Chris Eagles eyes fresh start but says sour end does not tarnish fond Bolton Wanderers memories

Former Wanderer Chris Eagles

Former Wanderer Chris Eagles

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

CHRIS Eagles has thanked the Wanderers fans for their support despite admitting his time at the club has ended on a sour note.

Derby County and Cardiff City are two of the sides thought to be tracking the mercurial midfielder, who has left Bolton after three seasons of highs and lows.

Eagles was part of the side relegated to the Championship under Owen Coyle but then finished top scorer with 12 goals as the Whites narrowly missed out on the play-offs a year later.

His final campaign was one of huge disappointment, blighted by injury problems and rumours of a fall-out behind the scenes with coaching staff.

He managed 18 appearances – the last of which came against Millwall on February 18 – and scored just once.

But while Eagles has hinted he will give his side of the story once his career is back on track, he first wanted to thank Wanderers fans for sticking by him since his move from Burnley three years ago.

“Everyone knows what I feel for Bolton, I do love the club,” he told The Bolton News.

“No matter what has gone on, that hasn’t changed, even if I don’t play for them anymore.

“I have loved it at Bolton. What has happened has happened.

“When my career is sorted I will have my say. Until then, I don’t want to go into detail.

“I love the fans, I love the club and I always will – I wouldn’t want anyone to doubt that.”

Eagles has been training on his own this summer as he searches for a new club, with his regime including work in a Manchester boxing gym.

And while he was reluctant to divulge a destination, he claims it will not be long before he knows what club he will be playing for next season.

“Things are moving on – it’s good on that front,” he said. But I can’t say anything at the moment.

“I am just concentrating on keeping fit so I am ready to step in soon.”

Eagles was given an honorary doctorate by Bolton University on Tuesday for his services to sport in the town.

Speaking at the ceremony, the 28-year-old former Burnley and Manchester United man admitted he thought the offer from the university was a wind-up from the dressing room when it first arrived.

“I was in training when I first heard about it,” he said. “They sent me a couple of letters and I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a bit of banter from the lads.

“But I spoke to Rev Phil Mason and he backed it up, so I’ve got to say it’s a real honour and I feel very humbled.

“I’d like to thank the club and the University for giving me this honour because I’ll remember this town for as long as I live.”

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