One year since a club, aged 145 years, did not only teeter on the brink; it had began its descent. Shrouded in mystery and “the unknown” yet one thing was clear: we won’t have a football club much longer.
This was the ultimate and inevitable climax of the preceding decade. A decade that left fans angry then apathetic then deeply concerned and then devastated.
In 2019, I wrote the attached images (below). The impending loss of Bolton Wanderers and Bury was more than just two football clubs running out of money. It was a culture, community and an escape being torn away from hundreds of thousands of people.
The matchday on a Saturday is the refuge of the working-class. 5 or 6 days a week of toil in order to afford and enjoy the Wanderers. Although this notion is often confused with a vendetta against modern football; it remains a core value for many supporters, particularly in the lower leagues. Ian Evatt himself insists the need to entertain “the working man” on the weekend.
The hope of survival had faded.
And then… it had bin dun.
Football Ventures’ new-ownership of Bolton sparked the suggestions of a rebuild. It needed so much more than that.
This was a football club on its knees with no players, kit, staff, sponsor, dignity or positive outlook. It needed healing, it still does need healing. The club will have the remains of the very recent fragile and vulnerable past however it is growing once again.
With still just over two weeks to go to the season, Bolton have made 16 signings as well as having already played five pre-season matches. The organisation and planning is evident.
The transfer business, the season ticket details, the kits, the photographer, the social media and the manager; all basic and fundamental requirements. However there has been an underlying efficiency, relentlessness and belligerence to this summer’s activity.
The assertion and ambition is reflected in the manager’s persona. I don’t think this is a summer of hot-air and bluster. I think we are seeing the start of “somet special”.
As I say, it was clear the club needed more than just a “rebuild” and it’s getting more than just a rebuild. Without being needlessly cliché and overly indulgent of the marketing motto; it’s getting a rEVOlution.
FV’s work hasn’t just been impressive in relative terms to Bolton’s recent past; their work is impressive in comparison to League Two and the rest of the EFL.
Cynicism, scepticism and pessimism has been the mindset and thought process of Bolton supporters for too long.
The club and the town has, does and forever will overcome difficulties.