I just can't forgive

Last updated : 21 September 2010 By Tony Scholes
But the game is beyond that because, right now, Bolton are managed by former Burnley boss Owen Coyle who walked out of Turf Moor, along with his disciples, to take the job in Horwich in January of this year.

He'd been Burnley manager for just over two years, and the last year or more had been the most successful for many a year. Only a fool would have wanted him to go such was our progress in that period; a cup run, a promotion with a Wembley win, a win over Manchester United and the finest game I've seen at Turf Moor in years when we drew with Arsenal in December last year.

We knew he'd move on at some time, and given his record of switching clubs we knew it might be sooner rather than later. It nearly came in the summer of 2009 with Celtic. We'll never be certain what happened there because he has said there was no offer and he also said he turned it down.

Still, as we settled down from promotion he signed a new long term deal at Burnley and proudly proclaimed that he was staying with us just as long as he was wanted.

Unfortunately that wasn't to be the case, and he moved to Bolton in January under the biggest and heaviest of clouds. The way he did it I just can't forgive. He treated our football club, our supporters and our directors with utter contempt in the way that he manoeuvred his way to the Reebok.

Someone recently described it to me as like a marriage that ends badly. You are blissfully happy in a marriage but, unknown to you, your partner has embarked on an affair with someone else and suddenly, out of the blue, tell you they are leaving to move in the new person in their life.

You are devastated. From believing life is just about perfect you find yourself at your lowest and having to deal with all a break up entails. It's a nightmare and one many people don't recover from. More often than not, there is no good feeling whatsoever left about the partner you once loved and were so happy with.

So my inability to forgive Owen Coyle has nothing to do with his ability to manage a side, but the way he treated us, the lies he told us and the shocking underhand way he went about getting his move to Bolton.

"It's a good job for someone else," was quickly replaced with "There's nothing you can do to stop me going," and in the end, despite the long term contract he'd signed, there was nothing we could do other than negotiate a settlement, presumably because, as reported, one Burnley director did in fact eventually give Bolton permission to speak to him.

I notice this week he's doing his usual charm offensive with the media, still touting the nonsense that we are only upset because we lost a good manager, never once admitting that it was the way he left that upset us so much and leaves us so angry and unforgiving.

Don't worry; I still remember the highs we had during his tenure at Turf Moor and I'll never forget them. The heartache of the semi-final defeat against Spurs, the unbelievable night at Reading which brought the fantastic Wembley win, beating Manchester United that can only, for me, be eclipsed with a win against Blackburn, and that simply magnificent game against Arsenal.

But Coyle tarnished all that for me with the way he exited Turf Moor - speaking to Bolton long before Gary Megson had even lost his job. There were just too many lies from him and I just can't ever forgive him for the way he hurt and damaged my football club.

We all have our differing views. I know people who weren't happy with him as a manager, something I can't agree with. Some tonight will welcome him back; I'm sorry that is something I can't and will never be able to do.