Tom Jenkins discusses the worrying news that has come out of the club in the past week
As of 3pm on Saturday 7th of May, possibly the worst season in Bolton Wanderers history came to a dissatisfying but all too familiar end as we lost away from home, again. Any hope of a win to end one of the most remarkable and painful runs in football was dashed by Tom Cairney in the 77th minute but, in reality, we never looked like getting anything from the game. All the positivity after the Hull game evaporated and now we must wait and see what we have left to start anew in August. I for one, ever the optimist, felt a little bit of hope, until I found out about Rob Holding.
As this week has progressed the story surrounding his potential exit has gathered momentum, from Jimmy Phillips` revelation that he was forced to drop our Player of the Season last Saturday to hearing of Arsenal`s involvement and bids rejected, accepted and just about every kind of speculation imaginable. As written by the Bolton News on Wednesday: we have been here before. The sale of Gary Cahill is a pill that our fans still struggle to swallow given how close we came to survival without him (who knows what difference he would have made) but also that centre-backs of his calibre go for around the 20 million mark, not 7 million. We mustn`t be ripped off again.
Furthermore, news yesterday of which players would not be retained by the club has increased fan ire and frustration given that not only has half of our academy been released but also two young players, in Niall Maher and Oscar Threlkeld, who would have been expected to be first team regulars next year. The club has done well in my eyes to give these kids a chance and the majority appear to be good enough. Why are they being let go? It`s ridiculous!
If it`s because we have no money to pay academy players` wages then it`s a huge concern as they cannot be on anything close to mind-boggling salaries. However, if it`s because we think we can do better, then the owners have seriously misjudged how good these boys are and how poor the potential options could be given we are now a League One club. For me, these are the only two possible trains of thought in Ken Anderson`s head and both are exceedingly worrying: we are either broke or he is very naive.
Personally, I still believe there is nucleus of good players at the club who can make a real impact next year as we bid to turn this nightmare situation around but that won`t count for anything if they are sold or those around them to give them backing are let go. The squad we have obviously needs improving, but a total clear-out won`t help us at all. Anderson spoke of wanting to keep the youngsters to back up a nucleus of 16 senior players. At this rate he`ll be lucky to get an entire squad of that size.
Finally, I would like to give my sincere thanks to both Tony Kelly and John McGinlay for doing their level best to distract us all from this dire situation today with the Legends Game. I will be going and I would encourage anyone who can to do the same. It will be great to see some of our old favourites back playing and, as I said, to have a reason to smile at the Macron in 2016 will be a welcome change. The timing couldn`t be better and I can`t wait.