The new ownership may have finally, FINALLY, been confirmed today, but with all the stalling and goalpost chasing, the whole thing has probably gone through just too late to save Bolton from relegation. Bolton Wanderers are ten points adrift with ten points left, it's doable, just, but it'd take one massive turn around just at a time when other teams around us are beginning to change their fortunes, too.
So it looks that the Whites will almost certainly be in League One next season, and here's five things the club need to do in preparation for the third division:
1) Blood The Youth Now
Whether they are good enough is a separate debate, next year we will be relying on the youngsters in some capacity or another, they more than likely will be making up the nucleus of our squad.
By playing the like of Jamie Thomas, Alex Samizadeh, Alex Finney, Jordan Lussey and Enock Likoy-Elumba now we allow them to hit the ground running next year.
Take Moussa Dembele as an example: Fulham started him last year to little effect, 0 goals in 11 games. This year he has grabbed himself 11 goals in 33. By blooding him the previous year, it allowed Dembele to finish the season knowing what level physically and technically he had to reach over the summer.
We will be a league down next year and some of the players deemed ‘not good enough’ for this level might more than cut it at the next level. Some of them might leave without deals? On to point two.
2) Tie Down the Best Ones ASAP
It’s widely know that talented striker Alex Samizadeh has turned down a deal with us and is courting other clubs, so why give him a run in the team? It might just maybe get him to reconsider. We can say to the like of Samizadeh;
"Yes the club is a bit shit at the mo’ and the pay ain’t great but you will get first team football next year at a decent level. Sure you could go to another Championship club and sit in their reserves for 6 months before being turfed out to the same level we’ll be at anyway but that seems pretty stupid"
Sports Shield will bring a bit of money in with them (maybe) and the focus has to be getting the likes of Rob Holding, Josh Vela, Tom Walker, Kaiyne Woolery, Oscar Threlkeld, Hayden White, Thomas, Samizadeh and co to sign deals. We’ll need them in League One and they’ll sure as hell do a better job than some of the old heads.
3) Get The Big Earners Out
We stand to lose around £5 Million in revenue by dropping down next year; it’s important we cut our cloth accordingly. Players like David Wheater, Mark Davies and Ben Amos are all on contracts which would be considered decent for a Championship player. We won’t be able to replace their quality but the savings will have to be made.
The fees that certainly Amos will command will also help out no end in paying for the losses.
4) Re-evaluate Ticket Prices
When you drop down the leagues you play poorer quality teams with poorer quality stadiums and poorer quality players. Fans inevitably decide they don’t want to watch that level of football and so make like a tree and fuck off.
There has to be a reduction in the ticket price to stop some of these fans from going and also to be fair to the fans who shouldn’t pay the same for less. The hope being it shouldn’t cost anything as it’ll keep more fans paying. We’ll be a fairly big scalp for most teams in League One and hopefully we’ll get a good away turnout most games. We have to make sure the same can be said of the home fans.
5) Sack Neil Lennon
His heart just doesn’t seem in it anymore.
He was fairly obviously sold a land of milk and honey which wound up being a land of crap and Heskey. The squad, despite all the off field drama, should be doing better and some of his selections are bizarre.
I ,for one, would love to see David Lee take over but it’ll obviously have to be someone free as we’ll be paying Lennon off anyhow. One thing that can be said for Lennon is he has been the best manager in my lifetime for bringing through youth players and that has to continue.
So that's what I reckon the clubs first steps in League One need to be, what do you reckon?