MEET Poppy Haslam, a young woman who unashamedly eats, drinks and sleeps football, and who might just represent a new breed of Wanderers fan.

When we look back at 2016 in years to come, we may point to it as a moment a generation of Bolton supporters stopped and really examined what was going on at their football club.

For the teens and twenty-somethings who cut their teeth in the days of Nicolas Anelka, Kevin Davies, Jussi Jaaskelainen and Jay Jay Okoocha, the last few years must have been very hard to take.

The Premier League era ripped from under them like a rug, it was little wonder that Generation Y became a cynical bunch, venting their more honest feelings on online forums then in the stands.

However, when Wanderers’ very existence was placed into jeopardy earlier this year, things snapped very sharply into focus. Rather than sniping on social media about results, a large number of those computer-literate fans started asking serious questions of the club’s governance instead.

Given a crash course in football finance and a rudimentary knowledge of the High Court, online discussions shifted away from how the club needed to strengthen the team and towards why they could no longer afford it.

Out of the wreckage came the Supporters’ Trust. Not yet a year old, the body is yet to meet unanimous approval from any age group but in particular, it seems, the younger Wanderers fans.

By their own admission, the trust has struggled to attract a ‘certain type’ of member. Whether by accident or design, the primary movers and shakers within their ranks are experienced, largely male, and perhaps lack some connection with junior demographic at the Macron.

This is where Ms Haslam comes in. Already a qualified coach and referee at youth level and due to start a permanent job with the Community Trust in June, the 19-year-old from Smithills is already making her mark on the football scene in Bolton.

From Thornleigh and then Bolton Sixth Form, she completed an apprenticeship with HFE (Health and Fitness Education) and helps deliver the Premier League Girls programme to young girls in schools and colleges all around the town, plus footballers aged 50-and-over through a weekly Soccercise class.

Despite a heavy workload, she insists the decision to take on another responsibility as the trust’s youth ambassador was easy to make.

“I think a lot of young fans moan on Twitter or Facebook about football, or what has happened but I want to be different and set an example. I want them to see me getting involved with the trust.

“It’d be good to see more females come on board, especially the younger ones because there are plenty who go and watch the club.

“They have brought me in to try and engage with some of the younger fans, see what they want, how they’d like to change things. I want to get their opinions out there.

“When the club had all their trouble I think it caught the attention of younger people because they were worried. Maybe now that things are going alright they don’t think they need to bother and that everything is fine. People are seeing we’re second in the league, we don’t need to worry about the club now.”

A lifelong Wanderers fan, albeit one with a penchant for Cristiano Ronaldo as she is half-Portuguese, Poppy hopes the experience she has picked up boosting participation in women’s football of late can help energise more young people to get actively involved in the supporters’ trust.

“I’ve always been a Wanderers fan,” she said. “Home and away, my dad takes me to all the games. I can see from the outside that younger people might see the supporters trust as something that only older adults can get involved with – that it is all a bit serious. But I hope once I get involved that they see it is for all ages.”