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Dismay and Despair: Bolton Wanderers' Worst Season Ever

Only four wins all season, zero away victories, and a new club record for most defeats

Yes, you hide your face Mark. If only we knew then, what we know now
Yes, you hide your face Mark. If only we knew then, what we know now
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

When fans start chanting "We are fucking shit" at their own players, you know something has gone horribly wrong.

That was the case on Saturday when, mid-way through the second half of yet another awful away performance, the 1,200 strong Bolton Wanderers contingent at Fulham began to openly and loudly mock their own players.

This reaction is understandable when you break down the key statistics of this appalling campaign:

  • An all-time club record of 26 defeats in a season, usurping the 25 defeats recorded in 1970/71 and 1995/96
  • An all-time club record of 19 away defeats in a season, passing the previous record of 18 back in 1984/85
  • Failed to win a single away match for the third time in the club's history - an unenviable feat also matched in 1949/50 and 1979/80
  • Only four players have scored more than two league goals - of which Liam Feeney left the club in March, and the other is Stephen Dobbie
  • Burnley's Andre Gray and Sam Vokes scored a combined 41 league goals, one less than the entire Bolton squad
  • Mark Davies failed to score a single goal in all competitions, despite supposedly being an attacking midfielder and making the most appearances of any outfield player (39)
  • League-high seven red cards (Dorian Dervite, Ben Amos, Jay Spearing, Rob Holding, Jose Manuel Casado, Derik Osede, Niall Maher)

Factor all of this in and it's more than acceptable to judge this as the worst Bolton Wanderers season on record.

The away form has possibly been the biggest embarrassment of an utterly depressing campaign. Bolton are now just two games away from tying the all-time club record for most away games without a victory, which currently stands at 28 back in September 1980.

Off the pitch woes

If the on-field failings make for painful reading, then things have possibly been even more shambolic off it.

The season started badly with last year's player of the season, Tim Ream, being sold to Fulham and then manager Neil Lennon not seeing a single penny of it. And it looks like ending with Ream's successor being sold on as well, with Rob Holding reportedly subject to a bid from Arsenal.

The club ran the risk of not only administration but going out of existence altogether back in March, as Eddie Davies and co risked the wrath of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs as they repeatedly delayed tax payments and made the sale of the club as dramatic as a slightly interesting episode of Hollyoaks.

This led to a transfer embargo being imposed on the club - which has still to be lifted going into the summer - and the ultimate indignity of not being allowed to sign ageing, awful striker Shola Ameobi, even after he offered to play for free.

New owners eventually arrived in the shape of the Sports Shield consortium, led by former player Dean Holdsworth and new Chairman Ken Anderson, and his not at all shifty looking entourage. The new owners have far from convinced us they are taking the club in the right direction, and are yet to really tell fans what plans they have for the club.

Their only contributions so far have been to sack Neil Lennon, fail to convince any of their shortlisted managers to replace him, and sacking the majority of our backroom staff. Oh, and they're probably about to sell our only good player this season (albeit for a healthy wedge of cash) and have yet to tell us which players they will be retaining for next season.

I'd like to round this depressing article off by summarising that things can only get better in League One, but I'd be lying if I said I believed that. Our club is deep in the mire of probably the biggest mess it's ever been in and there are zero assurances that we won't soon be back in the financial bother we endured earlier this year.