COMMENT: Jay Spearing photo does not make for a pretty picture at Bolton Wanderers

COMMENT: Jay Spearing photo does not make for a pretty picture

Wanderers skipper Jay Spearing

The image posted on social media of Jay Spearing in Ibiza

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

JUST as a salute to your former club’s fans would have been laughed off in better circumstances, a couple of holiday snaps took on more sinister connotations at Wanderers this week.

Days after Jermaine Beckford had been castigated for his on-the-field gestures in defeat at Leeds, captain Jay Spearing found himself at the centre of an internet storm when pictures of him partying in Ibiza surfaced on the social media networks.

The fact the players were given two days off after the 1-0 reverse at Elland Road sits uneasily with some, given a poor start to the season.

But seeing the skipper strutting his stuff at the luxurious Ocean Beach Club resort provoked yet more fury from a set of supporters whose relationship with their club appears to be stretched thin.

Spearing wouldn’t have been alone in using the time off for a quick sunshine break, although the smarter ones kept their pictures off the web. That was his real mistake.

And like any typical 25 year old, he didn’t opt for a round of golf and a sherry in the Algarve.

The Champagne Spray weekend attracted hundreds of partygoers, and it can be reasonably assumed few of the attendees stuck to Perrier.

But whether the midfielder’s behaviour was acceptable for a professional footballer should be judged by his employers, and after the matter was raised with manager Dougie Freedman and the club’s communications team, we are reassured it will be dealt with swiftly in-house.

Some reports suggested several players had made the trip – but no evidence supports that claim.

Spearing was back at Euxton on Tuesday along with the other players who are not on international duty.

At times like these, the club’s coaching staff are limited in the preparations they can make for the next league game and so sessions are kept to general upkeep.

Like it or not, it is standard practice to give players a few days off at the start of the week, regardless of the situation in the league.

Freedman has not escaped criticism on that front either. The manager has reportedly travelled up to Scotland at the SFA’s request to lend a hand coaching the Under-19s.

Had his side been sitting prettier in the Championship this would surely have been something to shout about.

The fact the Whites are third bottom and the manager’s popularity has taken a potentially fatal hit on the terraces means his trip just becomes another stick to beat him with.

Yet to pass it all off as an over-reaction would be wrong, and would miss the point entirely.

There is a much bigger problem to solve than a young lad blowing off steam.

Be it Beckford’s gesture or Spearing’s pictures, it all boils down to responsibility and neither situation reflected well on a proud football club.

Talk of disconnection between the fans and the club is worrying, and this is where Wanderers need to buck up their ideas.

A generation will not have known times this hard, but those with a few grey hairs will recall it can get much, much worse.

When the club trolled the lower leagues in the early eighties they only started to become upwardly mobile again once they had re-established a relationship with their fans.

That bond blossomed in the Bruce Rioch era and it is no accident the famous Whites boss built his reputation at Burnden Park by putting the supporters first.

Wanderers’ Premier League years created some very special memories for those involved but you might suggest they are now enduring the nightmare after living the dream.

Fans understand the days of top flight excesses are gone.

Things have been stripped back just about as far as they can go.

But after relegation, when all that glitz and glamour disappeared, we also find that some of the local bonds enjoyed by the football club in the past have worked loose.

Mending those bridges and moving a club forward requires work on both sides. But while the supporters feel disenfranchised and fail to relate to the players on the pitch, it becomes a much more difficult task.

Spearing’s situation was a snapshot of a much bigger issue for the Whites; and it’s not a pretty picture.

Comments (14)

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10:43am Thu 4 Sep 14

Balboa says...

The lad's entitled to a break but given his public profile and that his displays have been little short of dire this season, it wasn't the wisest act.

Of more relevance is the fact it demonstrates how stupid footballers are these days, whether it be Wanderers, Premier League players or England internationals - they all take the proverbial, and many fans' patience has worn thin.

Overpaid, under-performing prima donnas with poor attitude.
The lad's entitled to a break but given his public profile and that his displays have been little short of dire this season, it wasn't the wisest act. Of more relevance is the fact it demonstrates how stupid footballers are these days, whether it be Wanderers, Premier League players or England internationals - they all take the proverbial, and many fans' patience has worn thin. Overpaid, under-performing prima donnas with poor attitude. Balboa
  • Score: 25

10:44am Thu 4 Sep 14

Wanderers56 says...

I couldn't agree more. we all go on holiday, we would all have cheered if Kevin Davies or Kevin Nolan had made the same response. we would have been rightly proud of Freeman if we had been top of the league. we are definitely disconnected from the club though, a lick of paint in the north stand, and calling it a singing end, does not a kop bring forth. and as for those drums, who's idea was it to bring them back. they are embarrassing and a waste of time. the club has a lot to do, and more transparency is essential. a more attacking set up will ignite the fans, win lose or draw. finally some responsibility from all within the club would not go amiss, and that means players, manager, chairman, and owner.
I couldn't agree more. we all go on holiday, we would all have cheered if Kevin Davies or Kevin Nolan had made the same response. we would have been rightly proud of Freeman if we had been top of the league. we are definitely disconnected from the club though, a lick of paint in the north stand, and calling it a singing end, does not a kop bring forth. and as for those drums, who's idea was it to bring them back. they are embarrassing and a waste of time. the club has a lot to do, and more transparency is essential. a more attacking set up will ignite the fans, win lose or draw. finally some responsibility from all within the club would not go amiss, and that means players, manager, chairman, and owner. Wanderers56
  • Score: 35

11:10am Thu 4 Sep 14

jimd64 says...

Looking around the web it is very disturbing to see comments made by Bolton fans, surely this is a time we should all stick together players and fans. Like every other fan I'm very upset about the state of our beloved club, but the last thing we need is the fans ripping the players to bits, players are only human like the rest of us and do things that if they thought about it wouldn’t do. We all need to blow off steam it is just unfortunate than someone photographed it, only the players know what it is like on that pitch for 90 minutes and I’m sure they all want to do their best for our club even though it doesn’t seem like it. I wish we could have got the players in the transfer window, but we didn't so we have what we have. There are still some very good players at the club, but at the moment they are under preforming. The way to help them back is to get behind them, not to call them and I know the club is not doing their bit either so as a lifelong Bolton fan I would urge fans or club alike that the only way to pull through this is unity. The morale in the dressing room may be down, but it is all our jobs to get it back up, manager players and fans. Sorry about going on, but it’s only an opinion
Looking around the web it is very disturbing to see comments made by Bolton fans, surely this is a time we should all stick together players and fans. Like every other fan I'm very upset about the state of our beloved club, but the last thing we need is the fans ripping the players to bits, players are only human like the rest of us and do things that if they thought about it wouldn’t do. We all need to blow off steam it is just unfortunate than someone photographed it, only the players know what it is like on that pitch for 90 minutes and I’m sure they all want to do their best for our club even though it doesn’t seem like it. I wish we could have got the players in the transfer window, but we didn't so we have what we have. There are still some very good players at the club, but at the moment they are under preforming. The way to help them back is to get behind them, not to call them and I know the club is not doing their bit either so as a lifelong Bolton fan I would urge fans or club alike that the only way to pull through this is unity. The morale in the dressing room may be down, but it is all our jobs to get it back up, manager players and fans. Sorry about going on, but it’s only an opinion jimd64
  • Score: -26

12:41pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Ernagy2 says...

jimd64 wrote:
Looking around the web it is very disturbing to see comments made by Bolton fans, surely this is a time we should all stick together players and fans. Like every other fan I'm very upset about the state of our beloved club, but the last thing we need is the fans ripping the players to bits, players are only human like the rest of us and do things that if they thought about it wouldn’t do. We all need to blow off steam it is just unfortunate than someone photographed it, only the players know what it is like on that pitch for 90 minutes and I’m sure they all want to do their best for our club even though it doesn’t seem like it. I wish we could have got the players in the transfer window, but we didn't so we have what we have. There are still some very good players at the club, but at the moment they are under preforming. The way to help them back is to get behind them, not to call them and I know the club is not doing their bit either so as a lifelong Bolton fan I would urge fans or club alike that the only way to pull through this is unity. The morale in the dressing room may be down, but it is all our jobs to get it back up, manager players and fans. Sorry about going on, but it’s only an opinion
Perhaps going on an outwardly boozy holiday wasn't the best idea. A walking holiday in Cumbria might have been a good idea - would have had the benefit of getting fitter as well.

Alan Shearer had this problem at Newcastle and as he said on match of the day once - much better to enjoy a few drinks at home, where you can't be snapped.

Still think they should be training and working to get things right - do the really need the manager there to tell them what to do? Where was Lennie Lawrence when this was going on?

The fans complaining will only be satisfied when Freedman has left the club. Managers don't get long in the job unless they are particularly successful quickly. Personally I don't think he's had long enough, but, with the crowd on his back, indiscipline in the camp, there seems little alternative but to sack the manager.
[quote][p][bold]jimd64[/bold] wrote: Looking around the web it is very disturbing to see comments made by Bolton fans, surely this is a time we should all stick together players and fans. Like every other fan I'm very upset about the state of our beloved club, but the last thing we need is the fans ripping the players to bits, players are only human like the rest of us and do things that if they thought about it wouldn’t do. We all need to blow off steam it is just unfortunate than someone photographed it, only the players know what it is like on that pitch for 90 minutes and I’m sure they all want to do their best for our club even though it doesn’t seem like it. I wish we could have got the players in the transfer window, but we didn't so we have what we have. There are still some very good players at the club, but at the moment they are under preforming. The way to help them back is to get behind them, not to call them and I know the club is not doing their bit either so as a lifelong Bolton fan I would urge fans or club alike that the only way to pull through this is unity. The morale in the dressing room may be down, but it is all our jobs to get it back up, manager players and fans. Sorry about going on, but it’s only an opinion[/p][/quote]Perhaps going on an outwardly boozy holiday wasn't the best idea. A walking holiday in Cumbria might have been a good idea - would have had the benefit of getting fitter as well. Alan Shearer had this problem at Newcastle and as he said on match of the day once - much better to enjoy a few drinks at home, where you can't be snapped. Still think they should be training and working to get things right - do the really need the manager there to tell them what to do? Where was Lennie Lawrence when this was going on? The fans complaining will only be satisfied when Freedman has left the club. Managers don't get long in the job unless they are particularly successful quickly. Personally I don't think he's had long enough, but, with the crowd on his back, indiscipline in the camp, there seems little alternative but to sack the manager. Ernagy2
  • Score: 12

12:44pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Balboa says...

Jim, yes, the club and fans should be sticking together.

However, the fans take their lead from the club's "leadership" and if they appear dis-interested, then it's bound to affect the fans.

Let's see what happens in the loan window.

And I wonder whether the assurances (signings) Joe Mason sought before signing, are delivered.
Jim, yes, the club and fans should be sticking together. However, the fans take their lead from the club's "leadership" and if they appear dis-interested, then it's bound to affect the fans. Let's see what happens in the loan window. And I wonder whether the assurances (signings) Joe Mason sought before signing, are delivered. Balboa
  • Score: 6

12:44pm Thu 4 Sep 14

waynagain says...

In the 'good old days', when the players underperformed they were given extra training - now they get time off!!!!
In the 'good old days', when the players underperformed they were given extra training - now they get time off!!!! waynagain
  • Score: 21

12:49pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Jonnyboy944 says...

Granted, we all like to relax and have a good time when we get the chance. However, most of us are not professional sportsmen, in a very physical job, where looking after our bodies is of paramount importance. If Spearing was playing well, no one would bat an eyelid. But this season he has been below-average at best. The management should be giving these young guys some guidance and saying "you are happy to take the money, so for a few years of your life live like professional sportsmen. Look after yourselves." Compare this to the dedication much less well off Olympic athletes. Can you imagine Mo Farah having a bad time of it but still going away to get bladdered mid-season?
Granted, we all like to relax and have a good time when we get the chance. However, most of us are not professional sportsmen, in a very physical job, where looking after our bodies is of paramount importance. If Spearing was playing well, no one would bat an eyelid. But this season he has been below-average at best. The management should be giving these young guys some guidance and saying "you are happy to take the money, so for a few years of your life live like professional sportsmen. Look after yourselves." Compare this to the dedication much less well off Olympic athletes. Can you imagine Mo Farah having a bad time of it but still going away to get bladdered mid-season? Jonnyboy944
  • Score: 9

1:25pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Cynic_Al_14 says...

If Jay has been given the time off he's free to do what he wants, so long as he returns fit. However, why would he be given time off? International week shouldn't be "half term" there's still plenty of work to be done i.e. training, team exercises(some of the stuff they should have done instead of Kayaking, as that clearly didn't. They could even do some PR around the schools, societies, etc work!). Maybe try and get fans back on side. "Blow off some steam" we're only just in September. He's had 6-8 weeks off completely and a further 4 away from competitive football.

As for Dougie, no issues at all with him helping the Scotland team out. 1.) He may learn a little more about management 2.) He may see a player or two who we can take a look at and 3.) If he's a big success he may get offered a job away from The Macron. (If this happened I'll be going celebrating with Jay, First jaagerbombs on me!)
If Jay has been given the time off he's free to do what he wants, so long as he returns fit. However, why would he be given time off? International week shouldn't be "half term" there's still plenty of work to be done i.e. training, team exercises(some of the stuff they should have done instead of Kayaking, as that clearly didn't. They could even do some PR around the schools, societies, etc work!). Maybe try and get fans back on side. "Blow off some steam" we're only just in September. He's had 6-8 weeks off completely and a further 4 away from competitive football. As for Dougie, no issues at all with him helping the Scotland team out. 1.) He may learn a little more about management 2.) He may see a player or two who we can take a look at and 3.) If he's a big success he may get offered a job away from The Macron. (If this happened I'll be going celebrating with Jay, First jaagerbombs on me!) Cynic_Al_14
  • Score: 4

3:45pm Thu 4 Sep 14

John Wanderer says...

It is a tragedy what is happening to this once proud and very well run club.

Dougie has clearly lost the dressing room and Phil Gartside is conspicuous by his lack of comments.

The players are partying it up like a bunch of winners and Dougie is helping out the Scottish national team like an experienced manager who has got it all together and has time on his hands.
There is no sense of urgency at the club with regards to the situation and there appears to be zero discipline.

What the heck is gong on ????
It is a tragedy what is happening to this once proud and very well run club. Dougie has clearly lost the dressing room and Phil Gartside is conspicuous by his lack of comments. The players are partying it up like a bunch of winners and Dougie is helping out the Scottish national team like an experienced manager who has got it all together and has time on his hands. There is no sense of urgency at the club with regards to the situation and there appears to be zero discipline. What the heck is gong on ???? John Wanderer
  • Score: 14

7:39pm Thu 4 Sep 14

SeattleWanderer says...

Cynic_Al_14 wrote:
If Jay has been given the time off he's free to do what he wants, so long as he returns fit. However, why would he be given time off? International week shouldn't be "half term" there's still plenty of work to be done i.e. training, team exercises(some of the stuff they should have done instead of Kayaking, as that clearly didn't. They could even do some PR around the schools, societies, etc work!). Maybe try and get fans back on side. "Blow off some steam" we're only just in September. He's had 6-8 weeks off completely and a further 4 away from competitive football.

As for Dougie, no issues at all with him helping the Scotland team out. 1.) He may learn a little more about management 2.) He may see a player or two who we can take a look at and 3.) If he's a big success he may get offered a job away from The Macron. (If this happened I'll be going celebrating with Jay, First jaagerbombs on me!)
Interesting point - what community liaison do the players do? Russell Wilson, QB for the Seahawks gives up every Tuesday to visit Seattle Children's Hospital and other players do similar work - the community cohesion at the center of the Seahawks; Bolton could learn a lot.
[quote][p][bold]Cynic_Al_14[/bold] wrote: If Jay has been given the time off he's free to do what he wants, so long as he returns fit. However, why would he be given time off? International week shouldn't be "half term" there's still plenty of work to be done i.e. training, team exercises(some of the stuff they should have done instead of Kayaking, as that clearly didn't. They could even do some PR around the schools, societies, etc work!). Maybe try and get fans back on side. "Blow off some steam" we're only just in September. He's had 6-8 weeks off completely and a further 4 away from competitive football. As for Dougie, no issues at all with him helping the Scotland team out. 1.) He may learn a little more about management 2.) He may see a player or two who we can take a look at and 3.) If he's a big success he may get offered a job away from The Macron. (If this happened I'll be going celebrating with Jay, First jaagerbombs on me!)[/p][/quote]Interesting point - what community liaison do the players do? Russell Wilson, QB for the Seahawks gives up every Tuesday to visit Seattle Children's Hospital and other players do similar work - the community cohesion at the center of the Seahawks; Bolton could learn a lot. SeattleWanderer
  • Score: 3

8:38pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Cynic_Al_14 says...

Trying to find a positive, Jay does actually look in better shape in the picture on his holidays than he does looking breathless and a little 'podgy' on the first game of the season. Didn't think he looked shipshape against Vitesse.
Trying to find a positive, Jay does actually look in better shape in the picture on his holidays than he does looking breathless and a little 'podgy' on the first game of the season. Didn't think he looked shipshape against Vitesse. Cynic_Al_14
  • Score: 2

10:40pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Paulsankey says...

Do ever see foreigner players partying, drunk, living it up....No
Wonder why our English players are more backward in there attitude to there talent they have....?
Do ever see foreigner players partying, drunk, living it up....No Wonder why our English players are more backward in there attitude to there talent they have....? Paulsankey
  • Score: 2

11:09pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Paulsankey says...

Paulsankey wrote:
Do ever see foreigner players partying, drunk, living it up....No
Wonder why our English players are more backward in there attitude to there talent they have....?
Do you ever see foreign players partying, drunk, living it up....No Wonder why our English players are more backward in there attitude to there talent they have....?
[quote][p][bold]Paulsankey[/bold] wrote: Do ever see foreigner players partying, drunk, living it up....No Wonder why our English players are more backward in there attitude to there talent they have....?[/p][/quote]Do you ever see foreign players partying, drunk, living it up....No Wonder why our English players are more backward in there attitude to there talent they have....? Paulsankey
  • Score: 2

11:28pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Lowtonandy says...

Marc, send the comments to Jay ! As captain he needs to understand how fans feel and take some responsibility. Is the job too big for him?

Just remind him, he's captain of Bolton Wanderers. Have a look at the statue at the next home game. That's what we want - strong professional leadership.....matur
ity.......respect!
Let football speak for you , not stupid boozy photos, because that's the only way to impress.......drunke
n yobs are 2 a penny - is that how you really want to be seen? wakey wakey!
Marc, send the comments to Jay ! As captain he needs to understand how fans feel and take some responsibility. Is the job too big for him? Just remind him, he's captain of Bolton Wanderers. Have a look at the statue at the next home game. That's what we want - strong professional leadership.....matur ity.......respect! Let football speak for you , not stupid boozy photos, because that's the only way to impress.......drunke n yobs are 2 a penny - is that how you really want to be seen? wakey wakey! Lowtonandy
  • Score: 2

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