Tonight, for some reason, around 30-40 Bolton Wanderers made the midweek trip to the Reebok Stadium - not for a match, not to greet a new signing - to meet up and listen to the ramblings of disgraced ex-Watford chairman Laurence Bassini.
Bassini (which of course isn’t his real name), stood by the famous statue of Wanderers’ icon Nat Lofthouse and proceeding to talk absolute mince through a megaphone to the assembled throng which in itself grew ever more hilarious as the crowds moved away during the course of his performance.
Yet again offering vague promises of great success, vague threats against his enemies both foreign and domestic, Bassini held court with a feat of attention-seeking neverbeforeseen outside of a Christmas pantomime.
At no point was he able to elaborate on the ‘West Ham and Arsenal players’ that he promised to bring in. At no point was he able to explain why Phil Parkinson was a ‘mercenary’. One bizarre comment seemed to have Bassini hint that ex-EFL supremo Shaun Harvey and ex-Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson were lovers.
As fans drifted away, Bassini became even more desperate to keep them interested.
When one supporter asked him for information on the interest rate and repayment structure relating to his supposed loan from West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, Bassini was unable to answer with any sort of clarity, to barely-suppressed sniggers from the crowd.
The crowd itself was made up of an interesting cross-section of the fanbase, though I particularly respect the reaction to this woman here having to listen to this man jabber on at length on a subject that he is nowhere near qualified to discuss:
Previous appearances by Bassini had been just as ridiculous, but things really stepped up a level when he brought out his now-famous papers.
Genuine questions about the hotel went unanswered as he floundered again in the face of a grilling from concerned supporters. He changed the subject as quick as you like.
Ostensibly containing ‘proof’ of everything he was talking about, but more likely just being printouts he’d done himself earlier that day, Bassini looked more like an inexperienced stand-up comedian at his first gig, desperately searching for the punchline to a joke that nobody found funny.
Wearing the same suit as last time out, he continued to try and engage a crowd which had wanted to be convinced but could barely follow his ramblings. Ridiculous and presumably baseless claims of ‘£10m to invest’ in players elicited further chuckles from those present.
He continued to promise those in attendance that things would improve but continually refused to reveal specifics, further demonstrating that he has absolutely no answers to the questions that we all have about his bizarre interest in our football club.
Asked ‘why do you want to be involved at Wanderers’, Bassini spoke about his past and how poorly treated he was by Watford fans but at no point gave a reasonable answer. Instead going back to his claims about mysterious corruption, how could anyone listen to him and think that he was anything other than a ridiculous sideshow?
I think my favourite bit was when he promised to remove the 12 point penalty. Not sure how he’s going to do it, but it raised a smile with me at least.
I should hope, having watched him fail spectacularly, and having listened to the giggles from the crowd, that Bassini will soon disappear into the background where he belongs and that he leaves our great club to move on properly - because at the moment we are a sideshow of a club, and he’s head clown.
He kept shouting about how this is all ‘fraud’. Well, mate, there’s only one of them around here. A stage-managed moment where a ‘fan’ (read, his pal from the Indian restaurant in town) gave him a Wanderers scarf was just as bad as many moment that Will Buckley provided whilst playing for Bolton over the last two years.
Promising one fan that a ‘sale and leaseback’ option will not happen, you could almost hear the sound of people shaking their heads at the same time.
The only person who came out of this with any sort of credit in this shitshow was the poor club employee, obviously brought to the end of her tether by the situation. You wonder about her long-term job prospects after taking part in this performance, but her passion for the club was obvious.
Finishing with ‘you’ll all know in five days’, he slipped away into the night, presumably back to wherever he crawled out from in the first place. Meanwhile, a slightly bewildered crowd left and we all wondered how it had all come to this. By the end of everything the initial 30-40 people present had dropped to a neat dozen, all of whom wondered why they had missed Emmerdale for this.
The fact that this all took place in the shadow of Nat’s statue was perhaps the ultimate embarrassment.