The club’s former player and current first-team coach, once a ball-boy on the touchline at Burnden Park, has been as hurt as anyone by the disastrous season just gone, which has been dogged by one hurdle after another.
And while he tries to prepare for what is sure to be a frantic summer off the field, Boltonian Darby admits the last few years have been tough to take.
“It’s been a few years of torture, finance-wise,” he told The Bolton News. “The year before last we just managed to stay up, on that last day, but right from day one this season it’s been so tough.
“It just seemed to go from one bad thing to another, and it got tougher and tougher as we went on. And I’m a staff member-cum-supporter so I felt it more than most.
“On Saturday nights after a game when we’d lost you just wanted to go and hide in a hole, it has such a bad effect on your home life, especially when you’re surrounded by Bolton fans and you can see how much they care too and how badly it affects them.”
Administration means Wanderers’ few remaining contracted players, coaching staff and off-field employees are at least being kept updated by those currently in charge of matters, a welcome change from the stonewall silence they were faced with last term.
But while administrators receive bids from prospective owners for the sale of the club Darby – who played close to 350 games in the famous white shirt – says all they can do is keep their fingers crossed they will receive some good news soon, in order to start making plans for a League One season in which they will start at least 12 points adrift.
“Obviously the administrators have come in and they’ve kept us informed about what’s going on,” he added. “We need a buyer and we need some good news, hopefully that’s what will come out of this, then we’ll see what plans they have.”
Midfielder Joe Pritchard has signed a two-year contract at Accrington Stanley. The 22-year-old played five games for Bolton, starting two, last term after joining from Tottenham last summer.