Tom Jenkins tries to show why it isn’t time to write of Bolton just yet…
It is often said when people discuss the plight of Bolton Wanderers that the situation is made to seem worse because of how good we have had it over the last 15 years. We have seen brilliance grace the Macron (Reebok) in Anelka and Okocha, European football for the first time ever (twice) and, on numerous occasions, little old Bolton embarrassing the big boys. Now, as we are all too aware, those heady times couldn`t seem further away and nobody reading this will want me to remind them of this, but I will anyway. Anyone who has read my articles in the past will be aware of how I like to put positive spins on terrible situations and, given the winding up order petitioned on Thursday, I am going to struggle. But, nonetheless, here is my attempt:
The situation appears dire because of all the negative coverage it has received in the national media. The only stories you see are ‘Bolton in perilous position` or ‘Bolton near administration` and while these are true, they aren`t the whole story. We do have prospective buyers interested in the club and, also, a man at the helm in Trevor Birch who has dealt with this before with success. There`s light at the end of the tunnel if we choose to see it.
Too often at Bolton Wanderers (over the last few years certainly) there has been a negative stigma attached with the club both on and off the field with problems ranging from poor performances to supporter unrest. I don`t for one second think that the majority of players at this football club are good enough for where we want to be but guess what: we are stuck with them and they have shown, if the pessimists among us choose to look, that they do have the capability to get us out of this dire situation. Look at today`s game for instance: Hull are 4th, they have the second best defensive record in the league, they have a good manager and everyone thinks they will batter us. You know what? We can beat them. We are on the same pitch, we are in the same league and we have absolutely no pressure on us to win.
We have the advantage that everyone in football is looking at us with expressions of pure relief that they aren`t in our position. We have no money and we are bottom. But we are Bolton Wanderers and every true fan who loves this club and everything it stands for has the duty to turn around and say “Sod this! If we are going down we are going down fighting!” The legacy of this club has been that when we are pushed to the ground and consistently kicked to keep us there, we keep going and rise again. We have down in the depths before and rose to get European football. In 2008 we were dead and buried but with 5 games to play we turned it round and survived. We lost 5-0 at Wembley and beat Arsenal the next week. What has been lost since finishing 7th in 2012/13 is the spirit to get back up and rise again.
The malaise hanging around this club has been going on for too long and we, as supporters who for some godforsaken reason choose to sport the old White jersey week in, week out must keep the faith that things will improve. Nobody wants this club to die and it won`t if we believe in Bolton Wanderers and everything we stand for. I believe and so should you.