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Bolton Wanderers
Posted by Neil McSkimming on 07/17/2011

I am writing this Blog while following the live happenings of our next pre-season opponents, Orlando City SC. They are currently playing the Rochester Rhinos and are leading 2-1 in the 67th minute, however, as the twitter feed has informed me, “we are currently in a lightning delay”. The casual phrasing of this tweet makes me wonder if this is a regular occurrence in the football leagues of the USA. I now feel slightly worried for the Wanderers when we take on “lions” tomorrow; I want my Paul Robinson to return home un-fried please.

So we lost our first game of pre-season, I didn’t see the game, but I did see highlights, and we seemed to create a good few chances and to be honest, (advanced apologies for the cliché excuse) it’s all about building up the fitness levels. Sandy Stewart has mentioned (in his tour diary) that in the first half we had “90% of possession”, and in the second half we created “numerous chances”, so even though they scored, and we lost, I’m not about to curl up and cry. Credit to Tampa, they beat us, credit to their keeper, and credit to midfielder Keith Savage for having the best name on the pitch.

Darren Pratley has added some good competition to the center midfield area. It seems he had a good half partnered with Mark Davies against Tampa and to be honest, I don’t really want us to sign too many more players in this position as I love Davies’ style and don’t want him to be spending too much time on the bench, especially when Stu, our premier midfielder extraordinaire returns. Lets concentrate on improving in the forward positions where we clearly need more numbers (yes I’m aware I spelled it “center”, I thought it was apt).

Tomorrow it’s Orlando City, a team coached by Newcastle born Adrian Heath, ex midfielder of numerous clubs including Everton, Man City and Burnley. Notice I said coached and not managed, this is soccer baby! Orlando will seemingly provide a step up in class from the previous game against Tampa, even though Tampa are in the league above, Orando are a team in form and on the up, they are currently top of their league and will be hoping for some kind of "promotion/playoff", or (as I have been thankfully corrected) whatever the reward is for finishing top (I really need to immerse myself in some US soccer as I am clearly clueless). They play in a massive stadium called the Citrus Bowl, that has a capacity of 70,000, this is also an American football stadium, hence the size. Guns n Roses have played here, Elton John has played at the Reebok, I don’t know whose daddy is bigger, but ours is probably more camp.

Okay, now for the “regularly updated Bolton based Internet speculation happenings” (RUBBISH). Firstly, some Venezuelan/Spanish shaped clouds have descended over the online football seas of rumour (no idea why that sentence was so ridiculous). This is the rumour that Bolton have had a bid accepted for Barcelona starlet* Jeffren Suarez. If this is true, then this is exciting, as he is a young tricky winger that was involved in 13 games last season for Barcelona’s first team, and this clearly means he is worth the £5Million figure that has been mentioned. Also, we can chant Jeff-Jeff-Jeff-Jeff, and have an excuse to name our children Jeff when he becomes a legend, am I getting ahead of myself? Probably, as I doubt we will hear much more about this one, still, I can but dream.

As I sit here, at 02:00am, I now find myself watching Manchester City play Club America (a man has to do something during a lightning break), interestingly Shaun Wright-Phillips has just scored a nice goal for Man City and seems to be playing well, we need more Zat Knight quotes to update us on his potential arrival.

We are said to be interested in a loan deal for Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck, he probably wont feature much for Utd so a move away is likely. He looked good at Sunderland last season and I’m sure he would be a decent Sturridge replacement, however, I would prefer them both. This may seem greedy, but I’m still holding onto the hope that Sturridge could yet return, and this would be as amazing as the Sonic 2 soundtrack.

Now for a top-3 list. Oh the fun we have!
Top 3 things Phil Gartiside will (probably) never say to Owen Coyle.
1. “Owen, listen-up. Myxomatosis is a reet fart-knocker.”
2. “Owen, Keith Brannigan now runs a wizards school in Borneo”(He doesn’t, and he also doesn’t float around using a magic walking-stick… you dreamers).
3. “Owen, Here is a healthy sum of cash to spend on a sensible number of football players that will arrive and play for Bolton Wanderers to improve the overall competitiveness of our squad in the best league in the world.”

Seems like this is going to be another transfer window where our Manager is expected to work magic and spend little/no funds to bring in quality players, ahh well, why change an (occasionally) winning formula.

P.S – The Orlando game has finished and they defeated the Rhinos 2-1, GO LIONS (Only a 75min lightning delay).

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* Looking up the definition of the word starlet, I discover it has two meanings:
1. (Performing Arts) A young and inexperienced actress who is projected as a potential star.
2. (Astronomy) A small star.
I can confirm that Jeffren is (probably) neither of these; therefore I have no idea why this Adjective was selected.

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Posted by Matthew on 07/17/2011

Yep, lightning delays are sadly common in US matches, when the league runs in the summer, which is our rainy season in Florida. I was at the FCTB vs. Bolton match last week, and I wouldn't agree with the "90% possession" stat (though Wanderers did have the majority) but they did create numerous chances in both halves. Both of "our" (FCTB's) keepers did a great job with some point-blank saves, but we got lucky on two or three, with one hitting the crossbar and bouncing down away from the line, and another going off the corner of the posts from a free kick. I'd also dispute Orlando being a step up in class, as they play in the US 3rd division and FCTB plays in the 2nd. Also, we don't have promotion/relegation in our leagues - for example, second division Montreal goes to first division MLS next year, and is next to bottom of the table. Anyway, it was great to see a PL club in person and I was obviously satisfied with the result - good luck and BEAT ORLANDO! (we HATE Orlando!)

Posted by James on 07/17/2011

Pre season is about fitness and getting the team bonding to start with a flourish in the Prem. We will need it as it is one 'ell of a start for us against some big teams in the first 10 games, plus being away to the Championship winners on opening day is less than ideal.
Side note, I had a gander on sky tv yesterday (I live in New Zealand) and it was advertised as Man Citeh vs USA! Can the muppet who listed it as that go to Australia and improve the IQ's of both countries please.

Posted by Paul Bradshaw on 07/20/2011

My Wife and I were at the Orlando City game and while the Wanderers played quite well I still think we are going to have trouble scoring enough goals. We really need a striker (like Sturridge) who turns half chances into goals and puts away the obvious ones almost all the time. I know it's pre season but having watched the team since 1958 I have a good handle on what we do well and what we don't. I must finish by saying how well Orlando City ran the whole evening. I was able to meet a few players and would be remiss if I dind't thank Stu Holden and Gretr Steinsson for being so accomodating and friendly. Unfortunately one long serving player made it very clear he didn't want to be there at all but all in all a great event for a fan no longer able to attend games in England.

Posted by Kayden on 01/18/2012

Going to put this airtcle to good use now.

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