When I read the discussion on the Vital Bolton comments page, there always seems to be a divide down the middle: Those whose glass is half-full, and those who drank all their milk long ago.
So I`m putting forward the case of a bit of optimism for the fans and suggesting what we and the club can do to try and get the 'feel-good factor' back.
The most crucial thing I think we all need as fans is a bit more faith- not only in the work Dougie is doing but the players themselves. I`m not saying they should be immune to criticism, particularly if they play abysmally for weeks on end. But the first thing that needs to disappear is the booing of players during games.
It`s certainly not just Bolton supporters that boo, it`s become fairly commonplace at clubs up and down the country. But it doesn`t help us win games and we all know winning games is crucial. As a season ticket holder, I understand the frustrations we go through on a daily basis- it`s been a terrible few years- but we need to direct our ire elsewhere: at the opposing players, their fans, the referee, Margaret Thatcher, anyone!
It all comes down to faith - faith that we WILL turn it around, that we WILL challenge for promotion next season and hope Dougie gets the time he needs to do the job right.
We can be the 'twelfth man' at home games, and make it into 'Fortress Reebok` again. If we don`t, the only No. 12 we`ll have is Zat Knight. And nobody wants that!
It`s not just all on us- the fans- to change this. The club only need to take simple steps to help re-engage with the 'lost` fans; those who we lost under the 'Ginger Mourinho' reign of terror, or when we were relegated from the Premier League. The first of those steps the club could take would be to change the club crest, which has recently been whispered about. If it helps to re-ignite the interest of older fans- and get them back to the games- then I`m all for it. A full stadium is crucial to showing support and helping the lads on match days.
The other thing the club can do is lower ticket prices. The fans are out there. We just need to get young people coming to the Reebok before their mates convince them the more popular option would be to support Manchester United or Manchester City. We need to bring back these lost fans, get full stadiums every week, get behind the lads and shout them to Championship glory.
So, what do you all think? Is there a case for optimism? Would the things I have suggested work, or do you think these are the incoherent ramblings of an optimist, driven slightly mad by the last three years of frustration?
Over to you.