Mark Hughes is fans’ choice to succeed Megson
If supporter opinion is to play a part, Bolton will approach Mark Hughes to replace the sacked Gary Megson — but, as he weighs up a decision that will shape the Trotters' future, owner Eddie Davies knows he must get it right.
After 26 torrid months, Davies and chairman Phil Gartside ditched Megson, a short statement on the club website confirming the manager had been “relieved of his duties” in the wake of his side throwing away a two-goal lead against Hull on Tuesday night and having to settle for a draw at the Reebok Stadium that keeps Bolton in the relegation zone.
Almost immediately the cry went up from the Bolton faithful for the club to go and get former player Owen Coyle from nearby Burnley, followed almost immediately by hints from Turf Moor that the Scot is not interested.
Second choice it seems is Hughes, dumped by Manchester City just before Christmas in circumstances controversial enough to ensure the reputation he built up at Blackburn has not been damaged.
Yet it is by no means certain the Welshman wants the job, and the same could be said for any number of candidates.
After finally caving in to the weight of support that demanded Megson be sacked, Davies and Gartside will need to keep their nerve to ensure the supporters who are so happy now, do not suffer the same fate as Charlton fans, who demanded the dismissal of Alan Curbishley because of the club's continued failure to qualify for Europe, and promptly saw their club end up in League One.
For it is an inescapable fact that small-town clubs such as Bolton have a limited lifespan in the Premier League.
It is one of the reasons why Gartside has been so keen to push the idea of Premier League II, including Celtic and Rangers.
That scheme was rejected, now Davies and Gartside must come up with a better one for their own club, knowing if it goes wrong, the drop could be very steep indeed.