ON May 13 the defeat to Stoke confined Bolton’s relegation to the Championship, albeit in with a hint of controversy, writes Phil Walsh of Smithills .

Despite the circumstances on the day, very few people could say over the course of the season that Bolton weren’t one of the bottom three teams in the league. The defensive frailties were ever present in the previous season when Bolton kept only three clean sheets throughout the campaign.

This coupled with the loss of firepower over the summer and key injuries in midfield, Bolton were always fighting a losing battle. No fan enjoys going down, and having seen the Wanderers punching above their weight for over a decade in the Premier League it was hard to take us going down again. Despite this, I don’t feel it’s such a bad thing for the club. The squad we had last year was below par and expensive, staying up would only have been masking the issues at the club. I personally feel the step down will help rebuild the club.

While signings like Matt Mills and Keith Andrews don’t exactly whet the appetite creatively, they should help to build a solid squad for the coming seasons and could be the kind of players we need in the Championship. The club will inevitably find it more difficult financially in the Championship, which is why the clear out has been so necessarily extensive. Relegation has forced the hand of the club to rebuild and should give us the opportunity to change for the better.

Next season with Coyle at the helm, we have the opportunity to get wins back under the belt and rebuild confidence. When Stuart Holden and Chung Yong Lee get back in the team we will be looking pretty formidable in the Championship, and have to be one of the top contenders for promotion and an instant return to the Premier League.