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GONE: The Rob Hall Conundrum

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As Wanderers wave bye-bye to Dougie's pet project, Chris has a look at why it didn't work for the former Hammer

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So it seems like he's gone.

I'm writing this at 4pm, with the deal taking Bolton Wanderers' 21 year old winger to MK Dons for the rest of the 2014/15 league season. If the deal is confirmed between now and publication then just pretend that I knew that all along.

Right? Cheers.

Anyway, the West Ham United academy graduate has long been a divisive figure amongst Wanderers fans, with some of us thinking that he is pretty rubbish, and others knowing that he is.

But what happened to make it end like this?

He joined the club on an 'emergency loan' at the end of March 2013, virtually two years ago to the day. He made just one appearance that season, but it was a memorable one - a home debut against Blackpool in a game that had Bolton won would have meant qualification for the Play Offs. It didn't work out, as Bolton drew 2-2 with an ineffective Hall substituted by then-manager Dougie Freedman after 37 minutes. It was a sign of things to come.

Bizarrely, the deal was made permanent that summer, with Wanderers and West Ham having a convoluted agreement ratified by tribunal - the key points being:

* Initial fee of £450,000

* A further £250,000 if they win promotion to the Premier League up to and including the 2015/16 season.

* £2,500 for each of his first 100 Championship appearances for the club, although that total will rise to £10,000 per game if promotion is achieved.

*West Ham will also be entitled to 20% of the profit made from any future sale of the player at any stage in the future.

So we can reasonably understand that Hall has cost Bolton Wanderers in the region of £510,000 thus far. This is made up of a £450,000 downpayment, and another £60,000 in appearance money (24 games at £2,500 a pop). Not to mention any sort of sign-on fee or his wages.

A complete waste of money? I think so.

Hall has never truly settled at the club. His on-field performances have been weak and ineffectual, and the less said about his off-field antics the better (if you like salacious gossip, then a cursory search of Twitter will see you right). A firm lover of cheeky visits to Nandos, a lover of selfies whilst flashing the 'peace' sign, and possessor of a quasi-Joe Pasquale voice - he's quite the curious orange. Truly a modern footballer. He refers to football boots as 'wheels' and no doubt calls his car a 'whip'.

He has turned out for MK Dons before - Hall joined them in 2011 and made just two appearances before being sent back to West Ham by Dons boss Karl Robinson. He must be hoping that the player returning to the club is a different one than was involved nearly four years ago.

Hall has struggled to win over the Bolton faithful, and his sporadic appearances for the first team have shown why, perhaps, he has also struggled to win over the management - be it Freedman or his successor, Neil Lennon.

For me, the player was a poor signing in the first place. Given Wanderers' famous lack of funds, to splash nearly half a million quid on a lad who had only ever played the odd game for West Ham, and who had given fairly forgettable service to MK Dons, Oxford United and Birmingham City, it was a typical Freedman buy - by this I mean he was a prospect (supposedly) whom Dougie could work his famed 'magic' upon.

As we know, two years down the line and a mere 24 appearances later at an approximate cost of £21,000 per game, he will soon become a footnote in the club's history. I can't see any tears being shed at his departure, though we of course do wish him the very best of luck in his future endeavours.

Personally, he will go with my best wishes, but it'll be a long time til the memory of his performance against Bury in the League Cup earlier this season is washed away. Never before have I witnessed such cowardice on a football field, and I have spent years watching Robbie Savage.

Good luck Rob.