There is a perception among many people that during the summer months football clubs shut up shop and everybody goes on holiday.
In all honesty, nothing could be further from the truth, especially here at Bolton Wanderers and Bolton Whites Hotel.
The ground works at our training ground in Lostock and at the stadium have been completed and I must thank the ground staff and all involved for their hard work. It’s important that the players in all our age groups have the best facilities possible at their disposal which will allow them to train and prepare for games. We will always continue to invest in our facilities.
Behind the scenes, our scouting team have been working non-stop in their pursuit to identify possible recruits who will be the right fit for the club.
It’s not a simple case of identifying a player, ringing him and his agent and then signing the deal. We do a lot of due diligence on how he can improve the squad, what his character and personality is like and then work out a deal that will be in the best interests for the club.
I’m of the view that we do all our business behind closed doors and then talk about it once it has been fully completed. While I understand that speculation creates a lot of excitement, especially during the summer, I don’t think that rumours are particularly helpful for all concerned.
Both the manager and I agree that the Sky Bet Championship this coming campaign will quite possibly be the toughest one on record. Considering the calibre of the teams that have come down from the Premier League and those who have been promoted from League One, the quality will be certainly dialled up by a few notches. We only need to look at Wolves, Derby and Middlesbrough, to name but three, to see how much money was spent by the bigger clubs last campaign. I fully expect this pattern to continue into next season.
As you will have already read, we had to make some very tough decisions by not offering new deals to some of the players. These weren’t done lightly and we’ve got to ensure that the club progresses each year. As I have mentioned, this coming season will be even tougher than last year so we will be ensuring that our squad is strengthened accordingly. It is our overall plan to reduce the average age of our squad going forward but I want to make it clear that we will also consider recruiting experienced players if they still have the levels of fitness required.
I’d like to wish all those who have left us the very best for the future and to thank them for their contributions to the club.
We were really pleased that Ben Alnwick signed a new deal to keep him at the club for the next two years. I believe that Ben was one of the best goalkeepers in the division last season and he was our stand out performer. That we have secured his services for another two seasons, despite strong interest from other clubs, shows how much we have come on as a club over the past couple of years.
It is no secret that we are being approached all the time by parties looking to invest in the club and I have always made it clear that if anything does happen in this regard then it will only be done if it’s in the best long-term interests for Bolton Wanderers. We have held and are continuing to have talks with interested parties. Our supporters will be among the first to know should anything happen.
I am fortunate to be the custodian of this proud and historic football club and until such time that changes I will continue to work diligently to ensure that we continue to make progress on and off the pitch, but I will continue to be prudent and run the club on a commercial and financially sustainable basis, as we do not wish to encounter the same mistakes of the past and incur the same type of problems that Aston Villa now appear to find themselves in.
Some of our pre-season fixtures have been confirmed so please keep an eye out on the club’s website and social media as we will add to these as and when new fixtures are confirmed. CLICK HERE to view the latest, confirmed pre-season fixtures.
I’m a firm believer that clubs don’t always need to go overseas to get the right preparation. Training camps abroad can provide distractions and don’t always offer the ideal conditions for what clubs can expect over the course of the season. There is also a growing trend among a number of clubs to remain in the British Isles during the summer, although I fully understand the commercial logic of why Premier League clubs go overseas to increase their followings.
With that in mind, we’ll be travelling up to Scotland later in the summer for several competitive matches. Details of the fixtures have yet to be finalised and we shall publish them on our digital channels.
The early bird season ticket deadline is fast approaching and sales are going really well, so I’d like to thank all those of you who have renewed and those of you who have bought them. The cash flow benefits to the club at this time of the year are enormous.
The deadline to buy them at the best possible price is Saturday 16 June. Please CLICK HERE for more information.
The brand new home kit will be released shortly, so please keep an eye on the website for more details of how to buy them. I must say that the new home and away shirts look fantastic and I cannot wait to see the lads wear them in August!
Of course, we’ve got three major events taking place at Macron Stadium before a football is kicked and that is why this year we have decided not to have a home friendly fixture.
Concerts return to Bolton in the guise of Little Mix and The Killers, while we are absolutely privileged to be staging both Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-finals on Sunday 5 August in a double header – the first time that this has happened.
Events of this magnitude are putting us back on the map as a venue and I am looking forward to attending them all. Hopefully, I will see many of you at them too.