For Bolton, the battle is between the heart and the bottom line

Tony Marshall

It's safe to say that just about every single Bolton Wanderers fan was disappointed in some way or another on trade deadline day. Maybe Dougie Freedman didn't please you with his lack of signings, or maybe there was that one player you were ready to give up that stayed. Whatever it may be, the lack of activity that we saw is anything but inspiring for the rest of this season. It's not rocket science to figure out that Bolton Wanderers are lacking vital pieces of our puzzle, but just how far will the fans go prove their unhappiness and, if anything, should we be picky about what comes next?

I've seen many people say that when it comes to football and specific players, there's no room for emotion. Some of you might know from one of my past articles that I disagree with emotion having no say, but during a period of transfers and sales, just how emotional is too emotional? As fans, we all want what's best for our teams but does that mean having no connections to the players at all? It's our team and we should be expecting the best, but that being said, it's our team and these are our players. We represent the same club and bleed for the same badge, how could we not feel a kinship?

There's a catch 22 waiting to happen there though: the fans give their time and money to the club and thus deserve to be listened to, kept in the loop, and represented properly. We've got everything and nothing to lose, but a majority of the players that we root for are being paid quite the sum of money to go out there and represent us. That's where football becoming a business ends up hurting the fans. We get emotional, we expect the best, and when we don't get it, we automatically assume that our players don't care because they're still being paid. That, there, is being too emotional in the worst way possible.

But as it works in football, and in life, every downside has its own upside. Being overemotional may never work in your favor, but there's a miracle every once in a while. Take the case with Jay Spearing. We grew to love him as one of our own during his loan stint with Wanderers, and when the time came, the fans showed that love and here he is with us again. We expected Dougie to give us the best and he did, but it can't always be like that. We can't grow attached to loanees or to players who are on sale and moan when we don't get them; for most players coming in on loans, we are a stepping-stone; for us, they are a saving grace. The real test of being a fan is learning to love the team of players you have, even if it's not the one you want.

For every fan like me that grows attached to every person wearing that crest, there are those who keep an arms length between themselves and players. While I find it impossible to do, it's been done. The issue with that to me is that I feel like (and correct me if I'm wrong) that's when you're more susceptible to not enjoying the game. Without an emotional connection, are they real human beings representing the team you love, or players doing what they love for quick cash? We have to understand that while they are being paid a good sum of money to play, they don't have to play for us. We should, to a certain extent, be grateful that they're playing and trying to win for us.

Basically, we're in the gutter. We didn't have a say in that regard because I know that if given the choice, none of us would have chosen to be here. But we're here and we have one choice, to look up and stand behind who we have or, well, get comfortable.

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