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'I have never had a week like the one I just had' - Whites CEO's frantic start

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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

'I have never had a week like the one I just had' - Whites CEO's frantic start 12782089

New chief executive Neil Hart is experiencing some firsts since taking the reins at Bolton Wanderers.

A hectic first week at the helm was spent trying to get to know the staff and structure at the University of Bolton Stadium and launch preparations to open the stadium to fans at the end of this month.

“This forthcoming season will be my 21st consecutive year working in football since leaving university and I have never had a week like the one I just had. Never,” Hart admitted.

“It has been different because of where the club has come from over the past two or three years.

“I want to lead a well-oiled, slick football club and Bolton Wanderers are not that, yet. But it will be.

“It is a lot of work to get there and we’re trying to do the best we can. There have been a lot of things coming at me and my inbox is overflowing. I was replying to emails at 9-10pm last night and replying to people apologising for not getting back to them.

“It is great to be back, I love working in football, and it is great to be here.”

Wanderers have operated without an official CEO since Emma Beaugeard left the club last June – although Andy Gartside and Scott Lindsay have both bridged the gap alongside their own roles in the interim.

Hart insists he is at Bolton for the long term and he is keen to get stuck into the workload.

“My first week has been spent moving around, speaking to people, looking at that first game – and clearly I need to do that,” he said.

“I understand what we need to run a football club effectively but I need to understand the detail of the business.

“That will slowly turn into action, decision-making and trying to move things forward.

“I am a guy who likes to get things done and to keep things simple. Look at the facts, look at the information, let’s make the decision based on our financial framework.

“I wouldn’t say there are one or two things in my inbox, it is more like 100 things. I am prioritising and working through them at the moment.”

Although Ian Evatt is hoping his side can use their promotion momentum to challenge at the top end of League One this season – but Hart is reluctant to set any long term goals about returning to the Championship and beyond, at least for the time being.

“We need to remain fluid, to plan for every eventuality,” he said. “The focus very much at the moment is looking at the stadium and getting things prepared for the first game, supporting Ian and his backroom staff.

“Once we get into the season and we are up and running, get into the games programme, at that point we’ll get a feel of what we have got and what we need to plan ahead. I’m not going to sit here and say to you guys ‘we’re planning for the Championship or for the Premier League’ – we’ll plan on a month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter basis.

“Rest assured, when this club is promoted back to the Championship, we will be ready for that.

Hart has pledged to bring “executive stability” to a club still slowly rebuilding after administration and a pandemic – but he feels that there are signs of progress that the business is starting to grow again.

“It definitely feels like we are getting on the right track,” he said. “There is a lot of work to be done and we are not where we want to be. There is a lot of work to do from a business point of view, a lot of work in supporting Ian and his team to get the squad where we want them to be.

“But I just have a feeling there is a really good journey ahead of us.”

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