This is more than just football
Phil Gartside is not a particularly popular man as he has overseen a quite remarkable fall from grace. Under his stewardship the club has gone from challenging for a place in Europe and overcoming Bayern Munich to struggling at the foot of the Championship and putting together pennies to make up a strike force of Gary Madine, Emile Heskey and Shola Ameobi.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sure there have been times when the club has struggled and as chairman blame will always be attached to him but he’s not an evil person (although many like to claim that he is) and he has brought us some amazing times as Wanderers fans.
The recent revelation about what he said to Big Sam Allardyce before that cup final is depressing, yes, as is the fact that we refused to finance Allardyce’s reign but then threw money at mediocre players to try to keep us in the Premier League. That’s all tragic.
However, what’s more tragic is people ill-wishing our chairman whose heart is clearly in the club. Do you think he refuses to speak to the press because he doesn’t like cameras? Or because he’s too lazy? Well, put it this way- what is there for him to say that would give us any reason to further back him. No matter what he does he receives abuse.
Gartside is currently ‘seriously ill’ and although his future at the club is unknown, Trevor Birch (formerly of Leeds United, Chelsea and others) has joined inan ambiguous sounding position- either he’s chairman, or he’s advising and Brett Warburton is stepping up as chairman.
To be perfectly honest, I really don’t care either way. Birch’s CV shows that he’s been in this position before and helped massively the likes of Leeds and Chelsea. While he was unable to work those miracles at Portsmouth (he did do a good job there though by all accounts) I think the fact that he has already tasted failure actually makes him a more desirable proposition as it is failures that I feel drive the best people in all walks of life.
The club has announced, for the first times, that takeover talks are in place although we already know that and Birch will be leading the talks from Bolton’s side.
It may be the case that he rejigs finances in order to facilitate a potential takeover or investment- we’ll just have to see.
As for Phil’s future, it firstly depends on his health but we respect his family’s wish for privacy and the result of any potential takeover and if there is one, that party’s wishes.
But for now, let’s all wish Phil a speedy recovery and wish Trevor all the best in the job and hope that he can steer us out of this mess.