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Bolton's deadline day failure was a lack of sales, not signings

In recent weeks, Dougie Freedman's motto of "we have to sell to spend" has been repeated over and over with no loose changing hanging around the halls of the Reebok Stadium. The Trotters were always going to have to get rid of a player or two in order to bring in reinforcements. After the display at Ewood Park just two days prior though, is it really surprising that no one went?

Stu Forster

Cash flow, more often than not, causes issues. The problems, scaled to the individual's or group's needs, the amount of money coming in, and the amount that they want to spend, are often created because there is simply not enough coming in to justify sending it back out by spending. That is the problem that Bolton Wanderers ran into on Monday, the 2nd of September, when fans watched the lack of action from their team play out on Deadline Day.

While most expected something to happen, especially after the embarrassing loss at Blackburn Rovers at the weekend, it would not have been at all surprising to see absolutely no changes happen at the Reebok Stadium on what was the final day of the summer transfer window. That is exactly what happened, or rather, what didn't. The money spent column on deadline day read £0, as did the revenue column. There were no incoming players and there were no outgoing players.

It was, without a doubt, the most frustrating deadline day in recent memory. No one was asking for panic buys but over the course of this young Championship campaign, it is becoming clearer and clearer with every dropped point that Dougie Freedman's squad needs work. The strikers have not yet scored a goal in league play while the defenders have not yet kept a clean sheet and the midfielders, who are arguably the strongest group in the side, could not keep the ball. Deadline day was a chance to change that but nothing happened.

Bolton Wanderers failed on the day and there is not any doubt about that. The failure, however, was not in the empty "incoming players" list. It was in the "outgoing players" list next to it.

The Bolton News listed a few players that were supposedly free to leave with David Ngog, Matt Mills, Tyrone Mears, Tim Ream, and Zat Knight all named. Whether the manager went out of his way to individually call out those squad members remains to be seen but those were the ones that were most likely to be on their way out. Three of those five players started the match at Blackburn and failed to stop Bolton being cut apart by the Rovers midfielders. As the manager put it following the match, some of the players seemed to be much more concerned with themselves rather than the team effort:

"The players were told a few truths after the game. I've got to try and make sure there are players here that want to play for the football club.

"Right now, I've still got a feeling we've got to recruit two or three more players to get the right attitude in the squad. If certain players don't want to be here they go come Monday morning.

"It depends on if anybody goes out. We need to understand that we've got a lot of money tied up in big contracts and loan contracts and then generate some money.

"We've got to try to shuffle the pack and try to get the right type of player in here."

No players with the wrong attitude went out on Monday and thus there was no money to spend on the "two or three more players" that Freedman wanted to bring in. If those players "don't want to to be here," then they certainly shouldn't be. While a lot of that comes down to their personal drive and ability, it also comes down to the management and the ability to lift those players. If that can't happen, then it's time to move them on.

At the end of deadline day, there were no bids for Bolton players from outside parties despite fleeting interest in David Wheater by Middlesbrough and David Ngog by Swansea. The other players in the shopping window barely got a sniff, never mind a full look. Perhaps Bolton were not proactive enough in the market and not offering out said players. Perhaps there were glimpses at the shopping window from other clubs but they felt they were priced out. Should Bolton have subsidized the costs to some extent to sweeten the deal?

We do not and likely will not ever know exactly what happened on deadline day and why there was no movement from Bolton Wanderers. Without players going out, there were not going to be players coming in. We saw saw that late in the day as the Michael Kightly and Peter Ramage deals fell through at the 11th hour due to a lack of available funds. Hope is not yet lost for Bolton fans, however.

The Trotters now have 1.5 weeks to recover from not only the loss at Blackburn but from the failure of deadline day before they welcome Leeds United to the Reebok Stadium. They also have a chance to make some moves in the market with a loan window opening up next week. Bolton will not be able to permanently get rid of dead weight players but will at least have a chance to free up some cash for the season with loan moves out, which would also facilitate similar moves in.

Whether the loan market will provide a positive lasting effect for Bolton still remains to be seen but Wanderers fans known of the benefits and risks all too well. The hope now is that Dougie Freedman can unearth another Craig Dawson and not another Danny Butterfield to push the Trotters towards a chance at promotion.