As we all know, this most shocking and shameful of seasons has finally come to an end and for Bolton Wanderers fans this is a blessed relief considering the absolute avalanche of crap that we’ve had to swallow from October onwards.
League One awaits, but before that, it’s time to give the players their end of season report:
Ben Alnwick - D
A forgettable campaign was topped off with news of him handing his notice in which unfortunately taints the end of what has been a decent Wanderers career so far.
Remi Matthews - D
Some fans seem very taken with Matthews which, of course, is their perogative but I didn’t see anything particularly spectacular to put him ahead of Alnwick in straight competition. That said, with the latter moving on it would be a surprise if Matthews wasn’t first choice next season.
Pavel Olkowski - D
I don’t blame the lad for giving his notice in and moving on, but I do think it’s a shame given how superbly he began the season. His time at Wanderers will not be remembered fondly.
Andrew Taylor - F
Really poor throughout the season and as PFA rep can be held largely responsible for the end of season strike which forever tarred this squad as being some of the most weak-willed footballers we have ever had the misfortune to see pull on the white shirt.
David Wheater - D
As has been the case this past couple of seasons, Wheater went through peaks and troughs of form but ultimately remained the constant presence in the heart of the side much as he has this past decade - I’ll let you decide whether this is a good thing or not.
Jack Hobbs - D
Probably our best central defender when fit, Hobbs however came with a reputation of being unreliable and that proved to be the case more often than not.
Mark Beevers - D
Started the season reasonably well but as the team dropped off so did Beevers’ performances. Linked with a move away during the campaign and if we can get anything for him then I wouldn’t be upset to see him move on.
Jonathan Grounds - F
Really really really poor. Challenges Doidge for the honour of ‘worst debut I’ve ever seen’. Neither a left back nor centre back, Grounds struggled in more or less every game he played for us.
Josh Vela - D
Desperate for time on the pitch but having fallen out with Parkinson it was obvious from February onwards that he wasn’t going to get the opportunity. Leaves the club with the thanks of everyone ringing in his ears but it is perhaps the right time for all concerned.
Gary O’Neil - C
Best of a bad bunch, but that in itself isn’t a glowing assessment. Looked his age towards the end of the season but deserves those POTY awards. There was literally nobody else to give it to.
Sammy Ameobi - F
Diabolical. When you’re as talented as he is but you make absolutely no effort whatsoever then you are rightly criticised. Ameobi offered absolutely nothing from Christmas onwards and precisely nobody will miss him.
Luke Murphy - D
In and out of the team thanks to Parkinson’s wonderful man-management. Often looked good, but more often than not looked short of what we needed.
Erhun Oztumer - Unrateable
Parkinson worked his magic with Oz, oh wait no, he ignored him and left him out at every opportunity. That said, when the player did make his way onto the turf he was largely disappointed but I attribute this to the circumstances more than the player who will hopefully stick around for League One.
Yanic Wildschut - D
Came in with all the promise in the world and a fast start to life at a proper club but as the side’s form dipped so did his performances. Injury meant he would hardly feature in the second half of the season.
Joe Pritchard - D
Not really much to criticise but then again not really much to praise either. Ambled through his few appearances in a fairly anonymous fashion.
Will Buckley - Completely and utterly unrateable
A shambles of a footballer. Seemingly incapable of having any sort of positive effect on a game, Buckley lollygagged through the season offering the most basic of effort, something that was recognised by the manager in more or less every match as Buckley would often be hooked after an hour of doing nothing whatsoever. Plus he did that whole cupping-his-ear thing at one point which should have resulted in the immediate termination of his contract and him being arrested.
Luca Connell - C
Clearly the shining light of the season, though you would be hard pressed to pinpoint a game where he took charge and bossed the midfield. Despite that, he has a much better future than we do and I hope he fulfils his obvious potential.
Craig Noone - D
Will be remembered fondly for the Stephen Darby moment but other than that he brought absolutely nothing to proceedings and will likely leave us in the same way that he arrived, with a giant collective shrug of everyone’s shoulders.
Joe Williams - D
Started off well, being all snarling aggression and positive forward movement. Ended up as a typical Wanderers midfielder - struggling for direction and having very little impact on games. Not really sure what kind of player he is.
Lloyd Dyer - Unrateable
A very weird signing, but then again we have Lee Anderson ‘advising’ our transfers so it’s perhaps no shock. Came, saw, did naff all.
Callum Connolly - D
Capable of drifting through games offering very little, at least he chipped in with a couple of goals to be remembered by, because there was nothing else.
Jason Lowe - F
An incredibly poor first half of the season gave way a half-decent middle for a player who, it is fair to say, hasn’t really shown Wanderers fans what he is capable of. To be honest, I’m not sure he knows what he is capable of. Might benefit from a change of manager, but that’s just me being generous.
Christian Doidge - N/A
I’m going to give him a pass only on the basis of the circumstances that surrounded his move back to Forest Green. He’s lucky in that regard because he would have had a really low rating otherwise. Completely out of his depth in the Championship and gave us one of the worst debuts of the modern era at home to QPR when a person picked out of the crowd would have done a better job.
Josh Magennis - D
He started the season on fire, making the £200k we spent look like a good deal - however this didn’t last and he had precisely zero impact on anything from January onwards. Needs to pull his socks up if he’s going to be our main man in League One though his career record suggests that this will be a stretch for him. Would be a candidate to be moved on if we can find anyone daft enough to give us our money back.
Clayton Donaldson - Unrateable
Two goals in 30 odd appearances is a disgraceful return for a striker at this level. Couldn’t be faulted for effort in the first third of the season, but the remaining two-thirds were nothing short of abysmal. One of the worst strikers we have ever had at the club.
Finally, here’s the manager:
Phil Parkinson - F
A shocking campaign from the main man, who can really only thank the off-field turmoil that he’s still in a job. As records tumbled with each passing week, Parkinson somehow kept his job. Let’s hope that luck runs out soon.
So there you go. An unpleasant season all round. Let’s hope that a complete overhaul of the playing and off-field squad gives us something to be proud of next year because there was absolutely nothing in this current mob to be thankful for or proud of in any way, shape or form.
We deserve better.