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Phoenix Bites (The dust )

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1Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Fri 11 Dec 2020 - 17:58


Ivan Campo
Ivan Campo

Gone,  not sure whether it's down to finances or down to his inability to work with Evatt.

2Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Re: Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Fri 11 Dec 2020 - 18:12



Bolton Wanderers' football chief Tobias Phoenix steps down from role

WANDERERS have confirmed the exit of head of football operations, Tobias Phoenix.

The Bolton News understands Phoenix has not been present at the club for a number of weeks but a statement released by the club this evening explained he has now stepped down from his role.

Wanderers chairman Sharon Brittan thanked him for his work over the last 10 months.

She said: “Tobias has made a big contribution to the club since joining in February including his involvement in the appointment of Ian Evatt. He has also been instrumental in shaping our football operations and we thank him for his hard work.

“At the time Tobias joined we could not have envisaged the impact which the pandemic would have on the club and we have continually had to assess the staff ucture during this time. We wish Tobias every success in the future.”

Phoenix added: “I’m proud of the contribution I’ve made at the club over the summer and I would like to thank Sharon and the board for the opportunity to help steer this great football club. I look forward to seeing the club have success in the future.”

The former Macclesfield Town director of football was appointed in early February with his job description billed as “leading the club’s overarching football strategy from the academy to the first team.”

Phoenix, who had also previously worked as an executive advisor to former Macclesfield Town boss Sol Campbell, played a leading role in Wanderers’ recruitment during lockdown and also had a hand in bringing manager Ian Evatt and his backroom staff in from Barrow.

But with the January transfer window fast approaching and the restructure of the academy at Lostock now almost completed, it became clear that Phoenix’s role has become significantly scaled back in recent weeks.

He was not present in the directors' box for either of the last two home games and plans for future recruitment are now understood to be squarely in the hands of manager, Ian Evatt.

Phoenix proved to be a controversial figure among the Bolton supporters - and his relationship with previous manager Keith Hill also appeared a frosty one.

Speaking at Evatt's unveiling as 'head coach' in the summer, Phoenix believed that people had got the wrong idea about his role.

“Football has changed,” he said. “The days of a manager coming into the training ground and saying ‘I want that wall knocked over and rebuilding there’ are long gone.

“Our take is different. I have seen a few things in the media, and I don’t do social media, thank God, but different people have got different versions of what this director of football/head coach role looks like.

“When I was in my meeting with Peter Kenyon I was asked what job title I wanted. I won’t give you the answer, because it isn’t suitable to air, but the title is absolutely irrelevant.

“What is relevant is understanding the project, understanding the expectation, knowing my role. The actual title on the door is completely irrelevant.

“There are plenty of people who have a pre-conceived perception of what my role is, and what Ian’s is, but there’s no manual. What’s important is the dynamic between him and I and the obvious synchronisation of how we’d like football played at the University of Bolton Stadium, the type of people and footballers we want to see in our building."

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3Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Re: Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Fri 11 Dec 2020 - 18:23



I'm not surprised following my post some days ago that Kenyon is no longer on the scene and Phoenix being Kenyon's man (certainly fits in with him not being at the ground for the last two matches).

Never saw the logic in a third/fourth tier football club having so many chiefs with the income the club generates at that level - completely unsustainable financially before Covid let alone no longer having any crowds ever since.

Seems to me yet another sharp turn in direction from the original 'made in Bolton' concept with loans of recruitment of personnel with local connections, to 'Money Ball' halfway through last season with Hill's outburst of no one being on the same page, to now 'Evatt-ism' whatever that turns out to be.

Almost as though as the chant goes that Sharon 'doesn't know what's she's doing'!

Hope I'm reading the signals wrongly though.

4Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Re: Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Fri 11 Dec 2020 - 22:53


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Could be that Evatt wants control over transfers - I certainly would if I was in his position.

5Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Re: Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Sat 12 Dec 2020 - 12:39



Why Bolton Wanderers chief Tobias Phoenix struggled to win supporters over

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TOBIAS Phoenix, joked one Bolton Wanderers fan, will always be remembered for that time he left Bolton Wanderers.

There was undeniable satisfaction among the Whites supporters yesterday as it was announced that the former Macclesfield Town director of football had left a role at the UniBol which, at best, could be described as ill-defined.

For a man who described his remit upon arriving in February as “all things football” it was never entirely clear where his job remit began and that of the manager began.

That was not a question which former Bolton boss Keith Hill was prepared to answer. When asked in one press conference what tasks the new head of football operations would be given, the Boltonian snapped: “You’ll have to ask him, I’m not his mum!”

Though Hill bit his lip from there on in, potentially saved further interrogation by the fact football went into lockdown with 10 games remaining, it was clear the appointment had rubbed him up the wrong way.

When Wanderers went into hibernation, with players and almost all staff packed off on furlough unable to communicate due to the terms of their contract, Phoenix was one of the few who remained operative.

But for that opening interview, in which he outlined plans to drop the Under-23s team and downgrade to a category three academy, there was little attempt to communicate with supporters via the press or his own internal channels. And that, as any good PR person will tell you, allows for an information vacuum to appear.

There was a degree of local anger at the way Hill was cut adrift in June. Bolton’s form for the previous few months before lockdown had made the decision to change managers a relatively easy one for the club’s owners but Hill nevertheless felt disappointed that he had never been given a fair platform on which to work – and, for many, the finger of blame pointed squarely towards the man who had recently walked through the door.

Whether that was fair, or not, is a matter of debate. Phoenix never managed to shake off the Machiavellian tag and his refusal to elaborate on his background in the game, his thoughts on current events, or to explain the restructuring process in public only contributed to the mystery.

What we do know is that Phoenix was instrumental in bringing in Ian Evatt from Barrow, and that his conduct in the negotiations was praised by the National League champions.

Once Evatt was on board, it quickly became clear that Phoenix had been working on a number of potential signings. Big hitters like Eoin Doyle and Antoni Sarcevic were landed early on – and though they were signings made entirely with the manager’s blessing, the speed of their arrival suggests a lot more homework was done in the months prior.

But that is where the division of labour became blurred. Phoenix had initially been recommended to Wanderers’ owners by Peter Kenyon, the former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive, who at one stage looked as if he would play an active role at Bolton.

Kenyon even appeared in the directors’ box alongside Sharon Brittan and Co for a League One game in January but from summer onward his input has been very much in the background.

Supporters began to question what footballing credentials Phoenix had to hold such a prestigious role. And barring some brief mentions as a football intermediary and a few press releases at Macclesfield Town, information was frighteningly thin on the ground.

Inside the camp, however, the relationship between the head of football operations, new head coach Evatt and the players was not bad at all.

Phoenix even appeared alongside Evatt in a Zoom press conference to unveil him – answering some questions about his relationship with Kenyon and why Bolton needed to modernise their approach to recruitment.

The final point was a crucial one. Bolton had never had a director of football, or at least anybody billed as such. For a League Two club soon to be saddled with a salary cap, the position looked an extravagance. And when the flood of 20-plus new signings made an inauspicious start to the season, people were once again looking for someone to blame.

Evatt shouldered a lot of the criticism as the Whites dropped temporarily to 22nd position, the worst in the club’s entire history. At that stage, normal precedence would be for a director to step out and offer support, perhaps even explain some of the recruitment decisions which were taken over the summer or the impact new spending rules were having on the club.

Phoenix accompanied the head coach to press conferences as a spectator, was a vocal presence in the stands, and even on the touchline at Under-18s games and training sessions, further blurring that separation between the man upstairs and the man in the dugout.

Evatt, like his players, rode out the storm and may well be stronger for the experience.

Over the past few weeks, it has been entirely noticeable in empty stadia up and down the land that Phoenix was no longer present. He was last seen shaking hands and embracing players on the touchline by the Sky TV cameras after the Salford game but was not in the directors’ box for home matches against Southend or Port Vale.

Wanderers – as we have come to expect from the current regime – maintained a dignified silence as rumours swept around the stadium about a potential fall-out with Phoenix.

The statement released yesterday had an amicable tone and comments from Evatt, made on Thursday before the announcement, hinted at the club strengthening their scouting and recruitment department in the near future.

But Wanderers are unlikely to go back down the director of football route again, at least while they operate in League Two.

Football Ventures have wholeheartedly backed Evatt, who had been saddled with the nonsensical ‘head coach’ role but must surely now be regarded as the club’s manager. And rightly so.

It is now for him to build the support structure he needs, both on the recruitment side and on the training ground, because the infrastructure at present looks woefully thin.

Like their young manager, Wanderers’ owners are on a learning journey. Their first managerial appointment was one of necessity, but Hill’s skillset never quite married up with what they wanted.

Likewise, Phoenix’s appointment hinted at a more modern approach. But fancy talk of Moneyball is likely to follow him out of the door. Wanderers will continue to utilise sports data, and use words like ‘algorithm’ but they are not reinventing the wheel.

It is perhaps best in these extraordinary times to concentrate on the more achievable goals – getting a grand old football club back on a solid footing and re-establishing it as the heartbeat of the town.

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6Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Re: Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Sat 12 Dec 2020 - 13:27


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

I didn't even know what he looked like till i saw the picture above so he has been anonymous. As mentioned not sure a league 2 side needs a director of football anyway.

7Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Empty Re: Phoenix Bites (The dust ) Tue 29 Dec 2020 - 15:37



Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt looking to restructure football department

IAN Evatt says he will “embrace the extra responsibility” given to him by the Wanderers board after the departure of Tobias Phoenix.

Appointed as a head coach in the summer, the Bolton boss is now officially ‘manager’ after the club parted ways with Phoenix in the head of football operations role a fortnight ago.

Evatt will now lead the whole football department, including coaching and scouting, and is hopeful of making some key appointments to strengthen the backroom team in the near future.

Discussing his new role, Evatt insists he can lead Wanderers back up the Football League pyramid after being given a greater say in the direction of the club.

“That’s massive faith in me being shown by the board. I will repay it,” he told The Bolton News.

“I live and breathe football. There isn’t a minute of the day that I am not thinking about us, the group, how we can improve, and my wife will tell you that.

“I am very fortunate and grateful for what I am doing. People ask me all the time whether this is a bigger job than I realised – and it is. It is a massive job because there has been so much to sort out but I do feel like we’re heading in the right direction.

“I feel like we’re drawing the outline of our beautiful picture, so to speak, and that is will come together. Like everything, it’s a process, and we have to believe in it.”

Phoenix’s surprise exit this month saw the end of Wanderers’ experiment with a ‘director of football’ structure and revert back to a more traditional hierarchy.

It is understood a chief scout and at a first team coach could be installed once the restructure of jobs at the academy is finalised – a process which has dragged on considerably longer than anticipated.

Evatt has distanced himself from the details and has declined to comment on the details behind Phoenix’s departure.

He is determined, however, to put in place a structure which will serve Wanderers well in a football environment which has altered significantly in the last 12 months during the pandemic.

“I am just focussed on my role and I have been since day one,” he said.

“Yes, it has slightly changed now because I have more responsibility. I will embrace that and take it on, making the best decisions I possibly can.

“I don’t leave any stone unturned, there’s no guesswork, and I try to limit risk as best as I can by taking on information, listening to people, speaking to people.

“We need to set up a proper structure at this club where are ahead of the game. We can’t attract and spend the money we used to do, so we have to do the due diligence, find the diamonds in the rough, turning them into our own. And that work is ongoing now.

“There will obviously be times when we need to sign an Eoin Doyle, an Antoni Sarcevic or a Nathan Delfouneso, who have proven track records. But with the salary cap you are limited to what you can do.

“You have to be better than the opposition with your research, your decision making in recruitment, because everyone has the same budget.

“All that planning is going on right now for January and the summer. It probably sounds strange that we’re already on with summer but for us to be the best in whatever division we’re in we have to be ahead.”

Phoenix had a big hand in Bolton’s recruitment plans following his appointment in February, working with Evatt to identify and land around 20 new players in the summer window.

The success rate of those signings has come in for heavy criticism by the Wanderers fans during an inconsistent start to the campaign but the manager is now looking to reduce risks in the future by bringing in an improved scouting structure.

“We are already preparing and looking towards the summer,” he said. “We know who is fit for purpose and where we need to strengthen. There will be a proper structure in place for recruitment and we will know what we are doing, we have to be ahead of the game.

“I can’t sit here and give you details on what is happening, only to tell you it is happening.

“The board has been excellent. Sharon (Brittan) is a great woman who has been massively supportive. She firmly believes in me as I do her and her vision for the club. We know we will have success in the future but we’re still building the foundations.”

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