Date: 14th April 2016 at 6:11am
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A look at an alternative option for a managerial role at BWFC

At a time when all sorts of names are getting thrown about to be the next manager of Bolton, the next name you need to start thinking about is Dean Holden.

He came through the ranks and started his playing career at Wanderers, and was set to be first choice right back ahead of Nicky Hunt as we entered our Premier League glory years. That was until a leg break against Sheffield United all but ended the then 20 year old`s Wanderers career after 13 appearances in the latter stage of our 1999-2000 season. That squad also included names like Dean Holdsworth and Jimmy Phillips? interesting.

After leaving Bolton, Holden spent a couple of years in the SPL with Falkirk as well as the best part of a decade in League One. No one knows League One like Holden. To compliment the years spent playing there, he has fulfilled various roles as a coach, assistant manager, and manager in League One. He initially led the development side at Walsall, before being offered a role as first team coach with Lee Johnson at Oldham. After the pairs` success, Johnson moved on to Barnsley and Holden guided Oldham as manager for the rest of the 2014-15 season.

Holden is a well rounded, knowledgeable football man, he has obviously had a long career at many different clubs, trained as a referee and already gained experience coaching and as a manager, and has received the highest coaching qualification, the Uefa Pro License. He has a knack for developing young talent. As a senior player, development coach and first team coach at Walsall he has developed players like Romaine Sawyers and Rico Henry, both are up for the League One Player of the Season, and Football League Young Player of the Season respectively. Hopefully Wanderers` youngsters like Rob Holding, Josh Vela, Zach Clough, Alex Samizadeh and Jamie Thomas can benefit similarly from Holden.

Holden`s current side Walsall have a very small budget considering their league position, but they are team with a great attitude, team spirit and footballing philosophy. Holden reflects that philosophy, having been instrumental in bringing back flowing, passing football to Walsall, after Dean Smith`s exit to Brentford resulted in a more negative, direct approach with Sean O`Driscoll. Since he arrived at the club their formed has dramatically turned around with 4 wins in 6, compared with 1 win in the previous 9 games.

Talking with The Bolton News this week, Whites` Chairman Ken Anderson spoke of the club`s desire to bring a more modern “young, new-style manager.” Holden certainly fits the bill.

Holden began his career under his mentor Sam Allardyce, who speaks very highly of him. Allardyce and Dean Smith are two of many contacts Holden has acquired over the years, who I`m sure Bolton would be able to exploit for their best young players on loan, something Ken Anderson has said he`d like to do.

Like Allardyce, anyone who Holden knows seems to give him high praise, current Walsall boss Jon Whitney has commented on his “tremendous drive” and “enthusiastic” personality, while Marc Iles had this to say?

Holden could well fit the bill to become our next manager, but his experience over the last two seasons as an Assistant Manager and Coach in League One would perhaps make him an ideal candidate to take any role in the management team if the Bolton hierarchy opt for a different manager.

Ken Anderson, Dean Holdsworth, are you reading?


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