As part of the many conversations taking place in the backgrounds of the secret Wanderers’ underworld, an interesting topic was discussed, what makes this issue any more important than others that have arisen in the past.
Firstly, I considered the idea of reaching a breaking point and whether the fans or various supporters’ groups had reached their limit and decided along with Mr Iles at the Bolton News that ‘enough is enough.’ Like many Bolton fans, I felt that removing the dreaded Blu Marble company of the Wanderers debtor list potentially signalled a new era for Ken Anderson and his ‘financially prudent’ Bolton Wanderers. Other than the money owed to the late Eddie Davies, the major creditors had now been addressed and from the outside it seemed as though Bolton could perhaps, slowly of course, look to build after years of business activity contraction.
This has not been the case and as Wanderers fans desperately looked for the green shoots of recovery, it seemed as if the scorched earth of the club’s recent financial history would not all for the hope of spring the fans wanted so desperately to see.
Another thing to consider is matters on the pitch. Personally, I am Phil Parkinson’s biggest supporter, the sheer mental strength of the man is nothing short of admirable and over a season, he has yet to fail an objective over a season and despite the fact it can sometimes not be too pleasing on the eye, I think it would be hard to imagine someone getting the results out of the resources that the Lancastrian boss does.
However, we aren’t improving, and people are getting frustrated.
It’s understandable, the business/football model currently seems to be to wait until the club sells and we have really seen anything to indicate that is going to happen, although I’m mindful of course we will not be privy to all matters at the club, particularly of this nature. Wanderers’ fans have seen this before though, we spent the last three years in the Premier League essentially waiting for our inevitable relegation and it came. It feels the same now, we managed to stay up dramatically last year, we may well manage to stay up this year and next year, but it will happen. We’re stagnant.
Something felt different this time though, the movement against the ownership seems to have gathered more momentum and at the time of writing, various fan groups are planning protests towards the Wanderers ownership during the Sky Sports live televised game against West Bromwich Albion. Emerging news at the turn of the year revealed that Bolton were once again put into transfer restrictions as it emerged that football creditors monies were due. It appears this circled around the loan deals of Remi Matthews and Yanic Wilschutt to Norwich City & Christian Doidge to Forest Green Rovers respectively.
This cumulated in the perspective permanent transfers of Remi Matthews & Christian Doidge to collapse and the knock-on effects have been felt throughout the club. Since the incident Bolton Chairman Ken Anderson has claimed he has been advised the English Football League (EFL) on how Wanderers can go about registering players although at the time of writing neither Matthews or Doidge have signed and the signals coming from their respective clubs is that they will not be signing.
This led to criticism to the Forest Green Rovers’ clean-energy magnate Chairman Dale Vince. It was the initial comments from Mr Vince which, in my opinion, have got Wanderers’ fan rebellious wheel turning:
"When the dust settles, we’ll talk to the EFL about how they regulate clubs like Bolton. They already regulate the club to a degree, controlling all TV monies to make sure that football debts get paid."
It’s the line ‘clubs like Bolton’ which I think militarised the fan base as Wanderers fans woke up to the fact their clubs famous name was potentially being tarnished. As a founder member of the Football League and steeped in rich history, Bolton fans took this very seriously and groups of people that wouldn’t normally speak with one another, started speaking.
Bolton Wanderers is more than a name and it is certainly more than a business. It is the heart and soul of a proud town and it’s proud name and standing matter much more than its profitability or which division it plays it’s football. It has often been suggested in recent times that the club has been saved ‘from the brink’ but that is nonsense. The club is in the heart and soul of each of it’s fans and it will never die, no matter what happens in any courts or corporate boardrooms. It is our club, our passion and it’s proud name means everything to us.