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5 Things We Learned: Bolton Wanderers 2013/14 - Part Four

Chris continues his look back at the 2013/14 season...again again

Michael Steele

In the fourth part of this be-damned series, I have taken a look back at the recently completed 2013/14 league campaign for my beloved Bolton Wanderers and broken down what we can learn from it and placed these brainfarts in five handy and semi-easily-digestable portions.

Part Four takes a look at revolves around the role of the fans in all this.

Are we too quick to judge? Are we in some cases too passive?

Again, whether you agree or disagree.....feel free to use the comments box below.


4) The Role of the Fans

We're not the brightest bunch.

I'm sorry if you are offended by that, but I think it's true. Don't believe me? Search for 'Official BWFC' on Facebook and check out some of the comments made by fans.

Now I am going to mainly discuss the fans in stadium here, but Bolton Wanderers fans on Facebook - be ashamed of yourselves.

The role of the fans is often discussed by the club's management when speaking to the press. Whether it's regarding the fans reaction to a win, reaction to a defeat, or behaviour towards our own players, the behaviour of the club's supporters is always a relevant topic of discussion.

Most recently we have see manager Dougie Freedman come out in staunch defence of on-loan Millwall man Liam Trotter, who came under fire from many supporters (including myself) for a series of frankly diabolical performances. In fairness to the lad, he hasn't bowed to the reactions of some of the more fervent supporters, and his performances have improved of late.

I have no problem with the manager telling the fans that they're wrong, or that they need to be more patient with the club's players - but I think this cuts both ways.

The manager and players should also, in my opinion, respect those of the fans. We might not be right, but we have the right to a voice.

Conversely, there have been moments in the season where our support has been phenomenal. As a Saturday shift worker I am unable to attend away games, but a good friend of mine (I have three) assures me that the atmosphere generated by the travelling Bolton Wanderers supporters in the 5-1 away drubbing of Leeds United was something truly special.

The manager the players often speak of how important it is to them to have a loud away support and in my opinion ours is one of the best. What we may lack in numbers we make up for in noise and in support. It's not a unique phenomenon where away supporters are considered to be the 'hardcore' within the fanbase. There was an article online just the other week from a Manchester United supporter who considering the away fans to be the hardcore, and the home fans the 'tourists'.

So many of my favourite Bolton games from past seasons have been hand in hand with great atmospheres. Those night games against Arsenal when we were in the Premier League for example - to borrow a phrase these were 'White Hot' nights and some that I'll personally never forget.

Our crowds have averaged out over the season at a moderately respectable 16,000 which of course is backed by all kinds of economic circumstances given Bolton's current status as a less than affluent town. I would love this to be increased, and I think the club are doing all they can to support this, but the only real way to get bums on seats is by winning football matches.

I remember once giving my season ticket to my brother for a game against Liverpool that I couldn't attend through work. Due to a change in my shifts I ended up going to the game and purchased a ticket for £42. Imagine that these days. For £42 I'd expect to be in the starting eleven.

The fans have a huge role to play and I do believe that our lot have it within them to push the team on in the direction that we all hope to head towards.

This season has seen a return to some of the terrace scuffles that marked the end of the Gary Megson tenure. I sit in the East Stand Lower and this has been an unsavoury part of supporting the Whites this season. Of course the frustrations felt by the fans has to find an outlet somewhere, but we all support the same team, and scrapping amongst ourselves is not really on.

The antipathy and outright negativity that accompanied the 'lap of appreciation' at the end of the Birmingham game summed up the attitude of many that the poor season needs immediate rectification next year - a quick start being essential for both fans, club and manager.

So going forward I think the fans can and will find that extra voice. The considerations given across the English game towards a return to standing sections will, in my opinion, help facilitate this.

Bolton Wanderers fans - if you have sat on your hands over the last few months......start clapping!