Disappointing as the defeat was at Norwich City on Saturday afternoon, we can all take a lot of heart in how our performances have improved in recent weeks.
At Carrow Road we more than matched our top-of-the-table opponents throughout the match and our performance was brave and battling. Indeed with a bit of good fortune we could have taken an early lead.
To not let our heads go down after going two goals behind is indicative of the camaraderie and never-say-die spirit that is within the changing room at present and nobody could argue that we deserved a point when Sammy Ameobi and Mark Beevers got us back into the contest.
Losing right at the death like that is gut wrenching to say the least but we can most certainly build on that performance when we take on Leeds United at the University of Bolton Stadium this Saturday.
Thank you to all the supporters who made the long trip to Norfolk and for getting behind the team. Your support makes a huge difference and inspires the players.
Once again, we were at the wrong end of refereeing decisions in not being awarded a clear cut penalty and also with Sammy getting a second yellow card, which we thought was very harsh. I completely empathise with the manager who felt the need to send the referees’ chief Dave Allison a compilation of contentious penalty appeals that have not gone our way.
It really is unfathomable how we are not getting the rub of the green in this regard and I hope that they find a way to improve matters sooner rather than later.
As l have repeatedly said on many occasions, l will always do my utmost to be open and transparent and therefore will once again try and clarify what is currently happening both on and off the pitch.
Last Thursday l had what l thought was a constructive and meaningful discussion with several senior players and management, where l made a proposal to them about the payment of their November salaries. At the end of the discussion they thanked me for explaining and clarifying the position and said they would speak with the rest of the squad and get back to me.
Later on Thursday one of the senior players sent me a text saying, ‘we appreciate the offer you have made to us. Gordon Taylor from the PFA is going to act on our behalf and call you ASAP.’
Unfortunately, this meant that the payment proposal that l had made to them would now be further delayed.
I subsequently had a friendly and constructive telephone conversation with Gordon Taylor from the PFA where he asked me if we needed any financial help and if they could assist us in any way. To be absolutely clear Gordon called me and the club had not previously approached the PFA for any financial assistance.
During the conversation with Gordon we reached an agreement, but unfortunately the documentation that subsequently followed on Friday did not reflect what l thought had been agreed, which further delayed everything yet again.
I had another conversation with Gordon yesterday and what l thought had been agreed is now accepted and hopefully will bring this matter to a swift end and we can all move on.
For the record, some of the comments in the media are once again are wide of the mark and not for the first time. I really don’t know where they get some of the rubbish they regularly write from and I can only assume they make it up to sell their newspapers. Whatever it is they really do need to review the source of their information if they want to be regarded and treated as serious journalists.
As regards the media comments about the players going on strike, agents asking for transfers etc, once again, as far as l am concerned this is just more mischievous and negative journalism as l have no knowledge on either or where it originated.
To make it absolutely clear all our players are under contract with the exception of Stephen Ireland and Gary O‘Neill, whose contracts end early January and we will discuss the position with both of them over the next few weeks.
There has been some media speculation about a fire sale in January, but l can assure you that there is absolutely no truth or financial need for this and we will review what we do in the window nearer the time when the management team and l will discuss what has and hasn’t worked so far and what we all think is needed to strengthen and improve the squad for the run in to give us the best opportunity of retaining our Championship status.
Obviously, there are several players who have been on the periphery recently who want to kick on and be involved and do everything possible to get on the pitch and contribute to the challenges ahead but with many games coming up thick and fast between now and January the opportunity is there for everyone and as the manager said recently there is a chance for everyone to stake a place and show they can contribute and help us climb the table.
I think recent performances have shown a marked improvement and fortunately we are scoring goals once again, so l continue to be confident that the results we have deserved, but have missed out on, will come. The aim now must be to turn these performances into results and see the games out. As someone once told me, ‘the harder l work the luckier l become’ and l truly believe that the team are overdue some of that luck.
Leeds United are riding high in the Sky Bet Championship and as such will be tough opponents, but I believe we will give them a hard and competitive match and I’m confident that if we maintain the levels we showed at Carrow Road then we will be in a good position to get a positive result.
Leeds will be bringing a big following with them and it is imperative that our supporters get behind our players from the first whistle until the last and generate an intimidating atmosphere.
Tickets are available now to buy and I would urge you to get down to the University of Bolton Stadium and get behind the players en masse.
Half season tickets remain on sale and are available up until kick off of our Boxing Day clash against Rotherham United. They are the most cost effective way of watching our remaining home matches and start from just over £15 per match, so if you haven’t already bought one please click here for more information.
Throughout 2019 we have a number of commercial and sponsorship opportunities available including match day and match ball sponsorships as well as several hospitality packages. Click here to browse what’s available or call our Sales Team on 01204 673761.
Over at Bolton Central, we’ve got a lot of Wanderers’ related festive merchandise in store so why not browse our Christmas section on our online store and treat that special Wanderers fan in your life.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz family Christmas show has already started in the Premier Suite and there are shows right up until New Year’s Eve. The performances are receiving rave reviews and I would urge you to book on to one of the shows and treat your family over the festive period. Click here for more information.
Meanwhile, the Bolton Whites continues to host Christmas parties and events throughout December in the suites so if you haven’t already sorted out your work’s Christmas party why not give them a call on 01204 673610?
Don’t forget, it’s the BWFC Juniors Christmas party in the Lion of Vienna Suite on Thursday with a number of first team players in attendance. Click here to find out more information and we hope to see as many of our young fans as possible in attendance.
As usual, be loud, be proud and get behind the boys at the weekend as they look to get the results that their performances deserve.