The term 'how the mighty have fallen` doesn`t really apply to Bolton Wanderers. At the pomp of our Premiership tenure, we were never a mighty team. We were a modest sized fish swimming in an illustrious pond, filled with other fish… Some of whom were twice our size.
Since the departure of Big Sam, our decline has been steady yet significant. Although disappointing (some may say devastating) for the fans, the plight Wanderers find themselves currently- since the expulsion from the Premier League- is not an exclusive one. Overspending, mismanagement, and ambitions-beyond-means have claimed the statuses` of several clubs, some bigger than Bolton Wanderers.
Although the decline and financial squeeze has never once been hidden from supporters, the full extent of the Whites` predicament hit-home completely yesterday as I watched the Transfer Window tick down.
I wasn`t watching for players signing for my beloved club, I was waiting for the departures.
After the most embarrassing defeat in recent memory- considering opposition and circumstance- the fans were promised change. The 4-1 loss to Blackburn Rovers was the final straw. We were promised change- not promised success, not promised signings, not promised a turn-around in performance- we were promised change and to be honest, that was good enough for me.
Although a lot of fans may disagree, Dougie has been backed this summer to recruit. Cold-hard transfer fees may not have been abundant but we have 'strengthened` the squad this off-season. Tierney, Baptiste, Beckford, Hall, Spearing and Moritz were recruited for the first-team and White, Wilkinson and Fraser were brought in for future seasons. So recruitment wasn`t what I was anticipating yesterday, I wanted the 'change` we were promised.
It doesn`t matter who you bring into this team, with the current crop of failures still residing key positions, they are still going to struggle. You can bring Gareth Bale into our starting 11, but with Zat Knight, Tyrone Mears and David Wheater in defence, would Bale stop the goals going in our net? Of course not. There may be an upturn in the goals-scored/goals-created tallies, but how long would it take to demoralise Gareth from even bothering, after going one-up only to quickly concede again? We`d soon be back to not scoring and conceding at the same rate, with Bale being booed for his dip in form.
That`s why I was excited at the promised 'change` on its way. Just like a player coming back from injury is like 'a new signing`, removing the rotting apples from the fruit basket should at least bring a renewed freshness to a demoralised team and renewed vigour to a lack-lustre fan-base.
Did we get change? Did we eckerslike!
Not only did we not cut the dead-wood from the team, we didn`t even chop off enough for kindling. Instead of releasing enough wood to make a state bonfire- after all the noise after the Blackburn fiasco- we only got out the sand-paper.
Although many fans were equating the demise of Bolton Wanderers with the signings we couldn`t push through- Ramage to Barnsley and Kightly to Burnley-, I saw it from the another angle.
The dead-wood that we failed to shift has now got woodworm and the rot is filtering through to the other players in the team. If we don`t shift the lumber in the upcoming loan window, the possibility of the whole team becoming firewood looms ever larger.