhaps the most telling moment of Megson's post-match interview came when he was asked if he thought it was impossible for him to win over the Bolton fans. A despondent Megson simply replied: "Yes."

Megson tried to defend a lead with a team which has not kept a clean sheet all season

Bolton Supporters Association chairman Gareth Robinson

But Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association chairman Gareth Robinson said Megson had done little to establish a relationship with fans at the club.

"I know there was an element of the fans who did not like him when he came in, but personally I can't argue with him in that he came in to keep the team up and he did well," he told BBC Sport.

"From the supporters association side, I think Gary's problem was the fans did not know him. In the two-and-bit years he has been there he didn't once come to the supporters club and a lot of them seem to be glad now he has gone."

The Manchester-born boss was not a popular appointment when he took over from Sammy Lee in October 2007, with Bolton in trouble at the bottom of the Premier League.

Lee had been in charge for only six months after replacing Sam Allardyce, who resigned following an eight-year reign at the Reebok Stadium.

Allardyce had led the club to promotion and a place in Europe for the first time in their history and was always going to be a tough act to follow.

Despite steering the club to safety after taking charge, Megson never had an easy relationship with fans and was also booed last January after his side squandered a two-goal lead against Blackburn.

Bolton fans hold up a banner
Bolton fans made their feelings known towards manager Megson

After that 2-2 draw, he called the jeering supporters "pathetic".

Although in a precarious position, Bolton have taken six points from their last four games, including a 3-3 draw with Manchester City, a 3-1 win over fellow strugglers West Ham United and a 1-1 draw with Burnley.

However, Robinson says it is has been the team's poor defensive record which has grown frustrating.

"Bolton fans don't expect to be in Europe every year, they are not that daft, but the length of time they have been in the Premier League now, they don't expect to be languishing in the bottom three as they are doing at the moment," he said.

"Taking the last match as an example no-one was booing when we were 2-0 up or even 2-1 up, but then the manager took a striker off and threw a defensive midfielder on to try and defend a lead with a team which has not kept a clean sheet all season."

Bolton's new year's programme looks daunting, with two games against Arsenal, visits to Sunderland and Liverpool and a home fixture against Burnley to contend with in January.

The Trotters also face League Two side Lincoln City in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

With such a vital stage of the season coming up and the mood around the club at a low ebb, former Bolton striker Andy Walker admitted he was not surprised by Megson's departure.

"I think it's been on the cards for some time. He has never really enjoyed the full backing of the Bolton supporters," said Walker, who played for Bolton between 1991-1994.

"I think when the supporters are constantly haranguing the manager the chairman has to take notice and when the results aren't good the club needs a lift.

"The only way to give the lift and get the points to ensure safety is to make a change."

Former defender Gudni Bergsson believes the club need to install the new manager as quickly as they can.

"You want the new manager to have the possibility of trying to add to the squad in the January transfer window," The former Iceland defender told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The next appointment will be a very important one for the club so the new manager can secure their Premier League position."



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see also
Fan power sends Megson packing
30 Dec 09 |  Bolton
Megson anger at Bolton boo-boys
29 Dec 09 |  Bolton
Bolton 2-2 Hull
29 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Tuesday football as it happened
29 Dec 09 |  Football
Tuesday's Premier League photos
29 Dec 09 |  Football
Megson angered by 'pathetic' fans
29 Jan 09 |  Bolton


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
The Sun I can leave with my head high - 1 hr ago
The Scotsman Mark Hughes would be a popular choice to replace sacked Megson at Bolton - 2 hrs ago
Observer Jewell and Reid in queue for Bolton job - 6 hrs ago
Guardian.co.uk Paul Jewell and Peter Reid in queue for Bolton job but not big pay day - 7 hrs ago
Sporting Life GARY MEGSON AXED AS BOLTON BOSS - 12 hrs ago


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