Roll the clock forward to the present day and has that three man list been whittled down to one? Well, no. A whole host of names have been linked to the vacancy in all manners of tenuousness, but so far nobody has even suggested they're vaguely interested - which, frankly, is understandable.
Here's an overview of the saga that is Bolton Wanderers' head honcho hunt...
Preferred Option 1 - Chris Wilder:
Wilder was the name at the top of that original shortlist, and appears to be the man wanted by new chairman Ken Anderson. He is currently manager of Northampton Town, a club that has gone from receiving a winding-up petition in October to taking League Two by storm and earning promotion on April 9th. The Cobblers will be in League One for the first time in seven years next season and have potential to finish above Bolton.
Wilder has publicly stated he has no interest in leaving, the fans love him, and he's got a team that's been inspired this season. This all begs the question, why would Wilder want to leave?
Preferred Option 2 - Phil Brown:
A lot of Bolton fans seem mad keen on this happening, and Brown is apparently Dean Holdsworth's preferred choice. Brown racked up 256 appearances for Bolton and was assistant manager to Big Sam Allardyce, but to say this makes him a great candidate would be fall into the old Owen Coyle trap.
Since leading Hull City to Premier League survival back in 2009 he got relegated with Preston North End in 2012, then won promotion via the play-offs at the second attempt with Southend United last season. His Southend side got pummelled 4-1 at Wigan Athletic last weekend and are currently 13th in League One with two games to play. Not exactly convincing, is it?
Although, in a brief spell as Bolton caretaker manager back in 1999 Brown won four and drew one of his six games in charge and has won 40% of his 163 games in charge of Southend.
Preferred Option 3 - John Carver
The former Newcastle caretaker boss was apparently on that infamous three man shortlist, but his name has barely been mentioned since. The facts tell us that this is a potential appointment Bolton should steer well clear of, and it's far too much of a gamble.
Carver's only role as a permanent manager was as head coach of Toronto FC back in 2009. He won only 12 of his 40 games in charge, losing 16, before winning just three of his 20 games in temporary charge of Newcastle United at the end of last season - which somehow unbelievably contrived to them staying up.
Carver's lack of actual management experience would suggest this is an absolute no-go.
Preferred Option 4 - Steve Cotterill
The former Bristol City boss completed that three man shortlist two weeks ago, but seems a more likely option than Carver. He's been there and done it in League One, having won the division with Bristol last season, and he has a 41% win record in 661 matches as a manager.
Cotterill is also currently without a club, which has to be a bonus given Wanderers' dire financial straits. However, reports over the last few days seem to be suggesting that Cotterill is the man to take the mantle at Peterborough United, which is probably a more glamorous option.
Away from these preferred options there are several further managers that have been linked to the role:
Rumoured Option 1 - John Sheridan
Sheridan is another man under contract in League One and a former Bolton player, but apparently interesting the new Bolton board. He's done a great job keeping Oldham Athletic in League One this season, only losing five of his 20 games in charge, and winning nine. He has a decent 38% win record from his 488 matches as a manager.
Rumoured Option 2 - Kevin Nolan
Yet another former Bolton player - seriously, have we not learnt anything from what happened with Owen Coyle? Nolan had a handful of games in charge of League Two side Leyton Orient this season, signing old pal Nicky Hunt en route to winning seven of his 15 games at the helm of the East London side.
He's been linked with a return to the club for months now and appears to be a favoured option with Holdsworth, but whether all parties agree remains to be seen. He's returned to playing for Orient after being ousted as manager, but hasn't scored in 14 appearances.
Rumoured Option 3 - Gary Bowyer
A former Blackburn manager being linked to this role shows the true level of despair we are plunging to in our hunt to find anyone that fancies it. Bowyer didn't exactly rip any trees up in his 118 games as permanent Blackburn boss, with a win record of 34%, but that was under hugely mitigating circumstances - namely being at Blackburn.
Bowyer could be seen as a safe pair of hands who has worked in similar circumstances before, but also lacks any experience in League One and has only ever had one permanent role in management. And he was at Blackburn.
Wildcard Option - Big Sam Allardyce
This option is totally bonkers, but there have been rumours on that oh-so-trustworthy source that is Twitter over the last couple of days that the former Bolton boss could be set for a return. A Sunderland relegation could apparently see Allardyce tempted to leave the North East and return to his former stomping ground. But I think there's a cat in hell's chance of him wanting to, despite his rumoured links to the Sports Shield consortium.
So there you have it, a slightly wider eight-man snapshot of possible contenders for the Bolton 'hot' seat. In terms of what the bookies think, Phil Brown is currently favourite at 5/4, ahead of Sheridan at 6/4 and Wilder at 4/1. And if you fancy some slightly longer odds, how about Gary Neville, James Beattie, Nigel Clough, Paolo di Canio and - dare I say it - Dougie Freedman at 33/1.
Whatever the situation is, it's key that the next managerial appointment arrests the steady decline our club has been on for the last five years.