Can We End the Torment at Bolton?
By Robert Nichols
Tuesday 09 Apr 2019 10:27:00
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Boro travel to Bolton tonight hoping to end the worst run of results since Robbo's Boro needed to call Terry Venables to fight back the tide. It could be will need International Rescue this time after six defeats at Swansea turned us into a runaway train cascading down the mountain and off a cliff edge. Kick off at the University of Bolton Stadium is at 8pm. If they can open the gates.

Yes, the only thing keeping Boro fans from jumping off the cliff after their team is probably the thought that it could be all so much worse if we were Bolton. Our two clubs are locked together in history, like a two footed Zenden penalty conversion. As we plunge down the table Bolton are truly off the rails, lurching from one administration to another and now prey to asset stripping vultures. They are hoping against hope that their present owner, the man that hasn't been even paying the laundry bills and catering at the training ground sells out to Bassini, a man not long since banned from all football for three years for extreme dodgy dealings at Watford.

Tonight's game was under threat after they couldn't get a safety certificate. Saturday's game at home to Ipswich was almost postponed due to an IT crisis. How embarrassing this all must be to stadium sponsors of the ground once knows as the Rebok. The players have been on strike to ensure those at the bottom of the wage bill are paid, that is how desperate it has all become for a once great club, the home of the great Nat Lofthouse. Yet somehow they are playing for the pride of the shirt and continuing to give an account of themselves on the pitch. Amazing really and the one real positive that the spirit survives just like Bruce Rioch's Boro in 1986, really.

Boro fans be careful what you wish for, there are some extremely dangerous rogues out there only too keen to feast on the carcasses of football clubs.

Back to Boro, back to reality. If Boro could to some extent count themselves unfortunate to lose to Bristol City, not so at Swansea City who like Aston Villa wiped the floor clean with us. It won't come as any comfort that the Swansea fans described their first half display as the best of the season. They were far too quick for us and but for almost catching the Boro disease, they could have had a hatful in the first hour of the game.

To add to Boro's woes, George Friend broke down from the injury he has been carrying and had to be replaced by another with long term fitness issues in Ryan Shotton, who almost immediately conceded the penalty, not yet up to the pace of the game. With Lewis Wing already awaiting surgery the number on the sick and injured list grows ever longer.

The main disease though is confidence and that is ebbing away with every game and every defeat. The pressure is obviously mounting on manager Tony Pulis whose popularity on Teesside is now at an all time low. With the season card renewal deadline fast approaching there is a loaded gun pointed at the head of Steve Gibson to do something, anything. Obviously a win now will count for little in terms of the season and the eventual destiny of all at the club but I hate to think we would be thinking in terms of creating all time records of the wrong kind at the Riverside on Saturday.

We didn't create at Swansea, until far too late. We need to make chances and then take those chances. However they come. We need to dig deep tonight against a club that is shipwrecked but still playing for pride. We must prevent our own sinking ship and stop the rot.

Two proud old clubs are on the ropes. I hope Bolton are saved by a decent owner and that Boro show some green shoots of improvement. We are playing for next season now and a new beginning. That cup final seems several lifetimes ago right now. We need to take small steps forward before we can run again. Starting with a win at Bolton.

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