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How Keith Hill plans to help bring the Bolton family back together

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Without going through the ugly process of naming and shaming, there has been a history of missed appointments for Bolton Wanderers managers or players in the immediate aftermath of a poor result.

On several occasions in recent years an embarrassed member of the communications department or Community Trust has had to make apologies at a public appearance after a last-minute duck, but not this week.

Wanderers’ 7-1 defeat at Accrington will have certainly damaged the pride of those involved but that did not stop manager, Keith Hill, nor chief executive, Emma Beaugeard, from travelling up to meet the Lancaster Whites fans’ group on Monday night to face questions from the floor.

Attempts are being made by the club to reconnect with a fanbase which was left severely disaffected by the previous regime, and Hill is happy to take point.

“That is how we’ll bring the community together,” he told The Bolton News. “We absolutely have to take the lead.

“Flicker (assistant manager David Flitcroft) comes from a great Bolton family, I’m the same – I’ll have 24, 25 people at Christmas dinner, relatives from all over the place.

“That football family tree should represent those same values. And even after Accrington we were out in the town – and the support we have been given has been frightening.

“We went up to Lancaster Whites the other day and it was brilliant, they are amazing people.

"It’s good to get out in the public whether it’s walking round Jumbles Reservoir or the town centre, people can see the changes we’re trying to make and the club will be better for it.”

Hill admitted some embarrassment as to the size and severity of last Saturday’s defeat and acknowledges that there is a sizeable section of the support who were left none too impressed after events in East Lancashire.

He believes progress is being made – but warned there may be more bumps in the road.

“Like everything, you’ll only see it over a period of time as the infrastructure gets stronger,” he said.

“There is a huge support base, it’s influential, and we’re trying to represent those people.

“Honestly, there will be harder times to come. Don’t think that Accrington Stanley will be the toughest thing that happens here over the next 12-18 months, there will be a lot more.

“As much as we try and hide and disguise to try and keep things positive, give everyone ambition and confidence, we know there will be more heavy punches to take.”

Another connect Hill is keen to make is with local junior football clubs, who he feels have been kept at distance in recent years.

“We have got to reconnect with people in the community and there’s loads of work to do on that front,” he said.

“Myself and Dave want grassroots football clubs to represent Bolton Wanderers, that’s our long-term plan and we’re working on it now.

“Bolton Lads Club, for example, but teams in Great Lever, Little Lever, Sharples – Flicker has his FC Strikerz Academy – these players should be representing us. Way after me and Flicker leave there should be relationships being built now that allow young players to represent this club.”


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