In the fifth part of this 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.
This part revolves around whether we, under the command of Dougie Freedman, can expect a promotion challenge next season. Stop laughing you at the back.
Whether you agree or disagree.....feel free to use the comments box below.
5) Can Bolton Wanderers Mount a Promotion Challenge Next Season?
I hope so.
We almost managed it at the end of Dougie Freedman's first season in charge. Only some baffling squad selections and tactical tweaks cost us in that final game draw against neighbours Blackpool.
This season, as mentioned previously, has been a tremendous disappointment given the achievements of the 2012/13 campaign.
So can we win promotion next year?
Burnley and Leicester City have shown us that you do not necessarily have to have the most expensively-assembled squad....ahem QPR......but if you are well drilled, well prepared and can draw out consistent performances from your squad then you are free and able to achieve whatever you want.
Bolton Wanderers have, with the best will in the world, suffered from having none of those attributes. We have been, at various parts of the season, atrocious defensively, had a team who looks like they only found out about who is playing an hour before the game, and we've been utterly inconsistent.
So yes, I believe we can earn promotion to the Premier League next season, but that we need to make changes and make them fast.
I was delighted that we signed Jay Spearing last summer, but in my opinion we signed him too late. I would love us to conclude our business in time for the new signings to have a full pre-season to bed in and settle.
I know Spearing was here with us last year but arguably his best performances this season have come towards the end of the campaign once he was back fully in the groove.
I've discussed my thoughts on the playing staff and the manager in previous posts, but there can be little doubt that we are geared up for promotion, in the main.
Our infrastructure is sound, and we have experience of the top flight in our very recent history. I know this counts for nothing really, but I do honestly believe it should engender a top flight mentality in those who work within that system. Maybe not Jermaine Beckford, but fuck Jermaine.
To bring all the threads from this lengthy series together, I believe it all matches up:
1) The manager - obvz. Massive role to play. If we can get Dougie Freedman of the 2012/13 season, with his ability to pluck results out of his arse then great. If we get 2013/14 who plucks bad results out of the same orifice then we'll be set for more mid-table mediocrity I fear.
2) Ch-ch-ch-changes - I hope that this, linked to the above, comes together and in turn moves on to part 3 below.
3) Consistency - The key element, I believe. We've shown that we can go on winning runs just as adequately as we have shown that we're competent losers. So long as the right manager makes the right changes and gains this magical and mysterious consistency then there is no reason why we cannot get promoted.
4) The fans - we all pull in the same direction then we can all benefit.
All 'should' equal promotion.
With the teams dropping down from the Premier League bringing in better players and crucially having more money than us then we must look to the inspiration of Burnley in particular in order to better our present situation.
It's definitely do-able, they have shown us the way and we must follow. If we can and if we do then there is absolutely no reason why we cannot be promoted at the end of the next season.
The dream is to get back into the Premier League, where happiness and riches await the virtuous, and us.