Jack Crosland is angry
Zach Clough`s U turn and the sale of yet more property has pushed back the threat of administration? for now. This has raised hopes that the seemingly never ending takeover saga may finally be drawing to a conclusion and one way or another we can begin to move on as a football club. The anger and frustration that Eddie Davies has caused has started to subside to the point where the overriding feeling amongst the Wanderers faithful is now simply hope that we will pull through this sorry chapter in our history.
What is absolutely vital in the long term is that we learn from the current regime`s many, many mistakes. I`ll assess how I feel that Davies, Gartside and co. managed to turn Wanderers from Champions League hopefuls to League 1 relegation candidates.
1. No long term planning
Almost every decision made by the board had only the short term affect in mind. A perfect example is the sale of Gary Cahill. Wanderers reportedly turned down bids of £15-£18m for the England international in the summer before our relegation from the Premier League. Considering the mess we are in now, that is a huge fee. It was clear to see that Cahill was destined to test himself at a higher level and, as long as a proportion of the money was reinvested in a replacement, most Wanderers fans accepted his time at Bolton was limited. The board didn`t see things so simply. After letting his contract run down another 6 months and facing him leaving for free in the summer, we had to accept a poultry £8m pounds for the defender. He went on to win The Champions League and has captained England and we went down, unable to invest the money wisely (Marvin Sordell). What`s worse is that it isn`t an isolated incident. Johan Elmander, our record signing, left for free. As did Fiorentina regular Marcos Alonso. Valuable assets simply walking away from the club as no one had the foresight to either sign them up to a longer term contract, or sell them for a reasonable fee. What about offering an aging Keith Andrews a 3 year contract on big wages? Who`s decision was that? This HAS to change. Decisions need to be made with the long term in mind if the club can progress.
2. Terrible Recruiting
I think you`ll have to go back to the days of Chung-Yong Lee and Stuart Holden signing before I can think of a player brought into the club permanently who genuinely improved the squad. The list of failed transfers is endless: Marvin Sordell, Zat Knight, Medo Kamara and so on. All though at times have provided rare sparks of class, they were ushered out of the door one by one only to be replaced by someone either equally or less effective. We must improve in this area. Especially for a club with a small budget, it is so important to make the most of the resources you have available to you. Half our problems have stemmed from terrible business in the transfer market.
3. Underused academy
It isn`t until recently that the club`s academy has finally started seeing young players come through. The benefits of an effective youth system are evident in the case of Zach Clough. The fans love him, he`s got a genuine feeling for the club and importantly he`s our most valuable asset. Although I`m delighted that Zach chose to stay at Bolton, recent events have shown us he is a player who commands a high transfer fee. That money, when we eventually do sell Zach, is vital for a club like ours to progress. It would probably require around £500k to sign Josh Vela as well. That is £2.5m of assets that the club has made them themselves. There has to be more emphasis on developing young players. Not only that, home-grown players give the team some identity and the fans love it. No one would boo Zach Clough if he missed a decent chance but the same can`t be said about Liam Feeney who we got on a free from Millwall. Academy players just give the place a feel good factor that can really boost the club.
Realistically there are many reasons why the current regime failed so badly. However those highlighted above are amongst the first that I feel the new regime should address. If we ever get a takeover, that is.
BY JACK CROSLAND