Bolton Wanderers have paid heavily in their efforts to return to the Premier League
TUCKED in among a head-spinning array of detail in yesterday’s financial report were a few words and a very big number that tells you a lot about the last 12 months at Wanderers.
Billed as “restructuring costs of previous management team” and coming in at a whopping £2.3million, this looks to be the cost of ending Owen Coyle’s reign, dispensing with his staff and then bringing in Dougie Freedman and his own team from Crystal Palace.
Add to that another £4million spent on players – seven permanent, seven on loan – between the two managers over the course of 12 months and you may see why stability seems to be the title of the sermon being preached at the club right now.
A £37.4million wage bill would be the envy of most Championship managers, excluding a Harry Redknapp or Uwe Rosler, but since Wanderers failed to bounce back at the first attempt, those still on top-flight salaries have hardly performed as such.
Dougie Freedman has presided over a wretched season thus far and will understand he has become the focus of fans’ frustration. But in the manager’s mitigation, where else in this division is there such disparity between the expectation of supporters and their club, going by the austere words issued by chairman Phil Gartside in his official statement yesterday?
No-one, least of all the manager, is going to publicly give up the chase for a top-six spot. But the realists among us know it would take a minor miracle from here.
A clear out should have happened sooner and much stronger direction is needed.
Freedman is working with constraints but looks like he will be given time to reshape the squad how he wants it.
Perhaps only then can we really judge the job he is doing.