Arriving at Bolton Wanderers yesterday in a season-long loan move from Blackburn Rovers, Tom White achieved a great deal of success at Barrow last season, helping the club to the National League title under the stewardship of Ian Evatt.
The Newcastle-born midfielder admits he’s honoured to be reunited with Evatt at a club he remembers watching in the Premier League growing up.
White said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to have joined the club. It’s been on the offing for a while and it’s taken a little bit longer than I would’ve liked to be fair, a bit stressful and everything but there was only one place I wanted to come this summer and I’m buzzing that it’s finally been done.
‘I’ve got a really good relationship with the gaffer. His record last season speaks for itself. It’s an honour that he’s asked me to come back with him because I know how good of a manager he is and what he’s capable of. The fact he’s rang me up and asked me to come to Bolton is a huge pat on the back for myself and I’m obviously happy that he’s given me another opportunity.’
Joining Wanderers after probably the brightest spell of his career to date, the 23 year-old spoke highly of Barrow and hopes to carry on his form at the University of Bolton Stadium.
‘I can’t speak highly enough of Barrow and the fans there. It will always hold a special place in my heart and obviously with the promotion and the success it was a great time in my life and probably the best six months I’ve had in football. Hopefully I can carry on that momentum and kick on here.
‘I spoke to the manager when he got the job here and he asked me to join him. Obviously it’s a massive football club and I was buzzing to come here. It has been a little bit of a wait just sorting things out but I told him that I’d jump at the opportunity to come and play for Bolton.
A lifelong Newcastle United fan and a former Season Ticket holder, White has vivid memories of seeing Bolton Wanderers as a regular opponent for the Toon Army in the top flight of the English game. He acknowledged the size of the club he has walked into and has high hopes for the team’s progress and success under Ian Evatt.
‘I remember Bolton as a Premier League club when I was growing up. I had a season ticket at Newcastle when Bolton were an ever present in the Premier League. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for me to come and play my football at such a massive club. I’m on loan from Blackburn which is another huge football club, so I’m in a fortunate position and I hope I can capitalise on that.
‘I had a look around the place on Friday and then went back up north to pack my stuff and come back down on Sunday night. The training ground and the facilities are obviously very good and the training has been very sharp. It was a very good standard and I think once the gaffer gets his methods into the players and the fitness levels right, I can only see us getting better and better.
Described by Ian Evatt as a ‘complete midfield player’, fans would be forgiven for not knowing a great deal about White who is yet to make his debut in the Football League. The loanee midfielder certainly impressed at Barrow and in Blackburn’s Under-23s in the last 12 months and he detailed his main attributes as a central midfielder.
‘I would say I’m quite a busy player, I like to get about the pitch and get on the ball. I like to do both sides of the game; I enjoy having the ball but I also enjoy winning it back. I’d say I’m a player with a lot of energy and hopefully a bit of composure on the ball.
‘I think it’s all about first impressions really, it’s up to me to make an impact and then fans can make their own minds up on me.’
Promoted with Barrow from the National League this season, White will go in search of his third career promotion this coming season and his second consecutive promotion. The standards have already been set by an ambitious Head Coach and the latest acquisition believes everyone will be buying into the plans and the objectives, as he looks to make his mark in the Football League.
‘A few years back I got a promotion with Scarborough as well and it would be nice to get a third promotion of my career this season. It’s the minimum really that this football club should be aiming for, nothing else is acceptable really. I know the gaffer has said the same thing, so we’ll all be pulling in the same direction and fingers crossed we can be up there.
‘I had my spell at Gateshead and then got my opportunity to go to Blackburn and for whatever reason that hasn’t really gone as I’d planned. The gaffer gave me a lifeline last year to play at Barrow and play in the National League which is a very tough league, but we did really well.
‘I’ve always thought that I could make the step up into the Football League; I’ve got the opportunity now and I just need to prove it to myself really. I’ve got the confidence to think I can do it, so it’s now about me going out there and making my feet do the talking.’
The calendar year of 2020 has been a year like no other and White is more than happy to have swapped running around a local park with friends for being back on the grass and training with his new teammates at Lostock.
‘The last time I took part in a training session before coming here was back in early March. I’ve been doing a lot with my friends back home, meeting up in the local park and keeping fit – just ticking the days down really until we were back in training. It was brilliant to get the boots on this morning and get on the grass and I just can’t wait for it to keep going.’