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FANS JURY: For better or worse... Is this as bad as it has been at Wanderers?

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Wanderers succumbed to their 26th league defeat of the season at Derby County, equalling a club record set in 2015/16.
But how does the current side compare to the last one relegated from the Championship – and do off-the-field issues give them some excuse for their failures?
We asked our fans’ jury if this is the worst Wanderers ever?

FANS JURY: For better or worse... Is this as bad as it has been at Wanderers? 9373124

Do we deserve it?

THEY say it’s the hope that kills you.
As Bolton Wanderers fans we often live in hope rather than expectation, especially in recent years and this season has been no different. With what was deemed by many, a better squad on paper than last, we started the season surprisingly well, showing typical Bolton fighting spirit with added touches of flair to go with it.
As a result, the hope started to build that we may have a relatively comfortable season. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Since September we seem to have hit the proverbial brick wall and have seemingly run out of the fight and will to overcome it. The failure to properly replace our one proper finisher has proven to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Josh Magennis is a strong battering ram of a striker, but is left isolated without support or service week after week. Sammy Ameobi is arguably our most talented individual, but turning up for one game in every 15 isn’t enough.
Our midfield is comprised predominantly of industrious defensive players and the lack of pace in defence is always going to be a weak link.
You can only work with the tools you are given and Ken Anderson has handed Phil Parkinson an old bag of rusty nuts and bolts, but a skilled workman can often make something from nothing.
The inability to fit Erhun Oztumer into any system is a source of many fan’s frustration, added to the banishment of the likes of Mark Little, Luke Murphy and Josh Vela causes questions to be asked of the skill of the man in charge.
Off-field issues have clearly played their part and I do feel for the players and management with the continuous uncertainty and pay issues, but the lack of quality around the squad has eventually caught up and we are where we probably deserve to be.

Chris Merrills

FANS JURY: For better or worse... Is this as bad as it has been at Wanderers? 9151674

Into Room 101

REWIND three years ago, near enough to the day, and you will find Wanderers playing 90 minutes at the iPro Stadium.
The only difference in the three years is that on that day, the fans were able to cheer a goal (albeit being a penalty but they all count).
Zach Clough, who was a ray of hope during this time, managed to tuck away a penalty and celebrate with Kaiyne Woolery, Emile Heskey and Neil Danns.
I know this is a moment that every Wanderers fan will now be reminiscing and smiling over; it gets better with the remaining games including fan-favourites such as Lawrie Wilson, Oscar Threlkeld and Niall Maher.
Mercenaries filled the team with the backlash of Coyle, Freedman and Lennon hanging over the club whilst fans think back to happier, brighter Okocha times.
I remember standing on the terraces of Craven Cottage pretending there was a party atmosphere whilst, once again, a damp squib of a performance idled away and we said cheerio to the Championship.
This, in my opinion, is the worst Bolton side that I can remember. I understand Jimmy Phillips wanted to give youth a chance and the problems we were facing during that season, but it was a real low point and finding the motivation to watch this team was tough. Jimmy mentioned on a number of occasions that we were lucky to still be a club (as we are now) but this was a team which wouldn’t even manage to mount a promotion charge in League Two – no offence to that quintessentially English league.
Being a Bolton supporter hasn’t been easy for a number of years with the off-field nonsense but following a 38-year-old Emile Heskey was straight out of a Stephen King novel.
At least this team has looked like they want to fight as we look back at last year’s last-day escape.
In 2015/2016 we failed to win an away game all season and held the wooden spoon when the curtains closed. At least we have won an away game and hopefully won’t be propping the rest of them up.
Room 101 for the 15/16 Wanderers.

Charlie Baines

FANS JURY: For better or worse... Is this as bad as it has been at Wanderers? 9721469

Hope for future

THIS has certainly been the worst season Wanderers have had in their 142-year history, both on and off the pitch.
However, I would argue that this isn’t the worst team I have seen. For the record, I’ve given that award to the infamous Wanderers side of 2015/16. I would go as far to say that our team this year is as good, if not better than the previous three years.
Our squad is full of experienced Championship-quality players who could have thrived in Phil Parkinson’s system.
We even saw a glimpse of this back in August when we found ourselves joint top of the table.
Regular first-team starters such as Jason Lowe, Pawel Olkowski and Joe Williams have consistently put in great performances throughout the season.
Future stars like Luca Connell and Remi Matthews have also been a silver lining in what has been a dark season for the club.
It’s quite reassuring to know that we already have the foundations in place to have a strong League One team for next season.
Looking back, it’s easy to see where it all went wrong. No matter who you are, it must be almost impossible to find any type of motivation when you’re not being paid and even having to cover the costs of your own travel.
Ultimately, our poor season comes down to the fault of just one man. I would say his name, but I plan on supporting the lads next season from inside the ground.

Lee Sidebotham


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