Bolton Wanderers’ Championship campaign has certainly been one to forget. The beleaguered Trotters finding themselves propping up the second-tier standings, and face inevitable relegation to League One.
Since my last Shoot blog; Jimmy Phillips has been tasked to oversee the club through until the end of the season on an interim basis, whilst former player Peter Reid was also appointed in a Football Advisory role, neither of whom made an immediate difference as the Wanderers were thrashed 6-0 away to Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
The international break of last week provided an escapism to the league troubles that Bolton have faced throughout the last eight months, however all thoughts now turn to the remainder of a season, starting with the visit of Reading at the Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Negativity has overshadowed absolutely everything on and off the field of play this term, these circumstances have ultimately seen Bolton endure some of the darkest days that I have witnessed as a supporter.
Fortunately, the ownership of the club was resolved without the realisation of administration – Dean Holdsworth’s Sports Shield saved the former Premier League side from being wound-up, and within days decided to get shut of Neil Lennon after 17 mixed months for the now departed Northern Irishman – that is perhaps the only positive in a season which also saw the untimely death of former chairman Phil Gartside.
More recently, the financial difficulties have caught up with Bolton. They have had to cut costs by allowing Liam Feeney to see out his contract on loan at Ipswich Town, whilst midfield terrier Jay Spearing has also seen his career at the club come to an abrupt premature conclusion.
Spearing, who signed on a permanent basis in August 2013 having spent the previous season on loan from Liverpool, is the subject of contract clause from his former employers at Anfield, who are due £100,000 if he made another appearance in a white jersey – a far cry from his signing on transfer fee of £1.5m.
Games are rapidly running out this season; Wanderers are now 12 points adrift of the safety mark with just eight fixtures left, and the players who represent the club should be playing for their own pride, as well as their personal futures as professionals.
In theory, professional football should involve a large amount of pride whilst wearing the shirt of the particular club who they are employed by.
Unfortunately, a vast majority of this squad haven’t looked bothered, or shown any form of desire to fight for the cause for the longevity of the campaign.
Yes; admittedly the battle to try and attempt a survival bid may be ever decreasing, but in terms of the long-term plan, these individuals need to start pulling their weight in the closing weeks of what has been a torrid season for everyone involved, in order to:
A) – Stay at the club and help with a pending re-building process in the third-tier next season, or
B) – Attempt to find alternative employment during the forthcoming summer months.
After losing five of their last seven games in the Championship, morale is obviously at a low ebb, though taking one game at a time, and attempting to restore a sense of togetherness in the closing weeks could go a long way in helping Bolton Wanderers stand on their own two feet.