At a conservative estimate, 10 senior players are needed to establish a workable squad, all of which must be bedded down within 50 days for the start of the League One season.
Big decisions must be made on what – if any – out-of-contract players can be retained from last season’s group, on what is likely to be a reduced budget.
Furthermore, swift action is needed if Wanderers are to stand any chance of retaining their best young players, most notably Luca Connell and Harry Brockbank.
Oh, and did I mention all contracted players are due to return in a fortnight for pre-season training and whomever is placed in charge will need a backroom staff and a schedule of friendlies to prepare for life in League One?
The dilemma facing new owners is that the person probably best placed to do this is the man already in charge.
Phil Parkinson has had his critics at Wanderers in the two seasons since he led the team out of League One. While some are willing to accept influences beyond his control have affected the standard of football on offer, others are less inclined.
Some have no qualms with the manager but feel a clean sweep is needed if the club is really going to put the Ken Anderson era behind them.
Those who would favour the status quo are currently in the minority. We must be mindful, however, of demanding change for change’s sake in what is a vitally important period for the club.
Parkinson’s record at League One level is excellent. He took Colchester up, Bradford close, and transformed a difficult environment at Bolton to create a team which went up automatically. Those who point at the wage budget – then £13million – and say anyone could have done it, need only to look at Sunderland and ponder why we’ll all be making the trip to the Stadium of Light this season.
It is, however, impossible to ignore that there is a mood for Wanderers to start next season with a fresh canvas. One might even suggest it is a must if fans are to pick up season tickets in double-quick time.
What of the alternatives? David Lee has frequently been put forward as a potential Bolton manager in waiting, having done some sterling work with the development squad and helped – alongside others – to shape the young careers of Rob Holding, Zach Clough, Luca Connell, Josh Vela and Harry Brockbank.
If the new owners feel that a change of manager is needed then there would be few inside the Wanderers camp more deserving of a shot. But let’s not kid ourselves, appointing a coach who has not managed at senior level before would represent a gamble.
Other options are available but, for now, it feels disrespectful to Parkinson to speculate too deeply. He knows there is a debate to be had over his future, and that, barring a major swerve, the Football Ventures consortium are to be tasked with making all the decisions listed above.
Their approach to buying the club has been encouragingly low-key and focused but once their bid has been ratified they will step straight into the spotlight and have answers demanded of them immediately. There isn’t much room for a honeymoon period.
My prediction is that Bolton will start next season on minus 15 points. Twelve for administration, three for the non-fulfilment of fixtures. And clawing back such a deficit will require focus, mental strength and – most of all – a unity among the players and the supporters.
Whether the new owners choose to stick or twist on the man in charge, fans must back a new era at Wanderers, trust that they will not make the same mistakes their predecessor did, and that they are here for the right reasons.