If Only Phil Gartside Were Alive to See This…

Case_All2It seems like a long time ago – but then it is.  At the back end of 2011, Manny Road published an interview with football agent Tony McGill.

McGill alleged that he’d been cut out of a deal that took Gavin McCann from Aston Villa to Bolton, after having done all the leg work.  His initial legal action against Bolton failed, because he did not have a written contract with McCann. However, his appeal this week was successful and he is now entitled to damages from the club.

The original article is published in full below, including the title – a direct quote from McGill. It may seem harsh, now that Phil Gartside is no longer around to defend himself, but he had ample opportunity to do so at the time and chose not to.  Even when dragged into court, his rambling and contradictory evidence was deemed to be “unsatisfactory” according to judge David Waksman.

While reaction to the article was mainly positive, there were some of Bolton’s more cerebrally challenged fans who took exception to it.

wwaysEven the cesspit that is WanderersWays.com, a collection of sanctimonious, anally obsessed window lickers, too lazy and too stupid to get their facts right, decided to pull the above thread when it was suggested that this supporter’s house be burned down.

There was also the claim that prank calls had been made to the Gartside household, that still surfaces now and then.  One poster repeated that lie on this very site.  He was quickly identified by the IP address left behind.  A less civilised person might have informed his employer that he was making libellous statements on company time.  Yes Neil, that’s you.

Tony McGill’s version of events has now been accepted as true by the court and Manny Road’s decision to publish has been completely and utterly vindicated.

And now, from 2011…

Phil Gartside: “A Cheat, a Liar and a Fraudster”

Gavin McCann.  Not a name to make you sit up and take notice, although he was a solid enough performer for the most part.  Yet if allegations surrounding his signing prove to be true, the midfielder may emerge as a highly significant figure in the history of Bolton Wanderers.

The decision to sign McCann was taken by Sam Allardyce, and the deal was brokered by Tony McGill, a football agent of eleven years standing, who was more recently involved in the transaction that took James Milner from Aston Villa to Manchester City and Stephen Ireland in the opposite direction.

McGill had meetings with then first team coach Ricky Sbragia and scouts Dave Worthington and Jack Chapman, all of whom were in agreement that the signing was a suitable one.  After Allardyce left, it was decided to press ahead, with new general manager Frank McParland handling the detail. In all, the process took over six months.

So far, so ordinary, but then McGill describes what appears to be strange turn of events, in which Bolton chairman Phil Gartside took a central role.

“The night before the deal I got a call off Gavin McCann to say there’s another agent doing the deal.  The night before, I couldn’t believe it,” he says.

“Gartside said to my solicitor that he did the deal himself, there was no other agent involved. I went to court, to get all the legal documents because Bolton wouldn’t give us any information.

“I then went to court and got disclosure, then discovered that Gartside had employed another agency to work on behalf of Bolton to do what, nobody knows. He paid them £300,000.  For nothing.  For doing absolutely no work at all. ”

According to McGill, his protests led to further questionable behaviour.

“When I complained, somebody altered the contract date to backdate it a week, to show that they’d done some work. We’ve got a photocopy of the document, where the date’s been changed to backdate it, because contracts have to be lodged before the event and this wasn’t.

“And, the agency concerned used an unlicensed agent to do the deal – Dave Sheron.  He went to Bolton, the day he signed to do the deal.  There was nothing to do.”

The agency was SEM – Sport, Entertainment and Media Group.  SEM is headed by Jerome Anderson, who was associated with Manchester City during Thaksin Shinawatra’s ownership of that club and with the Venky’s takeover at Blackburn Rovers.  He’s also Owen Coyle’s agent.

On a deal like the one with McCann, the commission would normally be in the region of 5%. Yet the sum of £300,000 paid to SEM represents 30% of a £1 million transfer fee.

Legal action followed.  McGill sued McCann for breach of contract, with the player settling out of court in November 2009.  He has an ongoing claim against SEM.

However his complaint to the FA, where Gartside is a board member, was not acted upon. “The FA looked at this transfer deal, found that there was serious wrong doing, passed it over to their legal department and it’s been squashed,” he explains.

McGill asserts that the FA’s legal team didn’t even reply to his query, which is at odds with Gartside’s statement on Twitter last week –  “…one side of a story and old news been investigated by authorities. Club and officers cleared of any wrong doing.”  It’s doubtful that the agent would agree with that assessment.

“I’ve written to Phil Gartside on several occasions and texted him and I’ve called him a cheat, a liar and a fraudster,” he declares.

“I’ve got evidence of him changing the contracts going to the FA.  We’ve physically proved that it was impossible for that date on the contract to be valid because nobody was there on that day.

“I’ve written to the sports minister Hugh Robertson, and he’s written back or e-mailed me back to say that he has given the FA until February 29th to completely reshuffle the place and to clean their act up, especially the compliance unit or he’s going to legislate against them.”

Until then, Manny Road has a few questions for Phil Gartside.  We’ll be more than happy to publish his side of the story.

What services did SEM provide that caused you to pay them £300,000?
Why was a commission of 30% paid, when the going rate is 5%?
Has Bolton been involved in any other deals where the agent was changed at the last minute?
Why was the date on the McCann contract changed?
Who changed it?
As a member of the FA board, how will you, and they, ensure impartiality in any enquiry?
From him leaving the club in 1995, until rejoining as Bolton manager, you spoke to Owen Coyle just once.  What was it that led you to recommend him to Burnley as their manager?
– Richard McCormick




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Zac Clough – Should He Stay or Should He Go?

zac wiganNew Manny Road scribe Oliver runs the rule over Zac Clough

Every Bolton fan will know of Zach Clough’s heroic burst onto the Wanderers scene back in January 2015 as he snatched a late winner against Wigan Athletic, with a sumptuous chip over former white Ali Al-Habsi.

Since then he’s become a favourite amongst the Wanderers faithful despite struggling to find form in what was a toothless attack during the season where we kissed goodbye to the championship.

With this relegation, Clough’s future at the club has been plunged into uncertainty as numerous clubs are rumoured to be interested in his services. The latest is newly-relegated championship side Norwich City, and whilst this may be appealing to Deano and co – as money doesn’t seem to be growing on trees – it would perhaps be in Zach’s and Bolton’s best interests if he stayed for the forthcoming League One campaign.

Despite my opinion, there is a strong possibility that Clough will struggle with the confines of physical football in what has always been a tough, intense divison, and knowing that troubles with injuries have halted his good form on past occasions it makes you ponder whether this is going to be a productive season.

After reading that back it’s clear there will be an element of risk for both the club and Clough should they decide his future lies at the Macron for at least another season. However, I believe it to be a risk worth taking.

Even though at Bradford, Phil Parkinson was known to their fans as a manager who chose a ‘lump it long’, direct approach to the game, he is a man who has several seasons under his belt at that level and will know how to utilize the various players he has at his disposal (we hope).

To add to this, the quality of defending in our new division is considerably lower when compared to the majority of championship sides, and the quality of service to Clough should be bether than the last season spent feeding off Emile Heskey’s scraps. As we’ll struggle less in League One the immense pressure on Clough to deliver will be somewhat relieved which should allow Zach to reignite that creativity that secured him a first team place.

Ultimately, there is a good chance Zach will stay with us for at least the upcoming season and provided he features in a system that suits his admittedly restricted style of play, his raw talent will shine and he will reap the benefits from staying at the club by attracting even more interest, probably from bigger clubs, assuming he stays fit.

Whilst there’s a lot of ifs buts and maybes with the guy, I’m confident its worth taking the risk and I’d rather sell Rob Holding – arguably a better player in his respective position – to Arsenal who are likely to splash the cash than risk beginning our new season lacking firepower when we have signed an established, solid central defender in Mark Beevers, as Holding’s potential replacement.





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Steve Evans: The Preparations Begin

burndenpieshopBolton Wanderers will appoint a new manager on Monday 6th June, according to sources at the club. The more observant of you will have noticed that it’s almost the end of Monday 6th June and the not so Superwhites remain severely managerless.

Effort have been made according to co-owner Ken “IOU £2.5 million” Anderson. “We have looked at a very high standard of manager,” he told the Bolton News on 26th May, making light of the fact that they’d all said no, whilst muffling giggles. It’s a bit like asking Jennifer Lawrence for a date and then boasting when she blows you out.

To be fair, it must be a hard sell. “Would you like to manage our football club? We don’t have any money and even if we did we’re not allowed to buy players. And yes, your office is nice, but don’t get too settled, in case we have to sell it to pay the electricity bill.”

Speculation linking Ryan Giggs turned out be groundless, as did that involving Bradford manager Phil Parkinson. Gareth Southgate, who did a magnificent job of relegating Middlesbrough turned down the “opportunity”, as did Gary Monk, who chose to join Leeds where he’ll be sacked very quickly, just like everyone else who has worked for owner Massimo Cellino.

Cellino’s previous victim was Steve Evans who is expected to mount a charm offensive in a quest for his next job. This may not be straightforward. Evans can do offensive, but struggles with the charm bit.

A little known fact: The former Rotherham boss was on the books at Bolton back in his youth, but had a problem maintaining match fitness, due mainly to the pie shop opposite Burnden Park. Shipping supplies to the portly Scot has aroused much interest locally.

One Bolton business man hears news of the potential appointment.

One Bolton business man hears news of the potential appointment.

Greenhalgh's have pitched in. “This would be Steve's mid morning snack,” says director Peter Haslam.

Greenhalgh’s have pitched in. “This would be Steve’s mid morning snack,” says director Peter Haslam.

The town's oldest pie shop rules itself out of the race. “We're all very old and can't possibly maintain that level of production,” wheezed the owner.

The town’s oldest pie shop rules itself out of the race. “We’re all very old and can’t possibly maintain that level of production,” wheezed the owner.

However, Holland’s have pulled out all the stops.

New staff have been recruited

New staff have been recruited

The transportation issue has been resolved. Steve's lunch is on it's way.

The transportation issue has been resolved. Steve’s lunch is on it’s way.

Hollands vans in 2006 from June

And vans are on standby in he case he gets peckish in the afternoon.

It's not all been easy though. One training exercise went horribly wrong.

It’s not all been easy though. One training exercise went horribly wrong.

A decision will be made in due course. Bolton will still be without a manager.

And of course, no mention of the subject would be complete without the footage below. “Steve, the half time pies have arrived…” (credit to whoever originated that gag.)

– Richard McCormick



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Who is Bolton’s Most Rubbish Striker?

madine1Gary Madine, Goal Machine
Gary Madine, Goal Machine
(repeat until bored)

You have to hear the chant to appreciate it.  The second part of the line is delivered not joyously, but in a lower tone, with a mixture of dread, sarcasm and resignation.  Such black humour keeps football supporters going when their team’s exploits on the pitch aren’t up to snuff.

With Bolton all but relegated to the third tier of English football before Easter, it’s time to find things to occupy the mind, apart from wondering when Sports Shield are going to run out of money.  So with that thought, here is the Manny Road guide to Bolton’s most rubbish striker.

For this exercise, the choices have been limited to players from recent years.  Older fans will no doubt remember other forwards who couldn’t even find a banjo, let alone endanger a cow with it.

David N’Gog

ngogOn the face of it signing N’Gog from Liverpool had logic.  He was seen as a young, talented, underachieving player who might be helped by Owen Coyle’s arm around the shoulder approach.  This had limited success, since the arm and the rest of Coyle left the season after with the team in a lower division.

At times, N’Gog was unplayable.  These times lasted as much as a minute.  Then he’s spend the rest of the game trying to hide in the crowd.  Never was a player so unsuited to English football.

N’Gog signed for Swansea in January 2014.  It was then clear that manager Michael Laudrup had lost his mind and he was sacked a week later.

Marvin Sordell

sordellAfter signing for £3.5 million, Sordell spent more time playing on his iPhone than he did on the pitch.  This didn’t stop him being nominated as Bolton young player of the year, or being selected for the Olympic squad.  “Marvin Sordell, England’s number 12,” ran the chant.

In two seasons, the former Watford forward made just 24 appearances, scoring four times.  As Millwall fans unkindly but accurately observed, Sordell looks like a fish.  Unfortunately, he plays like one too.

Ariza Makukula

makuWithin minutes of his debut, Makukula clattered into Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic, rendering him horizontal.  This was the only good thing he did as a Bolton player.  The Portuguese had one vital flaw that limited his effectiveness.  That flaw was a complete absence of skill.  After six appearances in which he scored a magnificent total of no goals, he returned to parent club Benfica, who had signed him when the manager was off his face on Madiera.

Grzegorz Rasiak

rasiakAfter the departure of Nicolas Anelka, Gary Megson sought a replacement goal scorer. Surprisingly, he chose the man who came to fix his taps.  Rasiak had at one time played for Spurs where he scored precisely no goals, a feat repeated for the Ginger One.

Watching Rasiak run was mesmerising.  His knees had a life of their own and operated independently from the rest of his legs. There was sluggish and then there was Rasiak. He was a  permanent slow motion replay.  After a seventeen club career the man with luminous green boots returned to his native Poland and devoted himself to plumbing full time.  Service is reported to be good, if not the fastest.

Daniel Braaten

troll2Before joining Bolton, Braaten was best known as a proponent of the seal dribble, which involves running with the ball bouncing on your forehead.  The Norweigan didn’t try this whilst playing for the Whites, mainly because he’d given up running two years previously after repeatedly tripping over his own stomach.

Amazingly, Braaten did score for Bolton, after coming on as a sub against Reading.   He celebrated by throwing himself at Nicolas Anelka, who’d supplied the assisting pass, almost injuring the Frenchman fatally in the process.  It is rumoured that Anelka left for Chelsea to avoid a repeat.

Gary Madine, Goal Machine

madine2“I’ve been really pleased with him – he’s a better player than I thought he was,” said Neil Lennon in pre-season.  One wonders how bad the ginger sex beast had been expecting things to be. It’s astounding how often the words “Madine”, “header” and “wide” appear in the same sentence.

Not much was expected of the former Sheffield Wednesday man , whose best goal scoring season was in League One, but having served jail time for assault it was expected that he’d at least add some physical threat to a side too often bullied.

That hope proved entirely false.  Madine avoids rough stuff like Adam Johnson avoids the fathers of teenage girls.  When inside he must have been someone’s bitch.

With acknowledgment to the Trottersforever forum where the question was first asked.

– Richard McCormick



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Sports Shield. The Alarm Bells Ring

sportsshieldAfter three months of rumour and numerous 48 hour deadlines, there is at last some movement regarding the future of Bolton Wanderers.

On Friday, current owner Eddie Davies named Sports Shield Investments, the group fronted by former striker Dean Holdsworth as the preferred bidder to buy the club.   Those hoping for a whiter than white backroom team may be disappointed.

Today it emerged that football agent Ken Anderson is one of Sports Shield’s financial backers. In 2006, as an executive at financial advisory firm Vantis PLC, he formulated a plan for businessman Michael Wilde to buy a large shareholding in Southampton Football Club, in order to oust chairman Rupert Lowe.

Anderson, who had been involved in several liquidations, was quickly sidelined, when it emerged that in October 2005 he was disqualifed as a company director until 2013.  His transgressions, which were listed at the Insolvency Service, included diverting funds receivable by a company into personal accounts, VAT discrepancies, and failure to cooperate with receivers.

Wilde’s tenure as chairman of Southampton lasted only months (although he returned later), and the clubs’s parent company was placed into administration in 2009, resulting in a ten point deduction and relegation into League One.

Vantis PLC itself went into administration in June 2010 and two of its executives, were jailed in 2012 for offences relating to abuse of Gift Aid tax relief.

– Richard McCormick


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Fare Thee Well Then, Stuart Holden

Holden2As a football supporter, there are images that stay with you.  Some good, some bad. For a Bolton fan, one of the worst of recent years was that of Stuart Holden lying in agony on the turf at Old Trafford, after a horror challenge by Jonny Evans.

Amazingly, given the nature and complications of the injury, and some less than perfect medical treatment, the American made a comeback, that culminated in him appearing in 2013’s  CONCACAF Gold Cup Final for the USA.  It was here that he damaged the other knee which would eventually lead to  retirement from football, but not before years battling against what lesser mortals would have seen as inevitable.

“It’s time to stop fighting my body. I’ve known for a while, but I’ve struggled to admit it to myself and to others. The countless sleepless nights, the aches and pains, and the constant mental battles were all signs pointing to a new path,” he wrote in his blog on Wednesday, shortly after the birth of daughter Kennady Rose.

Walking under a ladder, spilling salt,  putting shoes on the table, opening an umbrella in the house.  Holden must have done all of them on the same day – probably Friday the 13th, whilst breaking a mirror and impaling a black cat on the shards of broken glass.   Has there ever been a footballer plagued by such lousy luck?

As a teenager  at Sunderland, Holden suffered a shattered eye socket after being attacked in a Newcastle taxi-rank.  Later, on trial at Leicester, his leg was broken in a game against non league opposition.  Shortly after signing for Bolton, he suffered another leg break courtesy of Dutch psychopath Nigel De Jong, whilst playing for his country.

And of course, there was that knee injury caused by the recklessness of Evans, which was the starting point for the decline of Bolton that ended in relegation from the Premier League.  The final comeback ended in March 2014, as he limped off after just 23 minutes of a specially arranged reserve game against Everton in March 2014.

Holden the player had boundless energy and although he frequently put himself in harms way, he was a precise tackler, adept at taking the ball and not the man.  However it was his astute reading of the game that set him apart, remarkable when you think that he played less than a full season in English football.  If Bolton lost possession, Holden would win it back.

But it wasn’t just the playing ability that endeared him to Whites followers.  Despite his background, and a foolish youthful liking for Manchester United, he was one of us.  Listen to him speak of his delight at playing for Bolton, or witness him sitting with the crowd at Ewood Park with Owen Coyle’s team involved in a vital relegation clash.

But back to those images – the better ones.  Holden volleying an injury time winner against Blackburn Rovers, moments after the visitors thought they’d snatched a point with a late equaliser.  Perhaps better, from a purist’s point of view was to see him stroke the ball home at Wolves, finishing off a brilliant passing sequence that he’d started and orchestrated throughout.

“It’s Holden.  It’s fantastic,” enthused the commentator.  It was, and so was he.  Fair thee well sir.  It was a privilege to see you wear the white shirt.
– Richard McCormick



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Bolton Wanderers: Football’s Wackiest Club

It’s the longest 48 hours in sporting history.  For that was the time scale given just after Sports Shield, the consortium fronted by Dean Holdsworth, announced an interest in buying Bolton Wanderers.  That was last year.

Deano is still around and the number of other groups wishing to buy the club varies between zero and three depending on the day of the week.  Former player Stelios was mentioned at one point, but decided that the Greek economy was a better bet.

The proposed new badge. There are unresolved copyright issues

The proposed new badge. There are unresolved copyright issues

At first it was thought that the interested parties had seen the books and didn’t like the numbers, but now it’s turns out that none of them have offered enough money to even see the figures.  Owner Eddie Davies and his sidekick Trevor Birch, the Dastardly and Muttley of Championship football, originally wanted £15 million, but will take £1 now, providing the debts are covered, which means the final purchase price will be 85p with an option on a Greenhalgh’s pasty.

Still, parts of the business has been jettisoned.  Some of the car parks were disposed of a while back, and others are rumoured to follow, whilst the offices went in order to pay off the equivalent of a £5 million pay day loan.  Should absent chairman Phil Gartside return to his post then he’ll be housed in a Portokabin next to the hamburger stand on Lostock Lane whilst board meetings will take place at the nearby Wacky Warehouse.

Attempts to offload the few players that can be put on the market without raising a laugh, have been less successful.  Josh Vela was going to Cardiff for £450,000.  Then he wasn’t.

Zac Clough. Not popular in Bristol

Zac Clough. Not popular in Bristol

Zac Clough was on his way to Bristol City.  Oh no he wasn’t.  Oh yes he was, but for a reduced fee.  Now it seems that Young Zac has turned down a move as he doesn’t fancy living in a place where everyone looks and sounds like Wallace and Gromit.

A bid of £750,000 was accepted for Mark Davies from Sheffield Wednesday, but personal terms, surrounding his fast food allowance could not be agreed.  There was also a complication.  Whites fans are used to mini Davo going missing during games, but it seemed he’d vanished altogether according to Neil Lennon.

“I’ve not seen Mark Davies since Thursday,” said the Ginger Sex Beast.  A hint Neil:  Look in the treatment rooms at the Macron, if the club still owns them, or the nearest branch of McDonalds.

Why do players need to be sold? To keep out of administration of course.  Or to pay the fees when going into administration.  No one seems quite sure.

The staff were paid last month – eventually, with help from the PFA.  What happens on the next wage run is anyone’s guess.   Unfortunately, there’s a £2 million tax demand that remains unattended to, which HMRC takes a dim view of, unless you’re Starbucks, Amazon, Google or anyone else big enough to stick two fingers up at them.

Not that you’d have known there was a problem back in November when hints of how bad the situation was began to emerge.

Whilst the club acknowledges it is going through a challenging time, there have been no threats to any staff jobs in the immediate future. After consistent backing from owner Eddie Davies, the club continues to seek fresh investment in what is a difficult and challenging economic climate.” ran a statement on the official site.  Backing from Owner Ed got a little less consistent just after that.

However, for entirely misplaced complacency, those words pale in comparison to Gartside’s, just after relegation from the Premier League.

We’ve got a fantastic benefactor in Eddie Davies, who happens to come from Bolton which is an asset. We’ve got a very small bank debt. We’ve got a £10 million overdraft with Barclays. In fact Barclays raised that this year to £15 million. The rest of the debt is better described as equity because it’s Eddie’s debt, he doesn’t get interest on it and he’s there for the long term.”

Yeah, right.

– Richard McCormick



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It’s Time for a Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust

As 2016 dawns, Bolton Wanderers is a club with significant and well publicised problems.  Although the large debt that had been accrued over a number of years has been removed there are still losses on a month by month basis, and new ownership is required.

There’s another issue which has been bubbling under the surface for a while.  Bolton was always regarded as a family based club.  With the move to what is now the Macron Stadium, the years of Premier League tenure and the adoption of a more corporate image, that feeling was lost.

Can anything be done about the disconnection between Bolton and its fan base? Perhaps.  If new ownership was secured it would be the ideal time to set up a supporters trust.

A supporters trust is a cooperative which allows fans to gain influence in the running and ownership of their clubs.   Objectives can vary.  Some trusts have secured part ownership of their clubs, others have supporter representation on the board.

A trust is usually established as a Community Benefit Society.  It must be democratic, transparent, open and affordable to all fans or fan organisations and non-profit making.

Thanks to Supporters Direct, an organisation that was set up with cross party support, there is an established framework for setting up a trust, although it takes time and committment from those involved.  There are currently over 170 clubs in Britain who have supporters trusts, and many have been set up in response to a financial crisis.

Of course Bolton already has a supporters group, the BWSA – Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association.  Respect should be given to those who formed it, but it has a partially deserved reputation as the cardigan and slippers brigade and does not represent a true cross section of fans. Whites followers are a diverse bunch.  From the gobby lot under the scoreboard, to the more sedate souls in the Upper West.  From the admirable hard core who find their way to every away game to the occasional visitors.

Attempts were made to revitalise the BWSA some years ago.  Four indivduals were drafted onto the controlling committee.  There was a measure of success.  Social gatherings went well and membership increased over five fold to around 500.

But some at the club wanted full control of the organisation and undermined it from within when that wasn’t forthcoming.  Ideas pronounced as unworkable when advanced at meetings were stolen.  Player appearances at meetings were limited to thirty minutes and some team members who were booked to attend were withdrawn at short notice.  There were threats not to donate merchandise that could be used in prize draws.

Unable to work under such conditions the four new committee members resigned and the BWSA returned to it’s previous state.  Ironically, those who impeded progress are no longer employed by Bolton Wanderers so a productive working relationship between the different organisations can be expected now.

Mass membership of a new fans’ organisation would ensure that all fans are represented.  A supporters trust can also act as an umbrella organisation, so existing groups such as the BWSA and the London Whites can retain their own identities while being part of the whole, should they wish to do so.

There are three stages to setting up a trust:

1. Hold an open meeting – Explain the concept of a trust, provide examples of trusts at other clubs, vote to form a trust, generate funds and assemble a working group.  Preparations for this meeting have already taken place.  Supporters Direct and the club have been contacted and the response has been postive.
2. Trust Launch – Explain the trust aims and obtain a mandate for the steering group. The steering group will decide on election procedure,  hold elections and prepare for the AGM.
3. The First AGM – Appoint auditors, present the business plan, present the election results and hold a Q & A session.

The open meeting for the formation of the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust will be held on Wednesday 6th January 2016 in the Platinum Suite at the Macron Stadium.

Supporters Direct will explain what a supporters trust is and a representative from another club will speak of their experience of setting up a trust.  At the end of this meeting everyone will be asked whether they wish to proceed in setting up a Bolton Wanderers trust.

Those who have an interest in Bolton Wanderers and the wider Bolton community are strongly encouraged to attend.

Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust Website – Scroll down and click on the Eventbrite meeting page link to reserve your ticket for the meeting.

– Richard McCormick



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It’s Time For Neil Lennon to Go

The Black Knight. Not a leg to stand on. Like Neil Lennon.

The Black Knight. Not a leg to stand on. Like Neil Lennon.

For any struggling football manager there comes a tipping point.  A performance or result where it becomes impossible to justify continuing employment.  For Neil Lennon that moment came on Boxing Day 2015 as his team lay down and surrendered at Rotherham.

Eighteen hundred Bolton fans braved lousy weather and dangerous road conditions to make the trip into Yorkshire.  They deserved better – a point made by the ginger sex beast himself in post match remarks.  He also pledged to carry on.

“I want to try and turn things around, I don’t want to quit, I don’t to want resign. I want to turn things around,”  he said, sounding like a cross between Margaret Thatcher and the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

There is no satisfaction in writing the above words.  On arrival, Lennon seemed to be genunine leadership material and spoke in a language that the fans could indentify with,  which is probably why he has been given a relatively easy time from the terraces despite a damning set of results.

Things on the pitch were more than acceptable at first, with talk of a late play off charge, but the rot started almost a year ago – ironically at the same stadium, as the Whites went down 4-2 against a side battling relegation.  Toward the end of the season, goals were conceded in the dying minutes of a succession of games, indicating a lack of fitness, concentration, desire or a combination of those things.  As often happens, a team that ended the campaign in poor form started the next one in similar fashion.

The Whites now find themselves seven points adrift of safety, with one win in 23 league games and with half the tally of Blackburn Rovers, the next opponents who are chugging along in 15th place.  There are mitigating factors, of course.  Injuries have played their part and with no transfer budget, Lennon had been reduced to rummaging in the bargain bins for new signings.  He isn’t any good at it.

But there’s an acid question, one that can be asked of any manager:  Is he doing the best possible job with the resources available?   Clearly that isn’t the case. In addition, like his predecessors, Lennon has failed to assemble a midfield that can protect the back  four or mend Bolton’s shockingly bad away form.

The Northern Irishman should be placed on gardening leave with immediate effect.  It’s a grubby way to end, but with insufficient cash for a lump sum pay out there are no other options.    The next appointment will need to made internally.  Jimmy Phillips, David Lee, Tony Kelly.  Perhaps they can rotate on a weekly basis – it can’t make things worse.

Perhaps Neil Lennon will prove himself as a manager in English football at a later time.  There is no reason not to wish him well in doing that.   But the time when he can make a difference at Bolton is gone now and he needs to go too.

– Richard McCormick


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Liam Feeney, A Rampaging Beast and the End of Everything

Christmas is coming,
Feeney’s getting fat,
He’s found a Bolton player,
Just imagine that!

Bogdan. Looks kind of familar doesn't it?

Bogdan. Looks kind of familar doesn’t it?

Bogdan’s dropped a clanger,
On that you’d bet your house,
It doesn’t matter now,
Because he’s playing for the Scouse.

Christmas is coming,
We haven’t any money,
Other fans, at other clubs,
May think that’s very funny.

Eddie’s out of greenbacks,
He’s down to his last quid,
The club’s for sale on E-Bay,
But no one’s made a bid.

Eddie can you spare a dime?

Eddie can you spare a dime?

Christmas is coming,
Lennon’s at the bar,
The ginger beast is on the pull,
He’s searching near and far.

Clearly there’s a problem,
It’s there for all to see,
It’s been suggested that we
Put some bromide in his tea.

Chistmas is coming
And points are hard to find,
We can’t defend for toffee,
Our strikers are half blind.

A randy ginger animal and a cat.

A randy ginger animal and a cat.

Christmas is coming,
We think of times gone past,
Enjoy the one that’s coming up,
It may…

…just be our last.


Manny Road wishes its readers a peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year and hopes for a fresh start for the club we all love.

– Richard McCormick


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