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5 Ways to Fix Bolton Wanderers - Part 1

Chris, like the meerkat motherfudder he is, rises above the parapet to propose ways in which the club can right itself.

Chris Brunskill

Bolton Wanderers Football Club is in a funk.

A right funk.

We're the proud owners of one point from five league games. Our players are currently living it up in Ibiza, no doubt combining warm weather training with early nights and games of Marvel Super Heroes Top Trumps.

The disconnect felt between fans and the club hasn't been this pronounced in a generation, and it's hard to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

However, the situation is not irretrievable. Here is my five point plan to fix Bolton Wanderers.

You lucky kids get one per day, so don't waste 'em.

1) Transparency at the top

It seems that nobody likes Phil Gartside. The current Wanderers chairman has been in position since October 1999 - meaning that he is coming up to his 15th anniversary as club custodian.

I don't think anyone will be suggesting a party to commemorate his anniversary.

He has often been viewed with suspicion from the massed Wanderers fans who saw his regular TV appearances (mainly during the club's Premier League years) as attention-seeking. Something perhaps borne out by conspicuous absence in recent times. His 'Premiership 2' proposal made him a figure of fun in the wider footballing community.

However it is his overseeing of the current malaise that has brought the most ire upon his head. The successive appointments of Sammy Lee, Gary Megson, Owen Coyle and Dougie Freedman has meant that the chairman's stock has never been lower.

But it can be revived.

During times of crisis, we look to our leaders to show strength, to guide, to inspire.

Throughout the years, the chairman has had to face terrace allegations of underhand behaviour with regards to the club's finances. His own remuneration package is a familiar stick with which he is beaten.

Transparency is the key.

Should the chairman decide to put a brave face on, and offer the fans a platform to express their feelings, then I think he could begin to win the PR battle that his silence is currently losing, and losing badly.

Fan forums have been a popular event in the BWFC social calendar in recent years. I appreciate that the present atmosphere might not be conducive to a friendly Q&A, but to bury one's head in the sand at a time of crisis can only make things worse.

I think an open Q&A with the chairman would allow fans to express themselves and find an outlet for their emotions. As chairman it is up to Mr Gartside to make sure that the 'customers' (us fans) are satisfied. Nothing quells anger like release.

Transparency can take many forms, but the war is usually won with small victories, and a full and frank debate with fans would, in my opinion, go a long way to solving this particular problem.

Much has been made of the contribution of Wanderers' chairman Eddie Davies in recent years. We owe the man a great deal, but his silence is beginning to speak volumes.

Despite his great contribution to the mighty Whites over the years, he too has had to face criticism from supporters with regard to his plans for long-term stability.

The club is currently running at a massive debt, with the majority being owed to Davies.

I have often likened the debt to owing your dad £100. You know the debt is there, and so does he, but he's not going to come chasing you for it.

However, with Davies position being that Wanderers currently owe him the best part of £150m, it's time that clarity was provided over the long-term future of the debt, and the club.

The comments about his interest in off-shore debt consolidation - in the Caribbean - have dogged Davies for years. The interest levels charged on the debt have also led to accusations that he is milking Wanderers, rather than being the benevolent 'Uncle Eddie' that he might be perceived as.

A common question is 'what happens when Eddie wants his money back?'.

A statement from the media-shy Davies would give peace of mind to doubters, and would allay fears as to whether we're going to have a club to support in 30 years time.

I wish no harm to Eddie Davies and hope he's around for a long time, but I wouldn't half mind knowing what his and his families plans are for the club should he no longer be in a position to prop us up.

Check back tomorrow, for Part 2: Off the Pitch Remedies