Ken Anderson, the chairman of Bolton Wanderers, has angered Sheffield United supporters online with some bizarre comments about United’s 2-0 victory over his side at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
Anderson, writing in his programme notes ahead of Bolton’s clash with Bristol Rovers tonight, slammed United for recalling some of his club’s ticket allocation before the game, accused Samir Carruthers of diving to win a penalty and referencing United’s failure to secure automatic promotion in 2011/12, when they lost out to bitter city rivals Wednesday.
Gary Madine, the Bolton striker, fanned the flames ahead of the crunch clash when a video emerged online of him calling United’s Billy Sharp a ‘fat pig’.
Sharp responded by scoring both goals in the victory, sending his side seven points clear at the top of the division and extending his personal goal tally to 23 - the highest in all four divisions of English football.
And Anderson writes in the Bolton programme: “I had a strange feeling about the Sheffield United game all last week, particularly when they asked us to return half of our allocated tickets.
“We made our disappointment known to them in no uncertain way, but they had no intention of changing their minds.
“As you can imagine, I was even angrier when I saw the area that we should have had behind the goal half empty on Saturday. It is fairly obvious now that they didn’t want too many of our supporters there cheering us on.”
Sharp’s second goal came from the penalty spot after David Wheater had upended Carruthers, while Bolton boss Phil Parkinson - who also said that the Blades sub had dived - felt aggrieved that John Fleck was only booked for a mistimed, rather than malicious, challenge on Tom Thorpe.
“Obviously, it wasn’t one of our better performances and whilst I don’t like making excuses, I think that up until the penalty - which was a quite clearly a dive - we were still in the game,” Anderson added.
“Likewise, I am not sure how John Fleck did not receive his marching orders when he poleaxed Tom Thorpe which effectively ended his game a short time after.
“In regards their first goal, it ultimately came from us giving the ball away and a consequent rare slip by Mark Beevers and whilst I think it was a well taken chance by Billy Sharp, how many times have we seen balls bounce out when they hit the post?
“Although we lost out to Sheffield United, despite fielding an under strength team due to illness, suspensions and injuries, it’s worth reminding ourselves that we had beaten them twice already this season, so in terms of the league points gained against one another honours are even.
“As to who will be promoted, we shall wait until the end of the season, but I seem to recall that several seasons ago they were in a similar situation at the top of the league with a seemingly comfortable gap but ultimately lost out to bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday.
“As I keep saying, there will be lots of twists and turns before the end of the season.”
Carruthers, meanwhile, gave Wilder a welcome selection headache ahead of Saturday’s trip to Rochdale with a superb cameo against Bolton.
The former MK Dons man almost scored a wondergoal after running from the halfway line before hitting the side netting with his shot, and Wilder said: “Carruthers drove the game forward for us, gave us a bit of energy.
“Mark Duffy has been great for us, but that’s why we have players like Samir sat on our bench. We brought him on to shore things up, to be compact and that was obviously the role he went out there and played!
“I’m only joking, he was excellent.
“He gave us a spark and I think would have scored one of the best goals seen here for a long time if he had tucked that away.”
Meanwhile, United’s U23s must hope results elsewhere go in their favour if they are to progress from Group H of the Premier League Cup following last night’s defeat to Birmingham City at Bramall Lane.
A 3-1 victory last week between these two sides had put United in a commanding position to qualify for the next round, but Birmingham got their revenge with a 2-1 victory at Bramall Lane to dent the home side’s hopes.
United trailed from the seventh minute to Graham Kelly’s own goal, before Stephen Mallon curled into the top corner to level.
But Steve Seddon grabbed a winner just before half-time, leaving United relying on results elsewhere; for them to progress, they have to hope that Stoke fail to beat Reading in the final game in Group H.
The two sides were due to meet on Saturday, but the game was rained off. Louis Reed captained a relatively young Blades side last night, with George Long in goal.
Blades: Long, Charlesworth, Kelly, Doherty (Slater 63) Cantrill (Parkhouse 78), Cummings, T. Smith, Reed, Wright, Hallam (K. Smith 71), Mallon.
Unused: Hawkes, Eastwood, Parkhouse.