ANDY Payton believes Owen Coyle will wonder whether he should have stayed at Burnley after the Scot was sacked by Bolton yesterday.
Coyle controversially left Turf Moor to join the Clarets’ Lancashire rivals in January 2010, at a time when Burnley were two points above Bolton in the Premier League table.
The Clarets eventually dropped out of the top flight that season but they are now marginally above Bolton once more, with Coyle relieved of his duties yesterday morning with the Trotters 18th in the Championship following their relegation from the Premier League last term.
It marks a real turnaround in fortunes for a man who was once regarded as one of the most promising managers in the country and yesterday’s events was greeted by many Burnley fans, for whom the Scot became public enemy number one following his Turf Moor exit.
Alan Beecroft, chairman of the Colne Clarets, called the news ‘absolutely tremendous’.
And former Burnley striker Payton believes the Scot will now be pondering whether he made the right decision by leaving Turf Moor – and whether in fact he could have now been in charge of a Clarets side still playing in the Premier League.
Payton, a lifelong Clarets fan who scored 81 goals for the club between 1998 and 2003, said: “He will look back, particularly now he’s been shown the door at Bolton and there will be part of him that is thinking, ‘Should I have stayed at Burnley?’.
“It was looking like we would have stayed in the Premier League I think, we were doing okay.
“But unfortunately no-one will ever know now.
“I think it was a sideways move.
“He was worshipped like a God here and I don’t think he would ever have got quite that adulation at Bolton.
“Unfortunately with the way in which he left, it turned into the complete opposite here in terms of his popularity.
“He took all of his staff with him and it left a huge hole in the club.
“Obviously he played for Bolton and didn’t have the ties with Burnley like someone like me.
“I’m sure he thought he would have more money to spend there, and he probably did.
“I know there are a lot of Burnley fans happy with the news that he’s been sacked, although I never like to see anyone lose their job.
“It should always be remembered that he did a very good job for Burnley.
“He took us to Wembley and got us promotion.”
Coyle’s last game as Bolton boss came in a 2-1 defeat at Millwall on Saturday, when a penalty miss from former Claret Chris Eagles proved to be the turning point of the game.
Sandy Stewart and Steve Davis, who followed Coyle from Turf Moor to Bolton as part of his backroom staff, also left the club yesterday.
Coyle’s Bolton side were beaten 2-0 at Turf Moor on the opening day of the season, when a plane flew over the ground bearing a message for the manager.
“What goes around comes around,” said Beecroft, of the Colne Clarets, who also admitted concern at Burnley’s own recent run of results.
“You reap what you sow, like that plane said at the start of the season.
“I have no sympathy for him in any shape or form and I’m sure pretty much every Burnley fan will say the same.”