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The Blame Game: A Conspiracy Theory

Guest writer, Jamie Moss, returns once more with a theory as to why we always starts seasons slowly.

This is all too familiar isn't it?

A slow start to the season and suddenly the blame game is up and running once again. I have the Bolton Wanderers FC Fan App and a notification popped up on my phone asking:

"Where has it gone wrong for Bolton so far this season? Who is to blame for the club's poor start?"

With only four league games and a league cup tie gone I have to say that personally I am not unduly worried as of yet. I did not have particularly high hopes for this season and I am not surprised we have started slowly. I expected us to lose to both Derby County and Middlesbrough so was perfectly happy to get a point from one of those games.

On top of that Burton Albion are a team on the up having been promoted last season and had won their opening game of the League One season, so were always going to be a potential stumbling block.  MK Dons have had a surprisingly good start to the season too, currently sitting in the playoff places, and despite having Dougie Freedman as a manager Nottingham Forest have somehow managed a solid start to the season.

So this raises the question of is anyone really to blame?

Clearly goals haven't been flowing so people can look at Neil Lennon or the strikers. But MK Dons have only conceded two goals in four games, Derby three and Middlesbrough two. So we clearly haven't been playing teams leaking goals like Rotherham have - conceding ten already.

So who else is to blame? I could speculate as to a series of other reasons, but instead I am going to blame something else, and in doing so set up my conspiracy theory.

Something completely beyond the control of our great club is to blame and that is the fixture computer. The opening month of this season has games against the two favourites for promotion. A talented Forest side, admittedly with something of a handicap. Along with a team which has had a good start to life in the Championship in MK Dons.

Last season we started against Watford who it is fair to say had a decent season gaining promotion. We also played a talented Forest side with a new striker who cost more than our entire squad probably did in Britt Assombalonga. We then played Middleborough who also had a very good, season reaching the playoff final.

So again the fixture computer was not kind to us. Now I know that last season's poor start did not end after the first three games, but playing three of the division's better sides to open the season is hardly going to build confidence when we inevitably lose.

Go back to the 2013-2014 season and we started at Burnley who were of course promoted. Then Reading came to town and they missed out on the playoffs by only one position. Then in the next few fixtures we played another promoted side in Queens Park Rangers and another of the playoff teams Brighton and Hove Albion.

Look back a few years before that to our calamitous last season in the promised land we played five of the previous seasons top six teams in the opening eight fixtures of the season. Hardly the best way to start a season and it didn't get much better!

So I think that if anything should be blamed for our poor start to the season then it is the fixture computer which clearly has it out for us...

But the main point of writing this isn't to find something to blame for our poor start but simply to ask why some are already in crisis mode and why are notifications like that popping up on my phone.

It's not like the team have not been playing well, with the exception of 30 minutes against Boro. Unlike under Freedman when the players were not fighting and the team was not playing well, Bolton have looked good this season but just struggled to get the results and score goals. I think rather than trying to play the blame game at this early point in the season we should take the positives and keep some belief.

Why don't we save the 'crisis mode' for when there actually is one?

By @Jamie_Moss123