Phil Brown says he has been left “gutted” by Wanderers’ fall from grace.

The former Bolton player, caretaker manager and assistant boss admits the club is now nearly unrecognisable from the one he helped into the top flight with Sam Allardyce.

But Brown is hopeful that the administration process can bring some stability to the troubled club.

“I played for Bolton, managed them, coached them and ended up spending 15 years of my life at the club – it will always be in my blood,” he told The Bolton News.

“So when I watched it become unsteady after Sam left, then crumble completely, it gutted me. But there are a lot of reasons within that 10-year spell that Bolton went downhill and got into that state. It’s just so disappointing. 

“I just hope now that there can be a period of stability and that things can turn around again, albeit slowly. It’s a great club and I want to see it do well.”

Brown came up against Wanderers in League One during the 2016/17 campaign, his Southend United side twice pushing them close.

But the 59-year-old, who is due to return to manage Pune in the Indian Super League in August, soon got wind that promotion had not solved all of his former club’s problems.

“I genuinely thought they had got things sorted when they bounced straight back from League One,” he said.

“We had two titanic battles when I was at Southend – drew at Bolton, then that last-minute goal from Mark Beevers at our place. That cost us in the end because we were there or thereabouts in the play-offs.

“I fully expected Bolton to get back up to where they should be. But sometimes in football you hear little things and realise it is going wrong, which I think it has been for a while.

“I know Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin very well and I know people have been turning up at the training ground left, right and centre. They have had to deal with all this mismanagement and keep a team going on the park.

“Then you go up into the Championship and it’s minted. You’ve got ex-Premier League teams spending millions, parachute payments, massive wages – and you’re expecting to plot a pathway up that division. 

“When I did it with Hull City it was hard work. Every little decision you made had to be spot-on and there’s no margin for error or distraction.

“But I sympathise with what they have had to deal with because, as a manager, you just want to be sorting issues out on the pitch – not all around you in the boardroom or with the PFA or EFL.”