Due to having my final January exam and then going straight back to sleep afterwards yesterday, I was blissfully unaware of the shit storm that ravaged through Bolton Twitter until much later on in the evening. The shit storm blew in direction of the Supporters' Trust and, personally, it's really fucking annoyed me.
It all occurred after the BWFCST announced that Richard Hurst was chosen, in conjunction with Supporters Direct, to act as interim chairman of the steering group, and would then be stepping aside once the Trust's AGM elections were called. Despite all this information and facts being clearly telegraphed to the supporters, the internet's resident armchair detectives uncovered the most strenuous of links between Mr Hurst and one Phil Gartside and, well, then everyone just kicked off. From Facebook, to Twitter to a massive, and unbearable, comment thread on the Bolton News website - lots of fans were very unhappy and lots have even claimed they are going to revoke their pledge of £10 to the Trust.
It's not the scepticism, caution and even suspicion that's irked me, as us Bolton fans have been lied to on an untold amount of occasions and we'd be foolish to not ask questions. Asking questions is fine, and the Trust are clearly happy to answer them. However, it's the wild conspiracy theories coupled with people spouting negativty based upon unfounded 'evidence' that is completely uncalled for. To be frank, it's mostly based on people not actually reading, or understanding, what the Trust have been saying.
It really seems like a lot of folk on Twitter have been connecting dots to create the ugly picture they want to see, as if we've become so engulfed in negativity that we've now found it quite comfy. Like Stockholm syndrome to being shit. I can't for one moment believe that that is actually true, but that's what it looks like - and I really can't fathom why.
As I said, everyone has a right to be skeptical and that is healthy, but some of these theories, man, they wouldn't look out of place on a Netflix documentary rated 1*. That apparently Phil Gartside is an evil puppet master behind the scenes meticulously manipulating everything so he remains in control. How he'd pull off such a complex scheme when, for all we know, he still remains in very bad health is beyond me. Seeing a photo of Hurst in front of contact details of his other ventures and then presuming that's some form of advertisement and in some way telling that he is acting as interim chairman for some type of gain. Those are but two highlights amongst a deluge even further perplexing claims.
It all seems to have stemmed from a basic misunderstanding, or just lack of reading, from what the Trust have been telling everyone from the very start. The Trust technically isn't a Trust yet because it hasn't been fully set up as one yet, and won't be until all bank accounts are set and a board is ELECTED by the nearly 6000 members (largest ever) of the Trust. This is a lengthy process and usually takes up to six months, but with the speed in which everything here is moving it looks as if we won't have to wait quite that long. Those responsible for STEERING the Trust at this time until the Trust is fully formed have no divine right to walk straight on to the board. If any of them choose to stand for election they'll have to win, just like everybody else. Meaning that if everyone is worried about any of these people, even though I still don't see why, you all just simply don't vote them onto the board when the election comes, if they do decide to run for election. Ain't that easy?
This Trust could be the best thing to happen to Bolton Wanderers fans in god knows how long, it could give us one untied voice to make sure our beloved club doesn't get into this sorry state ever again. But people seem insistent on ripping that down, abandoning before it's even fully formed. I'm not asking you to not be skeptical, we all should be, but I am asking you to stop seeing every shadow as a monster and take this Steering Group as what they are, a group of Bolton fans who simply want the best for this club.
They've put an untold amount of time and effort into this already and, honestly, at this stage, we really don't deserve it.