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Two trips to the North West in 7 days sees Brentford playing their first match against Bolton for nearly 20 years. BillytheBee catches up with Chris Manning (@19manning83) from Lion of Vienna Suite who also is Football Manager’s Bolton Wanderers statto – about Vernon Kay, Neil Lennon and Warburtons bakery.

Neil Lennon had a good start with a win against Birmingham .. then it was back to losing ways again at Charlton. Do you think the ‘new manager effect’ is done already? Normally, they get three or four decent results before things peter over.

New manager effect was great, but he has inherited an unbalanced and thin squad and so it’s going to be a gradual improvement until Lenny brings in the players he wants. He’s looking elsewhere than Crystal Palace reserves for new players which makes a nice change from Freedman. We dominated the game against Charlton on Tuesday but missed the cutting edge of a top striker so links with Gary Hooper are welcome.

I see Jermain Beckford came under a bit of flack from Bolton fans after the Charlton game. Last time he played against us he scored for Leeds denying what would have been a just victory for Brentford at Elland Rd a few years back. Goalscoring is obviously a huge issue for you guys

Beckford, Craig Davies and Joe Mason aren’t really cutting the mustard up front. Kids like Tom Eaves and Conor Wilkinson aren’t up to it yet. Reinforcements are badly needed. Freedman had a right hard-on for Mason and so far Lennon has chosen to leave him out of the side which doesn’t bode well for his future prospects at the club

Ex-Bee Jason Pratley seems to be also coming in for a load of stick from Bolton fans. He was great when he played for us at the beginning of his career. Admittedly that was a long time ago. Is it because the majority of your players are on decent wages and don’t want to get stuck in do you think?

Darren Pratley is a divisive figure amongst Bolton fans – some hate him, some despise him. He’s awful. Was given a long contract by Owen Coyle, one that saw his wage double after completing 20 games of his first season so he’s reportedly earning £20,000 per week. Athletic player, but has the positional and footballing nous of a baked bean.

There’s talk of Lennon bringing in Kriss Commons and Anthony Stokes from Celtic. Will it happen? Apparently Stokes is awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting Elvis. Looks like if you do get him, you need to get some game-time in in case he has to do the jailhouse rock.

Stokes and Commons would be welcome additions. We need quality now rather than quantity despite our relatively thin squad. They’re experienced and have good pedigree – plus they know the manager which is a bonus. I know Stokes is a bit of a naughty boy off the pitch but we’re used to that with some of our recent names.

Im a bit confused. As a club you’re supposedly skint. £165m in debt a few months back. How can you afford to pay for managers like Lennon and lure players like Commons and Stokes to Bolton? Are you continually living out of your means??

We have been living above our means for yonks now, so attracting the likes of Lennon etc is not a huge shock. He won’t be earning millions but is likely to be on a heavily incentivised deal. We’re in debt of course, but it’s akin to owing it to your dad – you know the debt is there, and so does he, but you just don’t talk about it. Eddie Davies came under fire for charging interest on the debt but with FFP in mind he stopped doing that as of about a year ago.

Bolton have a rich history. You have won 4 FA Cups. Nat Lofthouse was a legend in his time. You were on the Premier League only 3 years ago. Does that seem like a long time ago now?

Premier League years gave us some fantastic memories which we’re clinging on to now, but we’re realists up here, there’s not too much romanticising when the present is so grim. New manager has given everyone a boost and we are all looking forward together with positivity for the first time in years.

Wigan fans we spoke to last week were not to excited about their Premier League experience saying “The first couple of years are great. But after that playing every game hoping that you are going to finish 17th isn’t that exciting”. Is that your view of the ‘unglamorous club’ Premier League experience?

Wigan fans aren’t worth speaking to. In my experience the Prem was great to see all the top players, but it was demoralising to know that you are facing Chelsea, United, City, Arsenal etc twice a year and you will probably get battered twice. That’s eight games from a 38 season there. Not much fun. I used to skip the Chelsea games as we lost 4-0 at home about four years on the trot. Games against Fulham and Norwich etc are just as tedious for their own reasons. Championship is fun and varied, but the quality of football is a far cry from what we had become used to.

We’ve made a decent start to the season but quite frankly our finishing has let us down. At Wigan last week, we would have been clear if Gray, who we bought from Luton for £500k in the summer, had put away his two clear cut chances with Wigan not offering up very much. Again against Wednesday on Tuesday, we failed to take our chances to grind out our 2nd 0-0 game in a row. We’ve been playing some fantastic football though. Jota who we bought from Celta Vigo for £1.5m is coming into his own. His touch and deft play is a joy to watch. Pritchard on loan from Spurs is a pest. Jonathon Douglas is playing out of his skin and may be a key player for us on Saturday if you’re not in battling mode. Who should Bees fans be looking out for?

I’ll be honest I don’t know a lot about Brentford other than from what the lovely Natalie Sawyer says on SSN. We’ve not had a game against you in years in fact I can barely remember when the last one was. It’ll be a new experience for a lot of Bolton fans so we’ll go into the game with an open mind, respecting the opposition. As far as Bolton players go, I would recommend watching Lee Chung Yong who has had his best two performances in about three years since Lennon took over. The rest are much of a muchness.

Here’s our “Made in Bolton” section

Amir Khan or Ricky Hatton?

Hatton was made in Manchester so Khan by default – even if he rubs people up the wrong way with his behaviour

Peter Kay or Vernon Kay?

Vernon, cos Peter once gave my Nan a dirty look in the post office

Warburtons Bakery or Mark Warburton the football manager?


BBC Radio 2 presenter Sarah Cox or BBC Radio 2 & 6 Music presenter Mark Radcliff ?

Radio 1 is for the simple-minded. Absolute 90’s all the way

Paul ‘Joe’ Nicholls or Dean ‘Robbie’ Gaffney of East Enders

I have no idea who these people are

Head to head, Brentford are just shading it winning 15 games to Bolton’s 13 with 8 games drawn. Do you think you will be able to pull a game back this weekend?

I fancy us to win, 2-1.

Where do you recommend away fans hang out out pre-match?

Pre-match your away pub is the Beehive approx 0.5m from the ground. Inside the ground is your usual bland and expensive nonsense. Landlord of the Beehive is a Wigan fan so you can join him in slagging off Rosler.

We would like to thank Chris for taking time out to give us the lowdown on Bolton. You can catch up all the latest Bolton happenings on Lion Of Vienna Suite.

Look out for the Beesotted Bolton podcast dropping sometime on Friday on Beesotted Audioboom (click here)
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