The victory against Walsall on Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup gave us a much needed lift following recent results.
It was the first time the club has scored five goals in a half since 1997 and I was particularly pleased to see Josh Magennis get a hat-trick as well as Clayton Donaldson getting off the mark.
Hopefully, it will stand us in good stead for when we travel down to Bristol City on Saturday.
The FA Cup does have a habit of bringing up some quirks and our own fourth round tie is no exception as we’ll be facing Bristol City at Ashton Gate once again not long after the league game. Ticket details for this tie will be announced in due course and I do hope we take a good following to cheer the players on and hopefully progress into the next round.
Over the weekend, it was brought to my attention that Neil Bonnar, who is the head of sport at the Bolton News, tweeted “Love Wanderers fans and staff but hope tomorrow’s result is the worst possible for the Andersons.”
I and seemingly many other Bolton Wanderers fans interpreted this to mean that he wished that we would lose our cup tie against Walsall in order to punish me. I found this to be irresponsible and disrespectful to the club, its supporters and my family.
I have noted that other people have commented in the past that his tweets occur late at night and are usually ‘rants’.
But I have also seen that earlier today he has attempted to backtrack in the newspaper and justify what he actually meant, but as a journalist I would have thought that his writing would be clear and precise, and reflect exactly what he meant to say. I think that it’s too late to try and get out of what was said on social media.
I would never wish ill on anyone and I am amazed that a person in Neil’s position would do so let alone write the comments in the media and social media.
I wish Neil no ill feeling but in view of how he feels towards me I would suggest he might be better off letting his colleagues write about the club going forward.
In light of Neil mentioning it again today in his article, it is also important to note that Marc Iles was not banned but had his media privileges withdrawn for the following reasons:
It was not solely down to his use of a GIF in a tweet but moreover Marc has repeatedly posted articles that were often factually incorrect and at times reproduced other journalists’ comments that were total nonsense, irresponsible and misleading. The GIF was a last straw as at a meeting only a few days earlier the Bolton News had been made aware of our concerns and this felt like a total slap in the face and to be honest was very immature and irresponsible in my opinion and certainly not something I would expect from a chief football writer.
In fact some were blatant lies and if he had contacted Paul Heathcote, as an example, he would have confirmed that the club did not owe SCC £300,000 and no writ had been issued, but unfortunately he chose to print the comments anyway.
Similar factually incorrect stories followed on a number occasions on subjects about players walking out, a player fire sale in January, the amounts l have paid for the shares and questioned if l had provided any funding to the club to mention but a few.
l also thought that a number of his articles and social media comments were disrespectful to our team management staff, players and myself.
I do accept what is often described and referred to as Hollywood licence by the press, but on a number of occasions l truly believe that Marc’s journalistic licence has overstepped the mark, particularly when it comes to being factually accurate and fair and balanced and l would remind him of his duty of care to ensure that his comments and stories are factually correct and representative of the truth.
I have previously referred to the damage these irresponsible and factually incorrect comments do to the club and its associated businesses financially and hope that this will be fully considered in future.
I have no problem with answering questions about the club from the press and our supporters within reason and have always done my best to be as open and as transparent as possible in my regular meetings and communications with our loyal supporters.
All l would ask for in return is that the Bolton News provides fair and balanced comments and refrains from writing inappropriate sensationalist headlines and constantly repeating factually incorrect comments.
For my part, I am the first to admit that the club needs someone with greater financial resources than l have to take the club forward and l can assure everyone l am doing my utmost to achieve this.
In the meantime l would ask everyone to be patient and supportive and get behind the club in our quest to overcome these testing times both on and off the pitch. I can assure you that I along with everyone else at the club are doing our best to try and ensure that the club’s financial position improves going forward as we have been doing for approaching nearly three years, but no one should forget the horrendous legacy we inherited and the hard work, efforts and sacrifices made by all staff to date. I am the first to admit that we have made some mistakes along the way but we are all still doing everything possible to move the club forward within our budgets and capabilities. You only need to look at other clubs in the Championship financial accounts to see the huge financial losses and the ever escalating costs involved in chasing success. As previously stated our debt levels and costs are one of the lowest in the league but we still have some way to go before we are balancing the books and are cash positive.
I noticed in a recent article published by Hold The Front Page that there was a large decline in the circulation of The Bolton News along with a number of other local newspapers, so it’s obvious that it’s not just our football club that is struggling to progress.
There have been a number of comments in the media and social media regarding the payment of the players’ salaries. For the record, I personally funded the November salaries and that the loan received from the PFA in late December would not cover one month let alone two, and once again I had to cover the remaining balance of the players’ December salaries.
Despite the regular references to the non payment of players’ salaries the reality is that the majority of the players’ salaries have only been paid late once in nearly three years since I have been at the club. The other 400 plus employees throughout the club and hotel have never been paid late.
I really do hope that this can now be the end of this saga and that we can all now focus on getting behind the team and management and getting the results we so dearly need to help us climb the table.
I found the chairman of Forest Green Rovers Dale Vince’s media comments very disrespectful and misleading to say the least. Both he and I verbally agreed in August 2018 that the first instalment for Christian Doidge’s transfer would be paid as and when we received the January 2019 EFL distribution.
This still remains the case despite his attempts to also try and bring an additional £250,000 payment forward to August 2019/January 2020 in addition to the already contracted £250,000 as well. This request was firmly rejected.
For my part, I will not drop to the levels that he did in his various allegations to the press as I believe it will serve no practical purpose. The EFL statement is the best way forward as far as I am concerned.
Regarding player registrations, the EFL agreed with us on Friday as to how we could register the three players for last weekend’s game against Walsall.
As previously stated we are still hopeful of registering the three players and the manager has told me that having spoken to them all, the players want to stay with us. Hopefully, this will be achieved.
Don’t forget that our season ticket holders can bring a friend for free when we play West Brom in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday 21st January. Let’s hope every season ticket holder takes up this offer and we can create a special atmosphere at the University of Bolton Stadium. More details can be found here.
Our Winter sale is still on over in Bolton Central and you can get 25% off the replica kit for a limited time. Please click here for more information.
Also, our 4 for 3 offer on our hospitality packages for our remaining home games is still available. Click here for more details.
Meanwhile, the hotel are holding a very special evening with a Tyson Fury over in the Premier Suite in February. More information can be found here.
I look forward to seeing you at Ashton Gate on Saturday as we return to Sky Bet Championship action against Bristol City.