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Doidge: I knew something was wrong when I moved to Wanderers

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Christian Doidge has lifted the lid on his collapsed January move to Bolton Wanderers, admitting: “I thought right away that something was not right.”

The Welsh striker agreed a move from Forest Green on summer transfer deadline day after Phil Parkinson’s public pursuits of Joe Garner and Charlie Wyke had come up short.

At the time it was said the loan-to-buy deal could eventually cost Wanderers £1million, although it later emerged they paid nothing up front and that the League Two side funded the players’ wages throughout his four-month stay.

After Doidge returned in January a bitter feud developed between Bolton owner Ken Anderson and his Rovers counterpart, Dale Vince, which resulted in Vince issuing a legal claim for financial damages.

Speaking in depth for the first time about the move’s collapse, Doidge confessed he had been warned about potential problems at Bolton before moving to the North West.

“I probably should have done my research before going there,” he said.

“As soon as I signed and I spoke to the boys, you have that worry straight away.

“They explained to me the issues they had had off the field and I think I was their first transfer fee for a long time and you get the banter in the changing room and it made me pretty aware of the situation.

“Straight away I thought that something is not right here and mentally that affected me a little bit because you’re thinking, ‘I’ve been given this opportunity and I am probably going to have to go back.’ “You never knew what the situation was going to be month-to-month and I really feel sorry for the boys, all the staff and the fans with what is going on at the club at the moment.”

Wanderers had been on the lookout for striker reinforcements all last summer but, with Anderson insistent he would not pay over market value, it was not until the loan-to-buy deadline on August 31 that the move was officially confirmed.

“It was a crazy day, I remember, it was very last minute,” Doidge explained to the FGR website.

“I went to the ground and the chairman had agreed to let me go and so had the manager and it was a really good feeling thinking that I was going to be playing Championship football for the rest of the season.

“I was obviously really excited but at the same time, leaving Forest Green was going to be tough because I had my best experiences in football there.

“Career wise, I’m not getting any younger and you have got to take those opportunities when they are given to you.”

Doidge made eight starts in the Championship for Bolton and after struggling initially to get to the pace and physicality of the second tier, had shown signs of improvement when he travelled back to Gloucestershire.

Having played non-league football in Wales just a few years earlier, the 26-year-old does not regret a second of the experience.

“It’s actually pretty mental really thinking about it and you have to pinch yourself really that I was given that opportunity to play at that level,” he said.

“Four or five years ago, I was on the building site or I was on the dole, I couldn’t really pick up a job.

“To think I was playing at Bolton, playing against some massive teams and playing for a great football club, it was unbelievable.”

Doidge put down a deposit on a home near Bolton before returning to Forest Green and continuing his career in League Two.

He has since struck nine more goals in 19 appearances, taking his overall tally to 14 for the season.

His solitary Bolton goal was a well-taken late equaliser at Rotherham United – a moment he will also savour.

“It was an unbelievable experience and I met some really good people there (at Bolton),” he said.

“All the fans welcomed me with open arms and the players. Even the staff were really good for me while I was there and helped me to improve my game.

“If I hadn’t scored in the Championship, I would have been absolutely fuming.

“If I can take anything, I can take that goal with me.”


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