It has been another somewhat interesting week in the world of Bolton Wanderers. On the field we remain in semi-crisis, winless in eight heading into a huge game against Brentford at the Reebok this afternoon.
Off the pitch, we’re a complete basket case. When Ken Anderson got his wish and had SSBWFC liquidated and then took us partially out of embargo, it was meant to be the beginning of a bright new dawn where we could look forward and strengthen in order to give ourselves the best chance of survival.
But, as we all know, it doesn’t work like that in Bolton Wanderers world.
We have had a few days of back-and-forth with chairman Ken and BWFCST surrounding the persistent Asset of Community Value (ACV) which the Trust levied against the stadium much to Ken’s chagrin. I’m not going to debate whether the ACV is a positive or negative, but I’m more concerned with the relationship between club, chairman and Trust.
When the Trust was set up, it was meant to be an oasis of calm whilst the club was going through it’s most testing times. We all know now that by the time Ken came on the scene, a lot of the Trust’s power was stunted somewhat and most expected them to fade into the background until such a time as they were needed.
Personally, I expected them to be proactive on fan’s behalf. Combating issues that supporters face, such as our bully-boy stewards, expensive ticket prices and safe-standing - but to this date I don’t think any of these things have been taken forward by the Trust. Instead they have made misstep after misstep and with that have seen their influence and reputation dwindle as a result.
From what I understand, chairman Daniel Izza is somewhat of a lone wolf, with his fight against the club taking place against, it seems, the wishes of many members. His lack of willingness to engage with grass-roots supporters is as mystifying as it is bizarre. Indeed I have emailed him several times offering this website and our podcast as a platform to get his message out - but as yet I haven’t had the courtesy of a reply, which is a shame. Communication is key in this day and age and to have them seem so reluctant to talk only reinforces the opinion that many hold.
With that in mind, I think the Trust has reached the point where they need to either eat humble pie or hit the reset button. It's missed almost a year of engaging properly with members and non-members in open forum. From what I understand, Mr Izza has rejected calls from steering group members and influential supporters to hold another open meeting. Personally, I think that if that was to take place today it would be nothing less than a public lynching.
Whether they're right or wrong to pursue ACV is a decision you need to make for yourself, rather than listen to propaganda being put forward by both sides.
Would it be so hard to use this website, or the BEN to put forward a piece better explaining the ACV to supporters and just putting their side of things across? A lot of opposition to this online seems to come from a place of misunderstanding and so clarity would help people feel more engaged in a topic that, let’s forget, was carried forward on a very thin mandate based upon a Survey Monkey email. It’s no surprise that members feel so distanced from something that they want to love.
Furthermore, they've left the elections far too long and that is nothing more than a PR gaff.
I agree with comments made by a friend, in that if there's the same apathy this time in a year then they need to consider just closing up or withdraw from public life. Maybe they just need to talk.