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Bolton Wanderers finalises Academy restructure

29 January 2021

Bolton Wanderers Football Club has today confirmed that it has finalised the restructure of its Academy.

Following the departure of Academy Manager Jimmy Phillips which was announced in July, the Club has today announced that several members of staff, including former players David Lee, Nicky Spooner and Gavin McCann, have left the Club.

David initially signed on loan for the club from Southampton in November 1992 and made his debut in a 3-1 win at Exeter City.

The following month he made his move permanent when Wanderers paid £275,000 for his services.

During a stellar career for Wanderers, during which he helped them to reach the Premier League for the first time in 1995, he made a total of 199 appearances, scoring 20 goals between 1992 and 1997.

After leaving the Reebok Stadium, he joined Wigan Athletic and had spells with Blackpool and Carlisle United before calling time on his playing career at Morecambe in 2001.

He returned to Wigan as Youth Coach and the rejoined Wanderers in 2007 as assistant Academy coach.

David was latterly the under 23s coach and helped the club win the Professional Development League in 2018.

Nicky came the youth ranks at Burnden Park to sign professional forms with the club in 1989.

A tough tackling defender, Nicky suffered a broken leg during a game against Burnley in 1994 – an injury which sadly curtailed his first-team career with Wanderers.

After a loan spell with Oldham Athletic in 1999, he left the club and when to the USA to play for Charleston Battery.

He returned to England at the turn of the millennium and had spells in non-league football with Chester City and Leigh RMI.

Nicky returned to Wanderers in the autumn of 2004 initially as a youth coach for the under 8s before taking charge of the under 16s and most recently the under 18s.

He stepped up to help coach the first team on two occasions when the club was in the process of appointing new managers, and was part of the coaching staff that guided Wanderers’ youngest ever Football League XI when they drew against Coventry City in August 2019.

Gavin had a three-year spell with Wanderers in the Premier League between 2007 and 2010, and memorably played in the UEFA Cup scoring goals in the games against Red Star Belgrade and Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Earlier in his career he had featured for Everton, Sunderland and Aston Villa as well as earning a solitary cap for England in 2001.

The former midfielder hung up his playing boots after leaving Wanderers but returned to the club, initially on a part-time basis between 2012 and 2015, before joining full-time in 2016 where he coached the under 15s team. More recently, he was coach of the under 18s alongside Nicky Spooner.

Also leaving the Academy are Steve Ellis, Paul Wroe, Ben Williams and Brian Morris.

Bolton Wanderers Chairman Sharon Brittan said: “On behalf of the Board, I’d like to place on record my sincere gratitude to David, Nicky, Gavin and all the other members of staff leaving our Academy.

“The restructure took longer than was originally anticipated due to the pandemic but I would like to thank them for their hard work and professionalism shown throughout this process.

“I wish them well for the future.”

Further details and an insight into the club’s new look Academy led by Mark Litherland will be published next week.


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