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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » FANS' JURY: How concerned should Wanderers fans be about the winless start?

FANS' JURY: How concerned should Wanderers fans be about the winless start?

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
We asked just how concerned supporters were about Wanderers' winless start to the season - or whether things would work out in the end, in this week's Bolton News Fans' Jury.

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So, the question is, “how worried am I by the start to the season”?

Well, for a natural worrier like myself, that’s easy to answer. In fact, had we won all four competitive fixtures to date and were sitting on top of the league, I would now be worrying about when it was all going to turn sour!

Seriously though, when the club you support resembles (on field) an HGV careering out of control down a steep gradient with the brakes not working, then it would be strange if one wasn’t at least apprehensive.

Four relegations and one solitary promotion in nine seasons, is a fall of seismic proportions such that the powers that be at the club decided that a new strategy was called for this season. Hence, we appointed a new head coach, recruited the equivalent of a new squad, revamped our Academy structure and dispensed with our Under-23/21/Reserve team after 99 years of continuous second-string football, interrupted only by two World Wars. Brave or unwise? Time will answer that question but nonetheless a bold decision by our director of football.

I won’t lie to anyone. When the task of appointing a new head coach/manager was in progress, I felt strongly that the need for an established manager was imperative. Chris Powell, Nigel Clough, Simon Grayson, Gary Bowyer etc. There was so much riding on this season that to decide to go in a completely new direction would be a risk too far. Ian Evatt was for me potentially a good choice but not at this time. In the weeks and months ahead, events will prove me right or wrong. I sincerely hope I am wrong by the way.

This confident, articulate, young head coach has taken on a huge responsibility and now needs positive results to give him the breathing space, that so few managers get in football, to implement his ideas.

None of us should expect all of his new signings to click as a unit just yet, nor will all of these signings prove successful individually. The law of averages dictates that. But I do feel that we have brought in young players, some from non-league football, for whom the burden of playing for Bolton Wanderers seems to be weighing too heavily on their shoulders just now.

Am I worried? Please refer to Paragraph One! Our club has fallen way too far. It cannot afford to fall any further but nothing can be taken for granted. I just wish we could all get down to the stadium on Saturday to help Ian Evatt and his players to apply those metaphorical brakes and start a new journey. A far, far better one for all of us.

Steven Battersby

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BOLTON Wanderers fans have been known to over-react down the years. They did before Bruce Rioch signed David Lee and John McGinlay, they did when Colin Todd sold Sasa Curcic and I'm sure I remember people saying promotion chances went when we flogged Zach Clough to Nottingham Forest.

All of the above now look daft in hindsight but they should all be a lesson learned that you cannot fairly judge a manager until he has had a good few months to get things right.

Keith Hill had to sign a load of freebies and then play them the following weekend. He called it the impossible dream but, in reality, it was the impossible fantasy. There was no chance that team were going to stay in League One.

Although I sympathise with Hill's situation I think it was the right decision to change him for Evatt in the summer. It was the only way to freshen up the mood, sell some season tickets (which we certainly have done) and put a product on the pitch that people wanted to see.

Can we expect him to throw a squad together over the summer and have it playing at its best two games into the season? Can we heck as like. And I wanted to write something stronger there but the paper probably wouldn't let me.

We want to see improvement. We played okay against Bradford and Crewe, rubbish against Forest Green, better against Colchester. Of course you wanted a result to show for that but, for me, it is about building to that first win and then getting momentum. Slow and steady wins the race in League Two, not whoever is top of the division at the start of October.

If by Christmas Evatt has not found a winning formula then I think we can ask him and his 'head of all things football' Tobias Phoenix whether they have made the right decisions. It might even be serious enough to ask for change but I don't think it will be. I think they will be mid-table and have something to build on by then.

He hasn't found a proper back three or four yet. Maybe Yoan Zouma is the answer? If he can cut out the mistakes he made in League One and get some coaching into him he could be a real player at this level of football.

Geoff Smith

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