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Dec 31, 2009

Gary Megson defends Bolton record after sacking

After being sacked as Bolton Wanderers manager on Wednesday, Gary Megson has defended his record at the club despite the antipathy shown to him by Trotters supporters.

• Coyle plays down Bolton talk
• Paper Round: All change at Bolton
• Jolly: Megson burnt by Bolton

Megson was not a popular choice when succeeding Sammy Lee in October 2007 and never managed to win over fans at the Reebok Stadium, with his final match - a 2-2 draw with Hull City on Tuesday - witnessing yet more calls for him to go.

But having steered the club away from relegation at the end of the 2007-08 season and then finished in 13th place last season, Megson is confident that his record bears scrutiny.

"Despite all the stick I seem to have been getting from Bolton fans, I've been delighted that my peers and people who know football seem to say that it's gone okay since I've been there," Megson said.

"But I don't want to comment on the spectators. There are ten clubs in a battle at the bottom of the table, but the other nine aren't having to operate under the same conditions and circumstances we were.

"I'm bitterly disappointed to lose my job, but I don't think the decision is unfair. They've made it in the best interests for the club. The club has made the decision and I have to accept it. You stand or fall by those decisions, but I hope Bolton can stay up."

The race to succeed Megson is now underway and former Wigan manager Paul Jewell has quickly ruled himself out of contention. Jewell was spotted at the Hull game but has underlined that he was only at the Reebok Stadium as a guest of Megson.

"I find it embarrassing as I was at the Hull game with my son as a guest of Gary. There was no ulterior motive," he told the Daily Mail. "I just thought it would be an interesting game to watch. I am not one of those managers who sits in the stands to be seen or to put any kind of pressure on other managers."

Caretaker manager Chris Evans has also insisted that he will not be applying for the vacant job on a permanent basis. Evans and head coach Steve Wigley have been handed temporary charge of the side.

"I will not be applying for this job. I have no intention of being the manager of Bolton Wanderers," Evans said. "But equally I would like to feel I am professional enough to do the best possible job I can during the time given to me. Steve and I come from similar backgrounds and have similar ideas. We have work to do and will continue to do that as best we can."

Former Sunderland manager Peter Reid, who is currently assistant to Tony Pulis at Stoke, is believed to be a leading contender while former Italy goalkeeper Walter Zenga is also reported to be under consideration.

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