TAKING all emotion out of the Luca Connell situation, the thing that strikes me is that it could have been so easily avoided.

I completely understand Wanderers fans feeling Celtic – and to an extent the young midfielder himself – has taken advantage of the club’s precarious financial situation.

In any other scenario this would be a dream move. But many supporters who chanted Connell’s name last season as he broke through into the first team ranks feel scorned by the fact he has chosen to leave now, rather than a time when Bolton were on a firmer footing and able to command a fee that reflects the work they put into making him such a promising player.

My own views have been aired enough on the wage subject. If The Bolton News failed to pay me, without any form of prior warning, then they wouldn’t get a syllable out of me until that changed.

My view might be a product of personality, upbringing, political bias… But I can sympathise with players who feel they have been given no option but to play their football elsewhere because I have been with them every step of the way through this and I know how helpless they have felt at times.

They will eventually get their money because of the football creditor rule. Yet younger players like Connell without the savings, or those who moved up a pay scale to play for Wanderers in the Championship and bought property which reflected it, have been hardest hit.

The point that will forever nag at the back of my mind is: Should the administrators have made a special example out of Connell and paid him what he was due?

Had they done so, the option for him to hand in his notice was a moot point. If Celtic wanted him and he wanted to go, then fine, but it would have at least been a fair fight.

Administrators may have had to contend with arguments from existing players and backroom staff – who are equally deserving of pay – but at least an asset for the football club would have been preserved.

Welcome to the short-term world of football administration, I suppose.

I would have loved to see Connell get more game time in League One, develop as a player, and enhance the physical side of his game, which I feel is an absolute must if he is going to realise his full potential.

Whether he gets that chance at Celtic remains to be seen. For all the SPL’s faults, Celtic are operating on a different level. I, for one, will be proud to see a lad crafted in Bolton playing in the Champions League, if that opportunity arises.

I’m also confident that Neil Lennon has done his homework, asked the right questions of whether Connell is ready for such exposure. And that the people who raised him – in a footballing sense – at Lostock are right behind him.

I’m disappointed to say that I didn’t get to know Connell too well, as he came into the team at a time when things were really heading south. As a result, Bolton’s media staff were unable to put players up for interview to the press, and so the fans never really got an insight into what the Liverpool-born midfielder was about.

The players and staff I know who played alongside him say he was mature way beyond his years, genuinely trained well. I hope that attitude continues and that, in years to come, he can talk about the club which gave him a big break in a positive light.

Bolton cannot afford to be bitter right now. This administration process was never going to be completed without difficult decisions, nor a certain amount of pain. We can only hope it is a short one and that next season sees an end to the downward spiral.

What we can take pride in, however, is that the system which created Connell is still in place and that those same coaches will keep the conveyor belt moving. That, if nothing else, should give Wanderers fans reason to smile.