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12 Jun 2021 07:12:08
I presume all of us hope soon to hear that Marcelo Bielsa has signed for another season, and that most if not all hope he’s here for a good number of seasons after that - I certainly do.

With that in mind, I was wondering whether a possible eventual heir to Bielsa could perhaps currently be working in the most unlikely of places - Bolton Wanderers.

I know, I never thought I’d think, let alone write such words - Bolton Wanderers, the club so long synonymous with the long ball.

The man in question is Ian Evatt - what? I hear you say - a central defender, who played briefly in the. Prem with Blackpool?

Before any of you send men in white jackets with a padded van to cart me off to an asylum, just hear me out on this.

Evatt has become somewhat of a student of the game, trying to learn from the best managers to have graced these shores in recent years. Having studied the works of Guardiola and Klopp (and early Mourinho) he took it upon himself to bring possession based, high pressing football to Barrow AFC in the National League. Within two seasons he got them promoted to League 2, being 7 points clear when c.v. brought the season to a close.

His success led League 2 Bolton to appoint him for last season. He set about converting that club’s football philosophy too, and for additional help in this studied the wonder that is Bielsaball at Leeds, and part way through the season went as far as to adopt murderball within the training there. The result of that speaks for itself - they were promoted to League 1, playing proper football - topping the League 2 charts in possession and passing accuracy. They certainly didn’t suffer from ‘Bielsa burnout’ with a late charge from tenth to clinch the third promotion spot, just three points off League champs Cheltenham.

Clearly success at a lower level does not necessarily mean he’s destined to take over at a great Club like Leeds. However before you rush to judgment, I suggest you listen to a podcast interview done by The Athletic during lockdown, and before he took on the Bolton job, entitled ‘How Ian Evatt Turned Barrow into Barrowcelona’. This gives an insight into his approach to football management (very strong on positive man-management) and life in general, and left me with a strong feeling that he would end up somewhere in the Prem in due course - and if Bielsaball is now his thing, maybe, just maybe, that could be with Leeds.

{Ed001's Note - I think that is a great shout Clueless.}

Agree4 Disagree0

12 Jun 2021 09:11:35
Thanks Ed.

{Ed001's Note - very welcome mate.}

12 Jun 2021 09:43:15
Clueless, what a great post. That show an brilliant scope of knowledge on the topic of football and I shall certainly be watching Blackpools progress this year as a result. They were my grandads team show I have always had a soft spot for them (mind you they gave me a right hiding when I went with my tranmere mates to an away game and chose the wrong entrance turnstiles) .

12 Jun 2021 10:28:48
What Axe said! Best post I’ve possibly ever read on here, and very insightful! 👏🏻👏🏻👍🏻.

12 Jun 2021 10:33:09
Cheers Axe - I must admit that rather than a large scope of knowledge my post perhaps shows an ability to spot a potentially interesting snippet of info and do some rapid research to find out more.

Feel free to watch Blackpool’s progress on their return to the Championship - I will be, always had a bit of a soft spot for them since Holloway’s boys (most especially Charlie Adam, but aided by Evatt and others on the actual pitch) briefly gave us some bargain options in Fantasy Premier League - helping me to win my work mini-League in it’s first season. Looks like Olly Casey could be heading their way for the coming season, or longer, too. However, in relation to this post I suggest you also watch Bolton in League 1 as they seek back to back promotions.

12 Jun 2021 11:56:48
Can’t help but love Holloway, and what he achieved with Blackpool. Loved his post match interviews too! Real character!

12 Jun 2021 12:16:32
Clueless, your modesty illuminates you further.

12 Jun 2021 13:07:03
If Blackpool are disciples of Bielsaball then would not be too upset to see two or three of our U23s go there on loan.

12 Jun 2021 13:24:13
Breathless clueless. In awe.

12 Jun 2021 13:25:17
Agree bright. Pots.

12 Jun 2021 15:11:11
Interesting post Clu ( as usual)


A few points regarding Evatt's alleged credentials: first of all one would expect any competent manager to have Bolton challenge successfully for promotion in lowly League 2 : so finishing 3rd ok fine

Secondly interestingly Evatt's initial methods were clearly failing at Bolton for the first half of the season as Bolton were a very ineffectual 17th after 24 games far closer to relegation than promotion
The key point it seems is that as you say Evatt then introduced Bielsa Ball part way through the season

with good effect it seems as Bolton must have won most of their matches second half of season to reach 3rd (

However was that mostly or even solely due to superior fitness against not very fit Div 2 players?

Or does Evatt actually improve players technocal skills?

Thirdly, Evatt's overall win and loss managerial record is a little bit underwhelming especially as it in the lower leagues where one would anticipate that a truly outstanding coach manager would walk Div 2 level for example

P144 W65 D31 L48 Evatt has lost exactly 1/ 3 of his matches, quite a lot.

Bielsa is unique but credit to Evatt for his efforts!

To conclude, though I think there is more chance of the men in white coats coming for you Clu ( and Axe, Brighty and Aus 😃) than there is Evatt being a future Leeds United manager ( or EPL manager) . 😜😉.

12 Jun 2021 15:50:36
P. S. Not sure Clu why Axe, Brighty and Leo are all talking about Blackpool and Bielsaball

as Evatt manages Bolton ( not Blackpool) as you clearly referenced throughout your posts. ☺️.

12 Jun 2021 16:11:29
Cheers for your feedback Baz Have you actually listened to the interview with Evatt which I flagged.? If not, I would suggest you do, as It gives rather more insight into what he actually did with players at Barrow, and his overall approach.

12 Jun 2021 16:50:17
Any time Clu

More pertinently be interesting to see how Evatt's Bolton gets on this season at a higher level League 1 Clu ;

that for me will give further and better evidence / indication of his current coaching abilities.

12 Jun 2021 17:10:06
Because he also referenced Blackpool, which we also picked up on?

13 Jun 2021 08:56:23

I promise to watch Bolton too. I just don't have an anecdote about them.

(Plus Blackpool are in a higher league so thete will be more chances of seeing them on the telly than Bolton)



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