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FANS' JURY: We're looking forward to next season because...

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
As the time ticks down on a wretched campaign, relegation now confirmed, thoughts inevitably turn towards rebuilding under new owners in League One and the potential of a fresh start.

Wanderers have been down in the mire for two years – so we asked readers to sum up why they are optimistic that things can change for the better in this week's Fans' Jury.

FANS' JURY: We're looking forward to next season because... 9755309

Little things

As another traumatic season lurches to a painful end, a summer free of football offers welcome relief in what has been the most trying period in the history of our great club.

Ten years ago, expectations of the coming season were far grander; would we break our transfer record? Who would we be linked with signing? Could we hold onto our big names? This summer, I’ll be grateful for some little things…

For me, shaking off my apathy will be a start, followed by forgetting the emotional exhaustion that accompanied going to the UniBol to watch my team (usually lose). I’ll also settle for the staff and players being paid on time, whoever they are and whether the incumbent owner believes they deserve it or not.

I’ll settle for our proud club falling under the media radar, even for a few years. The negative press, although sympathetic to our plight, has been embarrassing at best and severely tarnished the name of Bolton Wanderers. League One should offer that respite.

I’ll settle for some of the younger players being given their opportunity in the first team, and hope to see Connor Hall, Luca Connell and Harry Brockbank feature early doors. Modest hopes, really. And ultimately I’d like to see us compete.

The days of demanding promotion or a cup run are gone, as we’ll be licking our wounds for a few years yet regardless of the naïve, crowd pleasing plan to reach the Premier League in three years.

Ambition now plays second fiddle to reality. The aim of the club should be to put smiles back on faces, and for me that means a push for promotion would be an unexpected bonus.

Ideally, I just want to see a properly-functioning club that respects its fans; this modest foundation could lead to great things.

After leaving the Ipswich game, feeling as low as I could about football and harbouring a deep resentment to the club I love, I still found myself in the club shop straight afterwards to buy a replica shirt for my two year old.

No matter how bad it gets, us Bolton fans carry on. And it’d be nice if the board could get some of the little things right next season. That’s all we want.

The replica shirt fits my boy perfectly. Sorry son…

Neil Coleman

FANS' JURY: We're looking forward to next season because... 4564492

It wasn’t me

I REMEMBER going to Burden Park when I was a kid and watching a pre-season friendly but only seeing half the game because I could only see half the pitch was raised with the under soil heating.

I didn’t moan of demand my money back because I got to see my heroes… well their legs at least.

I remember going in the snow , the rain and the fog but I didn’t complain because I got to see my heroes.

I went to see the new stadium being built and remember thinking this is going to be something special and I was right it was an amazing place with some special memories I’ll never forget.

I went to watch my new heroes play football against the best players in the world and they won some and lost some but they always gave their all like seeing Stelios splashing down the wing in a European game on a cold and wet Thursday night and Ivan Campo holding on to the ball too long in midfield looking for the killer pass and the world class saves by Jussi Jaaskelainen. We’ve seen some great players at our club but little did I know that a few years later I would be witnessing its embarrassing disintegration.

Our club hasn’t just suddenly gone wrong and fallen from grace it started a long time ago and there are plenty of people saying “it wasn’t me!”

It started before Big Sam left when results were not going our way and we were in free fall from then on but who is to blame ? The chairman , the owner, the managers, the players, the league for sitting back and watching our once great club unravel?

We can all play the blame game but at the end of the day all we hear is “It wasn’t me“.

I like a lot of others are fed up of all this mess and just want our football club back.

So I am looking forward to next season because the staff who love this club and have worked so hard might go into work with a smile on their face knowing the club loves them too.

I know we will never win the Premiership or the Champions League. All I want is to be proud of our team again and get owners who know that football isn’t just a business it’s a way of life and a place you go to forget about your problems for a while and watch your heroes give their all for a club and supporters who love them.

I hope this is the turning point for the club and they can start to rebuild the team spirit and the many bridges that have been burned in recent times.

So I’m looking forward to next season because I just want to see my heroes again.

Gary Hartley

FANS' JURY: We're looking forward to next season because... 9725440

Let’s give it a go

IT would be too easy to say I’m looking forward to next season because it means we’re done with this one, but honestly it’s true.

I haven’t looked forward to a game for a while and honestly the potential prohibition orders have actually offered me the chance of not having to go, which has sounded good some weeks, but I hate feeling that way.

But seeing the clubs players, fans and reputation being dragged through it has been a really difficult thing to sit and watch.

With new ownership in place, pending the watertight EFL approval, I look forward to getting behind a team again, hopefully a team with a different outlook. I want to look forward to games again.

Next season I really hope to see a side where youth is given a chance like we have this season. Connor Hall was once said to be too similar to Adam Le Fondre to get a game, well ALF is gone.

I’d love matchdays where we ensure clubs know they are going to get a game when they come to us, and a team to take pride in.

Let’s give promotion a go, let’s give the Checkatrade a go, let’s try and find some creativity and goals. Let’s have possession, let’s score and not dread the inevitable comebacks or have ironic cheers when we score because were already well beaten. Let’s get the likes of Super John and Super Kev around the club. Let’s give Marc Iles an exciting transfer deadline day instead of a court deadline day.

Instead of being the club that’s falling apart, let’s be the club that everyone wants a ticket for when we come to town. Let’s have a settled team who know if they play well, they earn a place next week and a chance to build some form. Let’s have a bench with players on it itching to make a difference, not coming on just to see out a last hopeless few minutes.

We need to rebuild and it takes time, but let’s enjoy the league one ride for however long it takes and give it the respect it deserves.

Let’s enjoy the football we’re paying for. These aren’t massive things, it’s no three-year Premier League plan, but let’s just celebrate some goals that count and bring some good days back for the fans, staff and the players who have stuck by the club in its darkest hour.

Alan McColl


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