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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Harry Brockbank feels club has changed under new ownership

Harry Brockbank feels club has changed under new ownership

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Harry Brockbank has seen it all in his rise up the ranks at Wanderers – but believes the current vibe within the club is one of the best he has ever experienced.

With his hometown club from the age of seven, Brockbank came right the way through the academy from the days when Sam Allardyce’s side were beating a path to European qualification in the Premier League.

The defender was also on the fringes of two first team squads which suffered successive relegations as the club went through financial turmoil under previous ownership, and eventually administration.

The one-time captain of the Junior Whites, who fought out a draw against Coventry City with the club’s youngest-ever line-up at the start of the club’s last campaign at League One level, Brockbank is now an established part of Ian Evatt’s first team looking to make a bigger impact this time around.

And he feels the harmony from boardroom to dressing room that was clearly lacking in the dark days of Ken Anderson and Co can only help the team succeed in its aim to challenge for promotion.

“I have been here a long time now but this feels like a different club,” he told The Bolton News. “We are on the up.

“I’ve lost count of how many years I have been here - I think we’re on 16 or 17 – but, yeah, I was born here, I live in Bolton and I play for Bolton, so I guess I have seen quite a bit.

“I think since Sharon (Brittan) came in she has done so much to change the feel of the place. The gaffer (Ian Evatt) brought a new lease of life as well.

“The mood within the team is different, it’s closer. We’ll see each other outside of football and that’s massive if you want to be successful and achieve things like promotion.

“But it has been the little things that are different with the new owners.

“Coming into the training ground and meeting the players, speaking to us at the hotel when we’re having dinner.

“There were no big speeches, or anything, it was just little touches where you didn’t have the connection last time. It was them and us.

“Now it feels like the club is together. We are all pulling in the same direction.”

Brockbank has just signed a new two-year contract with Wanderers after a promotion campaign in which he dipped in and out of Evatt’s team, picking up some unfortunate injuries in spells where he looked to have settled.

In total he played 19 times – a total he hopes to surpass at a higher level next term – but despite not getting the game time he would have liked, he was assured by his manager there would be a new deal on the table and that there was still a big part to play.

“In an ideal world I play every game of every season but I know that isn’t going to be the case,” he said. “I’d had a chat with the gaffer about my contract and was quite relaxed about it because I knew an offer would come.

“But the way I see it, if I am not playing you get behind the person who is, you cheer them on, you do anything you can to make them play well, because ultimately we’re all striving for the same thing, to win games and get promotion.

“This last season it has been more important than ever and it’s a point the coaches made to us at one point – if you are on the side-lines and you can give an extra 10 per cent, cheer a tackle, cheer a goal, it will have an effect.

“When you get encouragement like that it gives you confidence and hopefully whoever was on the side-lines did a good enough job because the team got to where it needed to be.”

Brockbank has played in both full-back positions and centre-half since breaking into the first team at the end of the 2018/19 season in the Championship.

His Wikipedia page even jokes that he can play as a goalkeeper, based on a quip made by Evatt last season.

The 22-year-old feels his ability to fill in across the back line is a big benefit at present.

“As long as I am playing, I don’t mind,” he said. “As long as I am on the pitch I am happy, whether that’s right-back, left-back, centre-back, wherever.

“It might change as time goes on. Eventually, I think it will come to a point where I say ‘this is my position’ because I don’t think anyone can go through a whole career where they can play wherever.

“Whilst I am young, as long as I am on the pitch and the gaffer trusts me to play in any position then that’s the most important thing for me.

“it’s also a really fluid way of playing football, the way the gaffer wants us to set up, so I think versatility helps me.”


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