NATHAN Blake played football in all four corners of the UK – but says he never found anywhere like Bolton.

The former Wales international, a terrace hero in his days at Burnden Park, hopes incoming owners can tap into the local spirit as quickly as he did as a player.

After years of boardroom battles, it is hoped the impending arrival of the football Ventures consortium can signal a period of stability for Wanderers.

And Blake is keen to see his former club in the headlines for the right reasons after fearing for their future in the last few months.

“Honestly, reading it and looking on from afar, I just lost the will,” he told The Bolton News. “Got knows what it was like for the everyday man who follows the club home and away.

“If you are the owner of Bolton Wanderers you’d better know what you have got. It’s a football town and people care about the club passionately.

“But fans are not customers – it’s not like shopping in a supermarket and then taking yourself down the road if you buy a bad piece of fruit. The fans will just turn off and stop watching Bolton, not go and support someone else.

“So the new people coming in have got to understand right away what the club means, what an incredible history it has got, because I can say hand on heart the days I had there were my favourite as a player.”

Blake had the privilege of playing for some top clubs – Wolves, Cardiff City, Sheffield United, Leicester City, Leeds United – but says the place Wanderers held in the town was unique.

“I’ve never experienced it anywhere else,” he said. “As a player you’d know the people in the stands, the businesses on the advertising boards, the name of every member of staff. Other clubs just weren’t like that.

“When I played there you had Nat Lofthouse, this kind gentleman who would tell you right away why Bolton was special. All that history was right there.

“When I first got to the club I didn’t have a great time right away. The first couple of months were tough and I found myself thinking ‘do I want to go?’ “I think I played a pre-season game at Carlisle United and did pretty well, came back and had a good summer and by the time the season started I was looking at the place with a new pair of eyes.

“Burnden Park wasn’t fancy. It was a bit of a hole. But it was ours, and the emotion you’d feel at that place came straight from the heart of the people around you. And it’s still there.

“Yes, the club has been through some tough times. There has probably been too much talk about money and not enough about the football – and that’s what fans want.

“I discovered pretty quickly that if you buy into Bolton, they will love you. I still hear my name sung from time to time and it gives me tingles, it really does.

“Whoever comes into the club has got to do the same thing.

“You have to know where the fans are coming from. I always use the example of Vincent Tan coming in at Cardiff and trying to change the colour of the shirt for luck. It was never, ever going to work.

“That came from not appreciating the heritage of the club you had bought, not appreciating what it means to people.

“If I had any advice for the people coming into Bolton it’s to do your homework and know what the town is about.”