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End of Season Review: February

Pressure? What pressure? We thrive on pressure

Birmingham City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The New Year was two months old, and Bolton Wanderers headed into February in confident mood on the field, whereas off the field the usual doubts were beginning to creep in. Ken Anderson's relentless happy campaign was starting to grate.

The month began with Wanderers' creditor Heathcotes refusing to meet the club's top brass. The recent sale of Zach Clough to Nottingham Forest, ostensibly to balance the books, left fans disappointed.

Heathcote & Co, the official catering partner of Macron Stadium and Bolton Whites Hotel, sought to issue a winding-up petition against the club over a £120,000 bill. More on this later.

One positive financial step was in the club finally settling a bill with Prescot Business Park to settle an outstanding loan, allowing them to 'reacquire' car parking and office facilities. Prescot Business Park (PBP) completed the £5.5million purchase of the aforementioned facilities in January 2016, with Wanderers having to tie the balance to the Bolton Whites Hotel, ensuring PBP would have been able to seize funds in the event that the club was placed into liquidation. This was designed to help the club bring the previously sold elements back under club control.

Just a day later and we had a surprise signing to enjoy. Former Chelsea winger Filipe Morais flew in from Bradford City where he'd worked under Phil Parkinson. Fans were underwhelmed, but boy oh boy was he to make a huge impact.

We had a game to play on the 4th, drawing 1-1 away to MK Dons. Jay Spearing scored for Bolton.

February 7th saw defender Lawrie Wilson suffer a season-ending hamstring injury. It would ultimately mean that he would never play another game for the club again as he was released last week.

The childish bickering between Ken Anderson and Dean Holdsworth continued as the month progressed, with each party blaming the Clough sale on the actions of the other. It was really pathetic to see. Ken's enjoyment of the media spotlight would continue throughout the rest of the season, to the annoyance of some.

The controversial subject of the club's accounts was raised yet again on the 9th February. Accounts made up to June 30, 2015, were signed off by co-owners Ken Anderson and Dean Holdsworth on Tuesday and made available for public viewing on Thursday - with papers showing net debt had increased £11M from 2014, totalling £193.1M. Eye-watering.

Wanderers went on to end a six game winless run soon after, thrashing Walsall 4-1 after going behind to a long-range Erhun Oztumer strike. It was a belter. An own goal from O'Connor, a Gary Madine header and a thriker from Liam Trotter would bring three points back home.

A day later and we were all talking about finance again, with Anderson confessing to have made withdrawals of £3.5million from club finances, but explained that he had only taken money provided by him in the first place. It's a murky world.

Three days later and we beat Rochdale 1-0 at home, courtesy of a late Mark Beevers goal.

Further defensive reinforcement would arrive the next day with ex-Manchester City right back Reece Wabara signing a short-term deal. He would set precisely naff all on fire. The same day, Ken solved the Heathcote dilemma, much to the joy of most.

Next up was a trip to Bradford City. A terrible start saw us go 2-0 down to Parkinson's former side. Goals from David Wheater and a rare Gary Madine header would give us a share of the spoils.

Preparations for the big game against Sheffield United were spoiled somewhat by a controversy involving Madine and Billy Sharp, United's captain and talisman. Our boy chose to speak out on a video which emerged on social media last weekend of the Wanderers forward enjoying a night out, when a supporter asked for his opinion on Sharp. Madine's response, in which he labelled his opposite number a 'fat little pig'. Footballers eh.

We would go on to lose the United game, with Sharp scoring twice. Madine allegedly refused to play in the game, and would miss the next couple of weeks as punishment.

Wanderers threw away their game in hand soon after, only drawing 1-1 with Bristol Rovers at home despite taking the lead with a Josh Vela goal. It was bland - but worst of all, Jay Spearing was injured and looked to have ruled himself out of the next few weeks with a knee injury.

So that was February. It was tense. It got messy.

Despite that, we were still in with a shout of automatic promotion.