I, for reasons which still aren't entirely clear to me, traveled near on 500 miles to go and watch Bolton Wanderers heroically defy all the odds and come away from the mighty Eastleigh having scraped a last minute equaliser. Despite being under the cosh for the majority of the 90 minutes, the Whites showed great character to hold on in face of such attacking prowess and bring things level in the dying minutes - earning a replay at the Macron Stadium.
Here are five things I took away from the experience:
1) We're doomed
And I'm not just talking about the spiralling debt, being on the edge of administration, selling our only good players and all the rest of it (the list is getting too long to actually remember these days). I'm solely on about everything that happens just on the pitch, we're absolutely doomed and League One is now the best we can hope for. We're simply atrocious, an embarrassment. Not one player could come off that pitch on Saturday with their head held high, and only a handful actually looked like they gave a fuck. Eastleigh genuinely played the better football and really should have won the game, if it weren't for the sprawling dives of Ben Amos and last ditch tackles of David Wheater we'd have lost that game - and we'd have deserved too. No complaints. I'm now of the opinion that, while the off field suff is obviously taken its toll, even if things were fine and rosey we wouldn't be any better. Leading on to my next point...
2) Neil Lennon is worse than Dougie Freedman and Gary Megson combined
Yep, I've said it and I believe it. Again talking about on the field stuff alone, the football this season has been far worse than anything spouted out by the ginger prick or the dourer prick. I'll forever despise Megson for Lisbon, but he did keep us in the Premier League twice, was the manager when we drew with Munich and beat Atletico and also brought in some of the clubs best recent players (and a lot of utter shit too, granted). Freedman is basically just a less shite Lennon, they both started spouting the worst excuses imaginable when things got hard - losing the qualities that endeared them to the Wanderers faithful in the beginning. After the Eastleigh tie Lennon actually used the pitch as an excuse even though both teams were, in fact, both playing on the same patch of muddy grass. Every time he opens his mouth he annoys me these days, and with every passing day he remains in charge I resent him even further. Just walk Lennon, you utter joke.
3) Fair play Eastleigh
On a bit of a lighter note, fair bloody play to Eastleigh. The club and all the volunteers did brilliant work to make that pitch "playable" and thus saved over 1000 Northerners a very miserable drive back home at about two o'clock in the afternoon. Yes, they really wanted that game on so they could reap all the revenue, but it still took a resounding effort to make it happen. I can only say, on behalf of all Wanderers fans, thank you. Also, a big thanks to those we met whilst out in Eastleigh Saturday night, shouting chants at each other across a bar and your condolences for how shit we are made the trip almost worth it.
4) Bolton fans are mad
Mad in a good way, mad in the best way. Despite the football genocide that was occurring on the pitch, being in that group of Bolton supporters made it one of the best away trips I've been on. Our fan base are the most self-loathing fan base I have ever come across and it's, quite easily, the best thing about the club. Songs calling ourselves shit in various tunes were echoing around Silverlake Stadium for the entirety of the game, "you're nothing special we lose every week" is a classic and we sung many over chants that made me, and also my friend who has never been in a Bolton crowd before, literally lol. My favourite, however, and probably the best bit of spontaneous humour ever from Bolton fans came after the brilliant pitch invade was finally captured: "sign him up, sign him up, sign him up!". That humour mixed in with stubborn pride made me very proud to be apart of such a fanbase. Please tell me your favourite chant of the day in the comments below.
5) RIP Kev
You will have no idea who Kev is, but in absence of anything football related worth talking about - here's the story. The four of us, at about 2:50pm with no pre-thought to this notion, sporadically decided to spend the night in Eastleigh. After the final whistle blew on the Manchester United v Sheffield United FA Cup tie, we decided to hit the wonderful town of Eastleigh. And yes, we did wind up in the Litten Tree, which is frequented by, putting it kindly, some reet weirdos. But before all that we stopped off in a pub while enroute to Eastleigh town centre.
After meeting that Eastleigh fan who was dressed as the queen and the luchador, we sat down and begrudgingly watched the 'highlights' of the match. Then one of our party clocked the juke box, being the rebellious Bolton fans we are, 'The Wanderer' and 'Amarillo' were selected to be played. As 'The Wanderer' was coming to its conclusion the music abruptly cut out. Bemused looks on our faces we wondered why our song had been turned off, and then the barman made an announcement. "Everyone, you know Kev you used to always come in and drink Old Speckled Hen? Well, we've had word that last night he fell down the stairs, landed on his head and died. So we'd like to have a minutes silence for him." Everyone solely lifted there glasses and mumbled "to Kev". We looked at each other in silence quite set aback by the development. Then the music was put back on and out blurred "IS THIS THE WAY TO AMARILLO? EVERY NIGHT I'VE BEEN HUGGING MY PILLOW."
We then quickly left.