Due to unforeseen traffic problems, I ended up not attending Bolton Wanderers' first friendly on English soil, but never the less, thanks to following the game on Twitter and the highlights, I did learn a few things.
1) Ticket Prices
Maybe it's because this is my first year being thrown into the harsh realities of being an 18-year old, so therefore I now count as an adult at most football grounds, but TEN FUCKING QUID for a friendly is absolutely ridiculous. I can't be the only one who thinks this, right? Surely this isn't normal? I understand why small League Two clubs would want to cash in and squeeze as much money as possible from a bigger club visiting their stadium, but I simply can't abide by £10 to watch a game that ultimately has next to no meaning.
It has got to stop.
2) Lawrie Wilson
I was reminiscing the other day about my first ever post as a writer for LoVS. "The Fullback Blues", it was entitled, coming after Bolton's rather disapointing draw to lowly Yeovil Town. It detailed just how hopeless the Whites were in full back areas. Nearly a year and a half later and the problem still hasn't been fixed.
At present we still actually don't have a first team right back in the squad and, as the match against Morecambe displayed, our only natural left back is pretty bad too - but I will let Moxey off a bit since it was only a friendly. We never replaced Marcos Alonso at left back and I can't remember the last good right back we had, it's a serious issue that needs addressing.
So perhaps Lawrie Wilson is the answer to those problems, at least for the short term. The right back, who was released by Charlton Athletic this summer, started on the bench for the Whites at the Globe Arena but was given a half an hour run out towards the end.
He's solid and very experienced, I'd be quite happy if we did bring him in to fill that troublesome right back position.
3) Stephen Dobbie
Speaking of trialists, Stephen Dobbie is another one who I think I'd take in at the Macron. When it was first revealed that he was on trial at the Whites I was very skeptical. Dobbie spent the best part of last season on loan at League One side Fleetwood Town, and he didn't exactly set the world alight whilst he was there, netting four times in 27 games.
However, after the way he's played in the last three friendlies for the Whites, I've actually come around on the idea. As I said on last week's LOVpod, however depressing it may be, he will be a good replacement for Eidur Gudjohnsen. He's versatile, able to play anywhere across the midfield or upfront, he can pick out a pass and he's got a wealth of experience, especially at this level.
His goal against Morecambe was well taken, and I have a feeling he may actually become an important member of our team if Neil Lennon chooses to offer him a deal.
I know it's pre-season and I am by absolutely no means judging the former Real Madrid Castilla defender yet, especially since I haven't seen him play with my own two eyes yet, but I am slightly worried about Derik.
The comparison is quite uncanny, but he is genuinely reminiscent of when Ivan Campo first joined the club and was playing centre back. It was Derik who made the clumsy mistake, a weak back pass to the goalkeeper, which allowed Morecambe to score their winner on Friday night, but mistakes can happen and it isn't that what concerns me. From what I've seen, admittedly not enough to judge a player at all, his positioning seems woeful.
We've conceded a few goals this summer that have been due to Derik not even being near the right place, so it is troubling. But, as I said, I'm in no way judging him, writing him off as shite, or overly criticising him in the slightest, just voicing some initial concerns. If does turn out to be bad after all the excitement then I think I may die, so I'm praying he doesn't.
5) Bolton being shite in pre-season
As you all are probably aware of by now I'm a Bolton fan of tender years, coming into my 9th or 10th season this year I believe, so, have we always been this crap in pre-season? At least in my mind we have, I genuinely can't tell you the last good pre-season we had. Oh, there was that time we won a trophy against Toronto, was that one alright?
I guess what I'm trying to get at here is: I've always been a subscriber to the notion that pre-season results do not matter in the slightest, but now I am really torn on the matter. The last few years we've had horrible pre-seasons in terms of results, and then gone on to have horrible seasons. Surely there is some form of correlation there, no? Rob wrote a great article on this subject and made a lot of good points (read by clicking here) and I just really am of two minds on the subject.
What do you think about the importance of pre-season results? Or indeed about anything in regards to the points I've made? Let me know in the comments below.