The King is dead. Long live the King, writes Oliver Norris.
Owen Coyle has received and given himself more than one biblical reference during his managerial career south of the border. Burnley fans ordained him as God, via a handmade sign at a WWE Wrestling event, before swiftly dubbing him Judas after his quick kiss and run effort from Turf Moor back in January 2010. Coyle finally settled on Moses after securing his first win as Bolton manager against his former disciples, the Clarets.
After a 1-0 win over Burnley, just 18 days after his defection, Coyle himself stated that the Burnley faithful should be calling him Moses rather than Judas after he led them ‘from the wilderness to the promised land’. This would have been true had the promised land been situated midway through a virgin Premier League season for a club one quarter of the way down a slippery slope of poor form, without any sort of coaching or medical staff remaining, it was a surprise to turn up at the next match and still see Rocky in Claret and Blue. Moses did however appear to part the Red Sea for a while but when we all followed him, he dropped it back in on us.
Now, 33 months later, he finds himself out on his ear, out of work and without any sort of holy glow to bask in. Even Phil Gartside, the man who managed to fit his entire self up Coyle’s backend only peeping out to ask the Premier League big boys to lock the door at the bottom of the league and stop those nasty lower league clubs looking at his money pot, has given up on Coyle’s high energy levels.
The north-west is alive with the sound of P45s currently with Bolton, Blackburn and now Burnley looking for new managers. Eddie Howehas jumped ship and snuggled back into the bosom of the ever-forgiving Eddie Mitchell back at his old club, Bournemouth. The inevitable suspicions that Coyle is on his way back to Turf Moor have arisen and have sparked lively debate. If Coyle was to return, his stint in the confessional box with the Burnley fans would be his most gruelling yet. Despite him never having put a PR-advised foot wrong in his comments during and following his departure, opinion is strongly against his prodigal return.
Personally, I could see it working. Coyle is the sort of manager that has thick enough skin to deal with anything thrown at him. There are very few of his old players left at the club that would bear any grudge against him. In any event, despite a fan’s wishes, the players do not share the same fierce loyalty and I’m sure would welcome a manager with a decent pedigree, admittedly the past 18 months at the Reebok has tarnished this somewhat, but the style of football and winning mentality he could foster at the club would be enough to overcome this.
It is a huge call for the Burnley board and their careers at the club will almost certainly be defined by this decision if they are bold enough to take it. Either way, John B has a job keeping Martin ‘Scrappy Doo’ Paterson from snapping at Coyle’s heels if he did rise from the dead.
What do you make of a potential return for Owen Coyle? Comment below.