Firstly I want to start off by saying I hope everyone reading this has had as good a time as possible during the festive period. My heart goes out to those who weren’t able to spend time with loved ones over Christmas.
We’ve finally reached the end of the festering turd that was the year 2020. For many of us, it’s probably been the most difficult year of our lives. Unable to work, socialise and visit family. Cancelled holidays, weddings & the inability to properly say goodbye to those we have unfortunately lost.
For me, it’s been the experience of living on my own for the first time & feeling genuine loneliness for the first time in my life. I’m thankful that I had a job to fill up most as my days, I can’t begin to fathom how those who have been on furlough since March have coped. It’s been a challenging year for most mentally & it’s important to realise now more than ever - it’s ok not to be ok. If you feel like you are struggling and can’t talk to a family member or a friend, please reach out and call one of these numbers:
Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)
A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably. A charity providing a mental health helpline and webchat.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge
Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.
Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider’s Access Charge
A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (9am to midnight, every day of the year)
Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
(Other numbers can be found on the NHS website by clicking here)
Remember, someone out there loves you, even if you don’t have the capacity to love yourself right now. Whether you have the willpower to run a marathon in your front room or are just surviving, you’re doing great.
I want to say a huge thanks to the key workers. Whether you’ve been working double shifts in the hospitals, manning the emergency phones, working in other branches of the emergency services or keeping the shelves full in the supermarkets - you’re all superstars.
As ever, it’s been a year of struggle on the pitch for our beloved Bolton Wanderers. Relegation to League Two & we haven’t ran away with the league as many predicted we might. Hopefully with a strong January transfer window, we can climb the table and be fighting for a place in the top seven come the end of the season.
I want to say a huge thank you to anyone who has contributed, read, commented or listened to any of our content this year. I’m particularly proud of the podcasts we were able to do with many former Wanderers players. I may have had a hand in helping to get the guests on, but it’s the work of Tom who hosted superbly & James who edited them all that made them compelling listens. If you haven’t listened already I do recommend going back and catching them, I really do feel like it’s some of the best content we’ve put out in a long while.
At the end of the day, we’re just Bolton fans who enjoy writing and talking about the club we love. I’m incredibly grateful to anyone who has enjoyed any of our content this year.
Finally, I want to leave with this thought:
It’s the (hopefully) not too distant future.
You’re up at the crack of drawn on a Saturday. Shit, shower, shave & then it’s off to Spoons for an early morning fry up. You swing by the off licence to pick up four cans before you head to the train station, a ball of nervous excitement. An hour and a half later, you manage to cope with the three changes on your way to your destination.
Once off the train you head straight to the nearest pub, where you’re welcomed by the noise of a couple hundred or so fans chanting ‘Arthur Gnahoua, he lives down the road.’
Several pints later, you make your way to the stadium to stand with your fellow fans. It’s a standing only away stand with no roof and it’s raining. Do you care? Not one bit.
The matches goes on until it reaches added time. You feel as if there it’s just going to be one of those days - all those chances and we haven’t taken any of them.
Then, Bolton win a corner right at the death. You can hear the whole away end take a collective deep breath in as the ball is launched into the box. Before you know it, Ricardo Santos has buried a header into the far corner.
Cue sheer euphoria. Your whole body is flailing about like a person possessed & you embrace the person next to you. You don’t know them and you were just arguing not five minutes prior over the last substitution Evatt made. But all that’s forgiven now. Bolton Wanderers have just won and all seems right in the world.
Happy New Year fellow Wanderers x