It isn’t an unreasonable claim to say that Saturday represents the biggest game in Morecambe’s history. The Shrimps have never been as high as the third tier and victory against Bolton would see them edge extremely close to a truly remarkable achievement.
For Bolton, it must be viewed as a similarly colossal fixture.
Bolton Wanderers just don’t really play in the fourth division. You can use all the cliché’s in the world about the stadium, fanbase, history and even the size of the town – but there comes a point where it isn’t a cliché, it is just a truth. Wanderers shouldn’t be in a league whereby a poor run of form over a 2-3 month period could see you removed from the fully professional leagues and, bluntly, put into probable oblivion.
We know why we are here. Intentional neglect, natural erosion and a failure to adapt had allowed a proud institution to experience one of the worst periods, on and off the pitch, of a football club in English history.
We didn’t just fade away, we collapsed into almost nothing but dust.
We know why we are here. A false start to the new era, natural teething issues and a failure to adapt had allowed a proud institution to be genuinely concerned about relegation out of the Football League. That was until one of the greatest periods of form that Bolton Wanderers have had in well over a decade, the impact of it potentially being more important than pretty much any other run of form.
We didn’t just get back on our feet, we began to stride like the giant this club is.
A few months ago, it was important to just enjoy the ride. There were some iffy performances in that long stretch of wins but hey, that’s life. Just enjoy that ride.
We are past that now. It’s been fun and it can still be fun but the idea that supporters will console themselves with those three months is probably naïve. It has earned the manager and the ideas of the ownership some patience and some goodwill – however, ensuring that the ride doesn’t stop here will earn them much more than just patience and goodwill in the minds of Bolton fans.
Now is the time to earn it and own it. The players, aided by three months of impressive management by Ian Evatt have launched themselves into a position where they can be at the forefront of our rise back. They have the ability to etch themselves into Trotters’ folklore; the men that kicked start our ascent back up through English football.
A Morecambe win would be a huge moment in their history, a Wanderers win would be a huge moment for our future.
Be cold, be clinical, stay calm and finish the job.