WHEN Wanderers’ players refused to play against Brentford last season, they did so knowing their actions would create an unwanted piece of history but unaware of what the consequence could be.

To force the cancellation of a league game was a last resort for a group who had but one card left to play in order to make Ken Anderson, Paul Aldridge, the EFL and the wider world understand their problems.

Many supporters stood behind the squad, blaming the hierarchal failures which left players, coaches and – at that stage – general staff, unpaid. Some, however, felt there had been a serious error in judgement, a short-term tantrum which would have longer-term ramifications.

We are still no wiser on what punishment Wanderers will receive, or when they will receive it. The EFL will not even divulge the details of who will sit on the independent panel which will decide how many points will be added to the minus 12 with which they have already been hobbled for administration, let alone the date.

Educated estimates inside the club and from those who have looked into becoming new owners forecast another three points on the pile.

Four months after the Brentford game, many of the players who voted to strike remain unpaid. Some have found new employers, and an alternate wage, others have not been so fortunate.

During the interim, the bill for football creditors rose to more than £2million. An offer by the Football Ventures consortium to defer 80 per cent of payments was roundly rejected, reflecting an attitude in the camp that has long since passed frustration.

That led to the potential new owners restructuring their approach, seeking a loan from the Professional Footballers’ Association to meet the costs up front.

It has been questioned whether such a loan is ethical, and whether the players’ union should really be playing such a pivotal role in a takeover. That same scrutiny has also been applied to the consortium itself. If their bid was, as joint-administrator Paul Appleton put it “the highest offer by a substantial margin” why it must it all be kicked-off with someone else’s money?

The long delays in completing a takeover have not helped the feeling of trust inside the dressing room, either. Tempers flared on Friday when a discrepancy arose in the back-payments issued to contracted players which very nearly threatened the Wycombe game going ahead.

Even before that drama, striker Josh Magennis decided he would not be taking part, informing manager Phil Parkinson of the fact shortly before the final training session on Friday.

Whereas the squad’s unanimous decision to down tools against Brentford, or Chester in pre-season, had been viewed with a degree of sympathy by the general public, the Northern Irishman’s brash announcement went very much against the grain in a weekend of great connect between players and fans.

Magennis is not the only player who chose to hand in his contract this summer. Other players examined that option but had their efforts blocked by the administrators, who pushed the matter to an appeal knowing it would buy time for new owners to come in and – potentially – convince the player in question to stay.

Some of those players took the field against Wycombe to give the team a vague air of stability and were praised by Phil Parkinson for their professional attitude.

Magennis, serenaded in a manner reserved only for luminaries like Kevin Davies or John McGinlay a year ago in victory at West Brom, was afforded a rather more industrial tune in the away end at Adams Park.

A return of four goals in last season’s relegation from the Championship did not afford the 28-year-old a lot of goodwill on the terraces. Even if Wanderers are successful in preventing Magennis from terminating the final year of his contract it seems unlikely that he will be embraced back into the Bolton fold again; once out, never back in.

For the senior players who did turn out, there is scope for a fresh start, if they want one.

Talk of rebirth at Wycombe was perhaps a little premature but did at least demonstrate the eagerness among the fanbase to move on from the negativity and drudgery of the Ken Anderson era.

Players lived through the same problems as those on the terraces and having been at odds with their employers for so long, bitterness has been allowed to brew. And it won’t disappear quickly.