I can imagine that, like me, you were all very disappointed on Saturday after losing to Burton Albion.
I can fully understand the frustrations that were clearly shown by you, our loyal supporters, on Saturday and l hope the players have taken it on board and ensure you don’t have to endure those frustrations again this season.
There is no doubt that it was an important match and one that we needed to win, but unfortunately it was not to be and a great deal has already been written and said by others on the manner of the defeat.
There is a lot more that l could say but l cannot see any benefit in referring to the negatives and prefer instead to put the defeat behind me and move on with a positive attitude to the future.
Dwelling on the past will not help any of us and it’s very important that everyone puts it behind them and goes out and puts it right.
Fortunately, as bad as the defeat is to take, and as has been said elsewhere, it will not be the defining factor in our quest to retain Sky Bet Championship status this season.
There are still 23 games to play and l am sure that our players will bounce back and give it their all in the forthcoming games as they have done previously.
As the manager said before the game, there are a number of players who are playing to keep their places in the squad with others wanting to be given the opportunity to come in and show what they can do before the transfer window happens.
We currently have 29 players eligible to play for the first team with four of our younger players in the process of being registered which will take the squad up to 33.
I know there are a number of players who are knocking on Phil’s door asking for a chance and l am sure the opportunity may come their way over the busy festive season.
Over the last few weeks, our results have been mixed and l have to say that we have lost or drawn games where we should have taken all three points and this has to change.
It is essential that the players step up to the challenges ahead, particularly over the festive period, to ensure that they, as well as the club, stay in the Championship.
The time has come to take a long and hard look at where we are and to take the decisions that ensure we start climbing out of the relegation zone and up the league to safety.
My sole aim since l have been involved with the club is to do what is best for the long term future of the club and l won’t hesitate in making difficult decisions if that is what’s required.
By that I mean backing the manager and bringing players in to strengthen the squad, as well as letting players go.
We cannot afford the luxury of carrying anyone who is not giving their all, week in, week out, on the pitch or training ground and knocking on the door to play.
Going through the motions of just turning up for a pay cheque is not acceptable and won’t be tolerated.
The players and the management team are all aware of this and it is now up to them to deliver and repay the support and faith you the supporters have shown in them particularly over the last five months.
There can be no more excuses - every single one of the squad has to go out there, whether it be on the training ground or on a matchday for every single game and give everything they have and a bit more.
They have to want it more than the opposition and ensure that we are a difficult team to beat, home or away, and to try and make sure that we come away from each match with at least a share of the points.
With that all said, there is an even bigger need now for the town to come along and get behind us and give us the best possible opportunity of staying up.
If I have said it once, l have said it a dozen times: the support and vociferous backing you give to the team does make a difference and last season was proof of this, if proof was ever needed, that you can lift and inspire the team to go out there and give their all and grind out the results we so dearly need now.
l am doing everything possible to encourage the missing 8,000 or so fans who came along and got behind us last season to come back and do so again.
The festive season is a great opportunity to come along and support the team and for my part, l have offered free tickets for the Cardiff City game to everyone who has supported the Aladdin pantomime with a view to attracting young, new potential supporters of the future who may never have been to a game.
Hundreds of you have already taken up this offer, but if you haven’t claimed your free ticket please do so. With a number of performances remaining this week, you can still buy your tickets by clicking here. Please visit the Ticket Office to redeem the offer.
We now have two massive home matches coming up against Cardiff City and Hull City - and I am sure that you can imagine the lift this would give everyone if we could have a stadium of 20,000 as we did at the end of last season.
We really do need to make Macron Stadium an intimidating place to come for the opposition, with tickets for these games able to be bought online by clicking here.
Half season tickets are still on sale and can be bought right up until kick off before the Hull City game on New Year’s Day. Being a season ticket holder represents the best value possible in terms of watching Bolton Wanderers at Macron Stadium.
A half season ticket will allow you to watch the last 11 home games from just £15.45 per match and you can purchase them via a monthly direct debit option which can be spread over four months. More information can be found here.
As a small Christmas gesture for supporting the club meanwhile, everyone who buys a half season ticket (including any of those that who already have purchased one) will also receive last season’s commemorative promotion book, on a first come basis and whilst stocks last.
This is an ideal stocking filler, not to forget a fantastic memory of the club’s achievement last season. Please visit Bolton Central to claim this offer.
With Saturday’s match being the last one before Christmas Day, it will be the ideal opportunity to come along to Bolton Central and stock up on some last minute Christmas gift ideas for your friends and family.
There will also be a special matchday offer on the 2018 official calendars which will see you get 50% off the RRP of £7.99 – another perfect stocking filler.
As well as the Pantomime, the hotel are hosting several other festive family events including Sooty’s Birthday Bake Off on Saturday 30 December. Tickets for this are just £5 per person and can be booked here.
And on New Year’s Eve, we are also hosting a rather special Family Extravaganza which will enable you and your family to bring in 2018 in style.
With plenty of fun entertainment and a two-course meal, it will be an ideal occasion for your family and you can book your places by calling 01204 673610.
As always, let’s be loud, let’s be proud and let’s get behind the boys.