Hopefully many of our season ticket holders will take up the ‘bring a friend for free offer’ for our home game against West Brom on Monday and we’ll have a large crowd in front of the Sky Sports cameras to cheer the players on for what will be a tough test.
Season ticket holders have until 5pm on Saturday to redeem this offer and more information can be found here.
It seems such a long time ago since we started off the season with a memorable win against West Brom at the Hawthorns and I know that the players will give it their all to try and get a result on Monday evening, which could act as a springboard for us to go on a positive run of results.
The club is aware of planned action by some supporters ahead of the game. I really hope that common sense prevails and that these don’t take place as I certainly don’t think that they will be helpful for the club or the team as they prepare for the game. However, if they do, then I hope they are done as peacefully as possible and do not cause any disruption to the match itself as we certainly don’t want to face any punitive action by the football authorities. If you haven’t already seen it, here is a link to the article the club published yesterday.
It appears that the protest is being led by a very small minority of people, which is often the case and has clearly been seen at a number of other clubs. I do have to wonder what their ultimate aim is? History has clearly shown at these other clubs that nothing has been achieved.
Earlier this week, all monies owed to existing football creditors, the PFA and HMRC were paid.
To that end, I’m delighted that Gary O’Neil has signed a new short-term deal with us while Remi Matthews has returned to the club to complete his permanent transfer from Norwich City.
By the time the transfer window closes, I’m confident that we’ll have a squad capable of staying in this division and as always we need your continued 100% support to get behind the players to help achieve this.
We have ten games remaining at the University of Bolton Stadium and it’s imperative that you all show your continued support in each of the games. Every point is vital and we must battle as one to ensure we get them.
I’d also like to remind you about the IberCup which is taking place at the stadium and training ground in May. This is the first time that this prestigious youth football tournament has taken place in England and we are absolutely delighted and thrilled for it to be taking place in Bolton.
As well as hosting some of the top youth teams from all over the world, there is also the showcase tournament which is aimed at grassroots teams. This offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for some of the young players involved and I would urge that if you have any connection to local youth teams then why not consider registering and taking part. More information can be found by clicking here.
I was invited to take part in two radio interviews earlier this week with Five Live and also BBC Radio Manchester’s fans’ forum. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend them as I was overseas and I gave my apologies.
I have since heard the recordings of each show and I actually thought the Five Live broadcast was fair and balanced, and based on the information they had available.
I welcome and encourage these debates as I believe that football is all about opinions and thrives on the banter that emanates from the match itself, workplace or at pubs.
However, some of the conversations that took place at the fans’ forum were in my opinion well wide of the mark. I have no desire to repeat them all here as I think there is no point in trying to reignite a war of words which may prove distracting for the team.
But I did find one particular point somewhat surprising when unfavourable remarks were made about our Academy. I think the recent successes of the under 18s and under 23s do speak for themselves and the fact that a number of our younger players are out on loan with other clubs and performing really well suggest that the Academy is more than fit for purpose.
It wasn’t that long ago that the club proudly announced the Academy obtaining Category Two status. With the support from the Bolton Wanderers Development Association, we were able to build a dome up at the training ground which not only provides benefits for the club but is also widely used by the community.
Suffice to say, that through my series of webnotes published on the club’s official website, I have tried to make my stance and position very clear, and that everything I have written is based on fact and honesty, whereas a great deal of the comments made at the forum and regularly on social media are factually incorrect and at best misconstrued assumptions.
As they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
We do get inundated on a regular basis for confidential information and the reason we don’t comment or respond is that the information is confidential, and without speaking on their behalf the EFL I presume adopt a similar approach when dealing with enquiries of this nature.
Anything that we feel appropriate and can and or are able to say is usually published by the club through its existing channels.
My focus remains on doing what I believe is best for the club and I fully understand that the decisions I take are not always pleasant or welcome. At the present time I am fully concentrating on the club retaining our Championship status, trying to find a new investor and striving to make the club financially self-sufficient in the meantime.
Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of misinformed comment about the efforts being made to sell the club and even the price being asked and once again a lot of this is total nonsense and misconstrued assumptions and conclusions.
It is well documented that we are not the only club available to buy and, like us, a number of other clubs have had a number of false starts, such as Newcastle United, Hull City, Charlton Athletic, Notts County and Port Vale to name a few and l now understand Sheffield Wednesday is also available.
I have also noticed that several club owners who recently bought clubs have gone on record to say that with hindsight they wouldn’t do so again.
I recently read an interesting article published by FourFourTwo which I believe perfectly encapsulates the problems facing Championship clubs without parachute payments - https://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/financial-fair-play-vs-fairy-tales-football-leagues-intractable-fiscal-conundrum
There have also been discussions about Championship attendances this season and I thought the following article would be of interest to you: https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/stoke-city-leeds-attendance-championship-2438938
In spite, of the recent criticism I have read and been told about, I have been buoyed by the number of well wishes I have received from the club’s employees which is in total contrast to some of the negative comments about low staff morale made at the forum and in the media. Indeed, a senior manager recently wrote to me reminding me about the ‘high percentage of staff retention between the club, hotel and academy of circa 85% to 90% which to me speaks volumes about the support internally.’ I am also greatly encouraged by the comments and kind wishes I have received from many supporters and people involved with football at all levels.
Interestingly, I was told that over the last week or so the hits on my recent web notes were over 100,000 which is a huge increase on the usual number of hits on all subjects on the website. As they say, ‘all publicity is good publicity’, or to quote Oscar Wilde: ‘There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.’
In a perverse way I find that quite reassuring when I am told about the vile and hostile stuff on social media about me and my family, but unfortunately that seems to go with the territory these days.
Sadly, I know from my conversations with the late Ed Davies that it was this type of hostile comments and abuse in the media and social media that played a big part in his decision and finally prompted him to withdraw financial support and put the club up for sale.
Once again, I would ask everyone to please continue to get behind the players and the club, and be the twelfth man on Monday night against West Brom on Monday irrespective of everything else that is going on, as I am sure like me you will agree that the future of the club is far more important than anything else at this time.