Megson: Gartside Said 'Get Out Of Europe'

  • January 26, 2012 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/e2a42

Former Bolton boss Gary Megson has claimed the club's chairman, Phil Gartside, told him to get knocked out of the UEFA Cup in 2008.

Megson succeeded Sammy Lee as Wanderers manager in October 2007 with the club languishing at the foot of the Premier League table.

The current Sheffield Wednesday boss received criticism for fielding a reserve team against Sporting Lisbon in March 2008, as he decided to focus on a game at Wigan Athletic the following weekend.

Bolton were eliminated in Lisbon before losing 1-0 at Wigan three days later, despite the Latics being reduced to ten men in the opening five minutes of the contest.

Speaking exclusively to BBC Radio Manchester, Megson admits he never liked the Wanderers fans and the decision to field a weakened side in Europe was made by the clubs chairman, Phil Gartside.

"I liked Bolton as a club, but the fans didn't like me," Megson said. "I don't particularly like them either.

"I took Bolton further in Europe than they've ever been, yet I was told by the chairman to get out of Europe because they don't make any money in it and it was having an impact on the league position, and it was absolutely imperative to stay in the Premiership.

"Bearing in mind that was the worst start that's ever been seen in the Premiership and still is, it was a huge ask to stay up, notwithstanding the fact we were in Europe.

"We took the reserves to Bayern Munich and got a draw there. Most people get beaten, and there's a lot of British teams since then that can't get a result there.

"We went to Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda), were the first team ever to have won there in over 100 years, managed to get through and we knocked out Atletico Madrid over two legs.

"I do think that, if it hadn't had been as tenuous in the Premiership, we could have got even further against Sporting Lisbon.

"But we just had to make sure that the club stayed up, by hook or by crook, we managed to do that, and yet you're still viewed as you were viewed."

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