OH for that sun-kissed August, when Wanderers had a Rolls Royce on the pitch and a song in their hearts.

The 2,600 fans who flocked to West Brom and saw Yanic Wildschut’s last-minute winner had no clue what was to come as they danced at the Hawthorns.

This was meant to be a new era. Aaron Wilbraham’s even more dramatic winner the previous May against Nottingham Forest had set the club free from its misery and finally there were new heroes to admire.

Polish full-back Pawel Olkowski looked a steal, Josh Magennis snarled up front, Jason Lowe organised and Gary O’Neil defied time.

Reading, Birmingham beaten by the narrowest of margins, and Wanderers sat third. “Huddersfield Town had done it,” said the more optimistic among us, “so why not?”

An answer came at home to Sheffield United, a team who really were Premier League bound. Outclassed an out-worked, Phil Parkinson’s side never quite swaggered the same way again, and though they had scrapped for a draw at Preston and beaten Frank Lampard’s Derby by the end of September, other forces were now at play.

Late in the evening on September 10, Ken Anderson announced Wanderers were being placed into administration by Essex-based finance company BluMarble the following morning.

For months concern had mounted over repaying a £5million high-interest loan taken out by Dean Holdsworth before he linked-up with Anderson to buy the club in March 2016.

Refinancing the loan, or not, had been the centre-point of the pair’s bitter relationship and led to Holdsworth’s company, Sports Shield BWFC, being wound-up in August 2017. Anderson then bought shares from the receiver to become sole owner.

September 11 would be a telling day in Bolton’s history. Administration, and an instant 12-point penalty, was staved off after last-minute negotiations but as fans toasted the club’s survival, news that former owner Eddie Davies had passed away during a holiday in Portugal reached The Bolton News from his family.

Tributes flooded in for the man who had bankrolled the Premier League years and two journeys into Europe, then written off more than £180million from the club’s books.

It soon transpired, however, that four days before his passing Davies loaned £5million to Ken Anderson’s company, Inner Circle Investments, which went towards paying-off the debt to BluMarble in the form of a bridging loan to the club.

The arrangement caused a stir among supporters, who accused Anderson of playing games with people’s emotions. Months later, the loan would again take the fore.

The effect such uncertainty had on the team is debatable. But having already gone head-to-head with the owner over unpaid bonuses in the summer – forcing the late cancellation of a pre-season friendly at St Mirren – mistrust was rife among the first team.

That accelerated when three former players – Karl Henry, Derik Osede and Jem Karacan – recruited the help of the PFA to lobby Anderson for their own unpaid dues.

To compound the sense of woe felt around the training ground, we also learned the sad news that Stephen Darby had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. A massively popular member of the squad, the former Liverpool and Bradford full-back retired immediately and has since launched a foundation to raise funds and awareness of the incurable condition.

Craig Noone’s winner against Derby, celebrated with Darby in the stands, remains the enduring positive image of an otherwise troubled campaign.

Another victory would not be claimed until Boxing Day. Wanderers took three points from a possible 39 to sink into the relegation zone, climbing out for just one week after beating Rotherham United, before settling in 23rd for good.

Pay concerns continued for players and staff throughout November and December, making a mockery of Anderson’s claim that Wanderers were "probably in the best financial position of any club in the Championship."

With a winding-up petition from HMRC hanging over their heads, Wanderers’ players again called on the union for help and a loan was supplied in December, to be repaid from TV pay-outs the following month.

Though Bolton’s fans had been impressively tolerant of Parkinson’s problems off the field, their frustration began to show through and calls for him to be sacked intensified towards the end of the year.

A lack of goals, and some would say an over-reliance on defensive tactics, were the chief fuel for the fire.

Wanderers’ lot was not helped in January when it emerged they were in a transfer embargo for failing to pay wages of loan players Yanic Wildschut and Remi Matthews, of Norwich City.

That spilled over into a massive public fall-out between Anderson and Dale Vince, the owner of Forest Green Rovers. A loan-to-buy agreement had been struck for striker Christian Doidge in September but Vince accused Bolton of “continual contract breaches” including the non-payment of wages, and brought his player back to League Two.

Verbal jousting between the pair continued for days – and Vince also began legal action to reclaim his money.

But that didn’t help Parkinson, now without another source of goals and smarting from a 6-0 defeat at Hull City on New Year’s Day.

Anderson repeatedly claimed he was looking to sell up but was no nearer to a conclusion by the time fans rallied outside the stadium in one of the biggest protests in the club’s history.

Thousands of supporters walked round the ground prior to a televised match with West Brom to voice their anger, some of which spilled into the stadium where tennis balls were repeatedly thrown on to the pitch to interrupt play.

Anderson had signalled his exit but cashflow became a serious concern as he stepped away from day-to-day business.

An agreement in principle was reached to sell to the Football Ventures (Whites) consortium but after much haggling and a period of due diligence they withdrew their offer after uncovering previously unknown liabilities.

All of a sudden it was not just the players who were unpaid. Regular staff and suppliers were also experiencing serious hardship. Games were suddenly under threat as stewards threatened not to turn up and emergency services required immediate funds.

On the pitch the team were in the final death throes. Wins against Millwall and QPR gave some hope of another incredible escape but despite assurances made to players and staff that the wage situation would be sorted in the build-up to a crucial home game against relegation-bound Ipswich, the cash was not forthcoming. Wanderers lost 2-1 and any lingering hope of saving themselves.

Horrific news continued as the club’s Lostock training base was closed because of a lack of supplies, stock was withdrawn from the shop, staff phones switched off, electricity supply to the stadium endangered. Life support was gradually being turned off.

Then, the final indignity. Unpaid players felt they had no other choice but to boycott a home game against Brentford – forcing its postponement. It was the first time in the EFL’s history that industrial action had caused a game to be scrubbed from the list, and punishment expected in the coming weeks will most likely be severe.

Some fans sided with the squad, others less so, but by the time Bolton played their final game at Nottingham Forest, Parkinson could select only those players who made themselves available to play.

Olkowski, the aforementioned Rolls Royce, handed in his notice and will be able to walk away from the club for nothing in the coming days.

Another Roller, containing the controversial former Watford owner Laurence Bassini, turned up at the stadium – the 49-year-old businessman vowing to ‘save the club’ and prevent administration. He failed, for that is where Wanderers are heading.

Though the worst-case scenario of liquidation was avoided at the High Court this week and fans will have a Bolton Wanderers to support next season, there is huge uncertainty over what shape and condition it will take.