Premier League Rumours and Gossip: Bolton, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Portsmouth

Posted by’s Mark Rivlin provides guest coverage of today’s Premier League rumours, news and gossip.

Just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, the fears of Bolton Wanderers fans have been realised. Gary Megson has been appointed their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

After just six weeks getting his desk into shape at Leicester City, and with no time to say hello to everybody, Megson said his farewells yesterday and travelled up to take charge at the Reebok Stadium, where, if local  opinion counts for anything, he’s hardly likely to receive a hero’s welcome.

According to that bastion of journalism, the Bolton Evening News, readers decided that Megson was not the man for the job. Hardly surprising given his mediocre performances over the past few years. He’ll be on a watching brief tonight (Thursday) for the UEFA Cup match against Braga and take will take over from caretaker boss Archie Knox for the home game against Aston Villa on Sunday. Mission – to get Bolton out of bottom place in the Premier League. Chances – don’t put the mortgage on it.

‘Martin Jol sacked by the board’ (The Sun). Not the real board, but the Monopoly version. The Dutch boss is not included in the new set – surely the way his team have been playing lately he would fit in nicely on the Water Works slot, and certainly the comeback at home against Aston Villa should merit a ‘Get out of Jail’ card.

Chelsea are looking at whether they could build a new stadium on the site of BBC’s Television Centre (BBC). The price of the site is around £300m and reports that it is being funded by a BBC phone-in are not true.

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp believes striker Dimitar Berbatov is contributing to Tottenham’s current plight and has told Spurs counterpart Jol: “You’re better off without him”. (Daily Express)

And Redknapp said in his column in The Sun: “The very last thing Martin Jol needs right now is Dimitar Berbatov spitting his dummy out because he’s not in Tottenham’s starting team every week. We all saw what Berbatov is made of when he was sat sulking on the bench at Newcastle the other night with a face like a big baby.”

Harry added: “You only find out the true character of your players when the chips are down and the pressure is on.”

Now why would Redknapp be sniffing around the debris of north London? Could it be that by advising the Spurs boss to rid himself of Berbatov that the Pompey supremo wouldn’t mind having the brilliant striker on the south coast? The only answer to that scenario is of course, that however badly Spurs are playing, and even their most loyal fans agree that they are in a slump, the north Londoners are a far bigger club than Portsmouth will ever be.

Terry Venables is one of the names in the ring to replace sacked Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton. (Daily Mirror). You just can’t keep the chirpy, cheeky Cockney sparra out of the football gossip pages. The rather limp handshake between Venables and his boss (sic) Steve McClaren following the mess in Moscow spoke volumes about where Venables probably thinks he should be – in a hot seat of one kind or another. But whether the FAI are looking for a coach who is probably past his sell-by date is another matter.

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks says Rafael Benitez still has the full backing of the club despite the Champions League setback at Besiktas (Sporting Life). Hicks, who owns the club with George Gillett, told Sky Sports News: “We back Rafa. He’s the right manager. We had a disappointing loss because we got outplayed by the Turks.” But after the defeat in Istanbul, Liverpool fans may concur that the Spaniard is ‘not the Bosphorus’.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has virtually assured prime minister Gordon Brown that England will host the 2018 World Cup (various) Oh yes? And David Beckham will be the captain! It might be better for the prime minister to hang on and see how the Olympics go in 2012 (or should I say how the Olympics’ money goes up to 2012) before committing himself to another national  embarrassment.