This is going to be a summer of change, Wanderers. We've already seen the big changes to the squad, and the CEO has stepped down, now the backroom staff is taking a turn. After 16 years of affiliation with the club, 8 of those being a full time employee, Fred Barber, goalkeeping coach, has reportedly severed ties with the club. In a way, it's not surprising at all that Barber's exit coincides with Jussi Jaaskelainen's, as the man had a huge role in the big Finn's rise to greatness.
Barber looked poised to leave the club in 2010, when Owen Coyle was appointed manager and wanted to bring his own backroom staff with him from Burnley, including goalkeeping coach Phil Hughes. If the stories are to be believed, Jussi himself threw up a protest and ensured that Barber stayed on with the club. While it's impossible to tell exactly how much of an effect a coach has on a player, it's certain that Jussi owes a lot of his stunningly solid career, and Wanderers legend status to the man behind that scenes.
Bolton Wanderers have suffered a loss in Fred Barber, but on the whole I still believe change is good. A lot of the criticism last season centered around the quality of the backroom staff, especially in the area of fitness. Last week it was announced that sports rehabilitator Harry Brooke would also not be with the club next season. As Coyle builds a new team on the pitch, he should also build a new team around him to help with tactics, substitution, and basic form, all things nearly every Bolton player struggled with last season.
It has not been announced yet where Barber's future lies, but wherever it may be we wish him all the best, and are undyingly grateful that his hands helped mold Jussi Jaaskelainen.