It is at points like this when I start to wonder how much some people understand about where Bolton Wanderers are these days. We are no longer a Premier League club being bank rolled by a rich local businessman. We are instead a Championship club on a small budget trying to make ends meet and survive.
Neil Lennon came to the club in the wake of Dougie Freedman’s long overdue sacking. During the distasteful Scot’s reign Bolton’s style of play had become horrendous, painful to watch and thoroughly ineffective. The youth conveyor belt had ground to a resounding halt and the squad was desperately under preforming.
Just over one year on we have a style of play people can connect with again. A simple style with the potential to be very effective. At times this season Bolton have been unbelievably unlucky not to take more points from games. While results are all important Bolton are playing in a way which makes me believe they will start coming.
Not only that but the young players are coming through or knocking on the door. Zach Clough who Freedman said was not ready had more defenders on him in the Nottingham Forest game than Lionel Messi does on an average run out. Josh Vela who was nearly forced to leave the club became a key player last season and a constant member of the match day 18 this.
Youngsters are playing in the knowledge that once they are ready they will be in the squad. There seems to be a plan in place for the development of Bolton’s bright young talents. Jamie Thomas is amongst those said to have a clear development strategy in place. And these plans culminate with the player in our first team squad.
Although Bolton have had bad days this season Lennon is also getting far more out of the players in the squad which he inherited from Freedman. Along with the new additions this does look like a squad capable of competing in this division if everything can just click into place for them. I’m not saying by that we have a play-off or better squad right now. But we do have a squad that can go on a run and pull us out of danger.
Even if that does not happen soon who out there would do a better job than Mr Lennon?
Carlo Ancelotti expressed an interest but we are simply too big a club for him. Jurgen Klopp was poached from under our nose by local minnows Liverpool after declaring Bolton to be his dream job. And Sir Alex Ferguson said that only the chance to manage Bolton could tempt him out of retirement, but backed out after he was embarrassed by the size of the wage package on offer.
In case anyone is unclear that there is called sarcasm. Bolton are not in a position to attract the best managers around at all, obviously. And the club pulled off a real coup in landing Lennon who is without a doubt a Klopp level appointment for a club of our size, maybe even a bigger coup than that. We also cannot offer good wages to a manager most likely in comparison with many of our Championship rivals. So how are we meant to convince a good Championship manager to risk his reputation on us?
There is no one out there, in my humble opinion, who would do better who would be interested right now in the Bolton job. We are not an attractive proposition for a manager in our current state. Lennon is as good as it will get and people should deal with that whatever they think of the job he is doing.
There is a chance that this season will be a long season and that it will not click. The club may not be able to pull away from the relegation zone for much of the campaign. And that is exactly why the club needs to stick together at all levels.
It is blindingly obvious that whatever the season holds for us home form is going to be the lynch pin. That means that the Macron Stadium has to contain a united voice in support of Neil Lennon and his players. That is why Lennon bashing has to stop now before it reaches a harmful point, and people have to unite behind Bolton Wanderers Football Club.
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