And so it goes to the wire. A few weeks ago, the season seemed dead as far as Bolton Wanderers were concerned. Now it’s alive and kicking, with outstanding home form and faltering fortunes from those who led the promotion chase for months on end. If the Whites beat Blackpool, a play off place is assured, provided Nottingham Forest don’t run riot against Leicester City.
Yet there are troubling divisions at Bolton. A section of the support is seen as inpatient and prone to barracking too soon. The OTT criticism of those fans is equally intolerant and equally divisive.
Long time readers of these pages know that Manny Road has severe misgivings about the way the club is run, with proof to match and too many unanswered questions.
Long term servant and club captain Kevin Davies has been jettisoned, with little in the way of explanation.
Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan draws criticism, some of it justified, much of it not. There may be mileage in the claim that he doesn’t inspire confidence in the defence, but it’s a two way street. Too often he’s been abandoned by the players who are supposed to protect him.
Should promotion be achieved, it will be a massive task not to be relegated again. Clever moves are needed in the summer transfer market.
None of this matters. Not at this moment anyway.
Bolton Wanderers can return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, with substantial financial rewards for doing so. A look at the clubs who were also relegated from the top flight last season shows that the situation could be a good deal worse. Blackburn Rovers are a joke. A grim joke. That Wolves have suffered another relegation is funny. Their fans invading the pitch, attacking players and stewards and dismantling the stadium isn’t.
Whites supporters have been much criticised over the past few years. The media claim they were bad to poor Gary Megson. Sam Allardyce, for all his achievements wasn’t above taking a pop either. Opposition followers mock attendances.
Bollocks to all of them.
Players come and go. So do managers, chairmen, even owners. Only the fans are forever.
It isn’t for this site to suggest how others spend their money. We live in austere times. But if you can afford to be at the Reebok next Saturday, pay the place a visit. A full house might be too much to hope for. The biggest gate of the season shouldn’t be.
Bolton fans at their best are as good as any in the land. Ask the 8,000 who journeyed to Anfield in 1993 expecting a thrashing, only to see Bruce Rioch’s men give a footballing lesson to the FA Cup holders.
The spirit of that night is alive and well. Let’s take the club back for the fans and propel it to the top flight of English football, a place that it has occupied for over seventy years – an astonishing feat for a small club.
Come On You White Men.
– Richard McCormick