Jack Crosland writes about teams who, in the past, have dealt with similar financial difficulties
With administration a real possibility at The Macron many Bolton fans are worried for the future of our club. Most of us haven`t got a clue what would happen if the worst was to happen so it`s largely pointless going over the fine details of what is, ultimately, a very complex business takeover deal. The big ‘A` word strikes fear into the hearts of football fans and frightening stories like winding up orders and failure to pay wages hasn`t helped the fans in desperate need of Christmas cheer. It`s easy to forget, though, that we are not the only club to go through such perilous circumstances in relatively recent times. Therefore I aim to ease a little fear amongst the Wanderers faithful by giving a brief analysis of clubs who were in our shoes not too long ago.. (One is top of The Premier League!).
Even the top flight leaders and owners of the hottest striker in world football have suffered through less cheery times. Entering administration in 2002, The Foxes couldn`t deal with the cost of moving into the formally named ‘Walkers` stadium. They were ultimately saved by Match of the Day favourite Gary Lineker. Could Dean Holdsworth do the same at Bolton? Who knows? On the pitch, however, Leicester`s situation was far less perilous as, free from a points deduction, they went on to secure promotion the same year. City`s stock has continued to rise steadily and now find themselves in their best position for decades.
In 2009, Southampton faced a situation similar to ourselves. Struggling on the pitch and facing administration due to overspending in the club`s heyday. They were ultimately relegated to League 1 after a points deduction and had to start life in the third tier with -10 points. Scarily, 6 years previous to this Southampton finished 8th in the Premier League and competed in Europe. This story is almost identical to Wanderers` plight, although it did take us 8 years to go from entertaining Europe`s elite to staring a league fixture at Bury in the face. How did they get out of their sticky situation? Putting faith in young players. It sometimes takes a club to be put in a position where they have no choice but to put faith in their young players, before they trust their academy. Only a few more Zach Cloughs then and we`ll be fine!
Think Bolton have problems? Only 7 years ago the Cherries narrowly avoided going out of existence. Struggling in League 2, it took a 31-year-old Eddie Howe taking over as manager to keep Bournemouth in the football league. Without Howe pulling off ‘The Great Escape` in 2009 the club may have faded away without a trace. Nowadays, Bournemouth is a great example of how a football club should be run and are enjoying their first ever spell in The Premier League. Bolton`s situation is far less perilous than the mess Howe took on around a similar time that Kevin Davies megged Kahn at The Allianz. Just as quickly as things unravelled at Bolton, their club grew beyond recognition.
Life as a Bolton fan isn`t easy at the moment, bit we live in hope that Bolton Wanderers will be added to the list of clubs that came back from the brink.