As of last week, Bolton Wanderers were back in the mire, back being the buzz word there. News broke that the players had taken industrial action over pay issues and distant memories suddenly seemed like last night’s nightmares all over again.
The grim reaper came knocking once more in the most Bolton Wanderers-like fashion and has visibly left us all shaken.
Bolton Wanderers over the last decade or so, have been a club submerged with insecurities, nothing is ever rosy for long, but these things pass by, we deal with it, take it on the chin and business resumes as usual.
However, business as usual is now a term we now associate with the issues which have for so long, over-shadowed every success in the club’s recent history given it’s prolongued hovering presence.
This time is no different, it’s like it never went away.
We’re currently seven, perhaps even eight players short of the required and expected squad roster to, effectively, compete, three weeks from deadline day and are just over that until the new season is upon us.
Not only that, but we now also find ourselves cash-strapped once more and has had a detrimental effect on things on the field, which fortunately, we’ve managed to avoid on previous occasions, but for things to spread to such an extent was simply inevitable.
Despite having off-loaded those who seem to be at the butt of the issues, this, in effect, has caused more of an issue given the togtherness of the team. This has seemingly carried over from last season and it’s as if all the lads are in it together. You may notice a theme developing here...
As I’m sure we can all appreciate, regardless of its momentary inconvenience, the players are, in my opinion, right to do what they did, and are well entitled to, presumably, as what is stated in the small print of their contracts.
Now, as a club who have a habit of developing emotional connections with players, the senior members in particular have been around long enough to have experienced our most prominent off the field issues over the years.
They can therefore appreciate that this isn't what any of us want and I’m sure, are certainly in no way doing this to cause unnecessary issues or a divide between the club and the fans for that matter either.
To support this, it appears the players are more than willing to come to a compromise and are set to send a representative to meet with the PFA today along with chairman Ken Anderson.
This element of compromise is something which has been shown by numerous squad members who've reportedly taken pay cuts in the past to stay on at the club given their success and their love for it, something which is deeply appreciated by the fans as I’m sure we can all agree.
Something which is not so deeply appreciated however, is when simple tokens and gestures of goodwill in relation to resolving these depressing matters are questioned.
This is something which seems to have somewhat riled the fans, having taken this, potentially incorrectly, as an insult directed at themselves as the togetherness shown by those who stand by the club through thick and thin, be that players, journalists, fans, whoever, as being doubted.
An evening of what can only be described as chaos and outrage on social media platforms, in particular, Twitter, has taken centre stage in the latest instalment of these unwanted scenes.
As much as it could be described as embarrassing and humiliating for ourselves and how public these spats have become though, I don't feel this was to intentionally create an insult match dividing club and it’s public.
One recurring theme that can be seen throughout this is togetherness. The one thing which the Bolton faithful pride ourselves on and is something recognised by the club themselves, as the title suggests, hence why I’d be incredibly amazed at if it was being argued.
There is nothing more that the Bolton Wanderers community would like other than stability and for everything to function as a modern day football club should.
The backlash which followed the statement on Twitter is something, not of a personal attack, but simply a sign of togetherness, as amplified by former player, Stuart Holden.
Fan favourite, loved, adored and his spell at the club is cherished by many and his reaction tonight is something which we can all be proud of.
Out of touch comment from you. You are lucky to have a journalist like @MarcIles that cares so much about the club. “We” consists of more than just owners.. it’s about the players, fans, and everyone that has invested time, money and their lives towards the club. Sort it out— Stu Holden (@stuholden) July 16, 2018
For the sake of many a fans Twitter account, Stu’s tweet is something which they'll be grateful for along with the rest of us as those who leapt for their keyboards in a moment of rage were put at ease and satisfied by Stu’s excellently put summary and again, shows how together we really all are.
As much as the phrase, hashtag, whatever it was, was mocked, particularly towards the end of last season, it’s something which in reality, represents us as a club, a family club and a community who simply want the best for Bolton Wanderers Football Club and nothing more.
To conclude then, as Marc said, yes, we do hope that ‘we can power on’ and ‘fingers crossed it'll be sorted swiftly’.
We salute you, Marc, we salute you, Stu Holden and we salute you, the people of Bolton. Thank you.