With the recent departure of Matt Mills from the Macron Stadium, Bolton Wanderers find them selves with out a captain already in place for the upcoming season, so therefore Neil Lennon has the difficult choice of deciding who he'll give the armband to this summer.
Here are the options I reckon he could consider:
Here's my choice, isn't it obvious? Hey, you moaning and sighing, shut up and let me explain my self. Tim Ream played more matches than anyone for the Whites last year, in his three and a half years for the club he's hardly ever missed a game and as we all know, he's one of the most consistent players in the squad - Mr 7/10. If you want a dependable and reliable man to lead the club next year, then there isn't a better choice than Ream. Oh, and he's great. I will concede, however, that Ream does seem like a quieter member of the squad, although I still feel he could be a captain that leads by example, and he's also often not looked too composed or comfortable when handed responsibility.
When I was planning this piece I didn't think Darren Pratley would still be around to be a candidate, but it would seem that instead of leaving the club for another, Dazza Prazza has opted to sign a new deal at the Macron Stadium. This is obviously a very positive piece of news for Lennon and supporters, as perhaps the driving force of last season's brief upturn in form will be staying at the club. Now I wonder, will Lennon reward his loyalty by awarding Pratley the armband? It would be one hell of a rise from the laughing stock that he's been for the majority of the time at the club, but it'd absolutely be a deserved one. Pratley has the experience, stature, position, playing style and quality (at least he has whilst Lennon's been in charge) which all suit a captain, it just all depends on if Lennon sees him as a fit leader, if he can get back to the fine form he was in before his injury and if he himself is willing to take on the burden/honour.
Could there be a better representative to be the captain of Bolton Wanderers than Eidur Gudjohnsen? Not in my book. The man oozes class and demands respect just from his mere presence, add that to his wealth of experience and obvious ties to the club, and he would make the perfect captain. Although, it does remain to be seen just how much game time Eidur, should he sign a new contract, will get next year. It's sure to be a considerable amount, but you wouldn't expect him to, and rightfully so, be starting every game, which I feel you need from a captain.
Don't snigger, okay? Yes, I know it sounds weird and perhaps a bit embarrassing, but Heskey could be a genuine candidate for the captaincy. Much like Gudjohnsen, Heskey has years of priceless experience that he can easily use to help all the players in the squad, let alone the youngsters. Also, he was probably the vice captain that wore the armband the most times last season, so Lennon obviously appreciates his leadership qualities. The obvious down sides are that he, also like Eidur, probably won't be starting as many games next season (you'd hope at least) and other people, not me, will hate the idea of Heskey being captain because it's Heskey.
Although when we poised this question to friend of the site, Marc Iles, back on #LOVpod 10, and he thought that Vela isn't the right sort of character to be a leader of the team, I still believe he could be a candidate. On the pitch, Vela is a lion who never scares away from a tackle or hard running for the team, and giving the armband to a player who has risen through the youth ranks and into the first team would send quite a signal of intent from Lennon. It'd also make the fans burst with pride at seeing one of our own wear the armband once more. However, as Marc said, he doesn't seem like the extroverted person you want as a captain. Also, the captaincy can add great pressure onto a player, we've seen in the past how some haven't been able to cope with it, and there's no telling whether Vela would be able to or not. Perhaps it's best to let him concentrate on his football.
I guess that technically Jay Spearing is actually still the official captain of the club. It does seem incredibly unlikely, but if when Spearing returns to training for pre-season, and Lennon thinks that he's made a considerable improvement, then there still might be a future for Spearing at the club just yet. I don't believe Spearing is particularly well suited to being captain, but at the very least he does have experience of being one and Lennon may decide to keep him as captain, to avoid having to pick anyone else, if he does stay.
A new signing
Who knows, maybe Lennon will decide that non of his players are suitable or capable to don the sacred arm band next season, and he may look at one of his new recruits to add some leadership and balls to a team desperately lacking in them. Unfortunately, with Bolton yet to officially make a signing as of yet, and with top target Craig Morgan, formerly captain of Rotherham United, joining Wigan Athletic, I can't exactly analyse the credentials of any new signings just yet.
So there you have it, the options I'd personally consider to be the next man chosen to lead out the Bolton Wanderers team on match days. Who do you think should be captain? Have I left someone noteable off the list of potential candidates? Let me know in the poll and comments below.