IF it wasn’t bad enough that defeat to Forest Green Rovers had sent Bolton Wanderers toppling to their lowest-ever league position last weekend, the vitriol which followed online showed emotions are still raw. 

Opinions differ on when the rot started – be it Stuart Holden’s injury at Old Trafford, the FA Cup semi-final, Eddie Davies’s exit or the day Ken Anderson seized solo control. 

But a fact to which each and every Bolton fan can attest is that the last few years of watching the club has been absolute hell. 

New owners installed just over 12 months ago and the arrival of managerial bright young thing Ian Evatt in the summer was meant to be a ‘reset button’ triggering a new positive era where gradual decline down the Football League could be reversed. 

It has become quickly apparent, however, that the hangover from administration and near financial oblivion will be take more to shift than a few social media hashtags and even a completely new squad. 

Evatt addressed the problem after last weekend’s defeat, pinpointing the “ingrained” losing mentality he had encountered since stepping through the doors from Barrow. 

His words prompted a mixture of agreement and resentment among the fans. Some feel enough distance has been put between the previous problems to judge this team on its own successes and failures, others that more negative folk have been too quick to criticise a rebuild still in its infancy. 

The head coach went into greater detail during his pre-Colchester press conference, arguing that trusts issues must be fixed before real progress can be made. 

“It is hard to put into words,” he said. “Yes, we’ve got a whole new squad of players and it’s not necessarily them – it’s more a sense you get from supporters, with the remaining staff. You can see with some that they don’t enjoy being here. 

“Sharon Brittan, the new owner, and the rest of the board want this to be a place of positivity, a place everyone is proud to come to. Not just the team but the way we handle and carry ourselves. 

“We have to make our supporters proud of the club again and earn some trust. That’s going to take time. It doesn’t happen in seven or eight weeks. 

“It starts with getting results and then building trust that the club is being run properly, which it is, and getting ourselves out in the community when we can, helping people. 

“Football clubs are the heart of a community and I have seen it first-hand that when you get that right and get success with a football club, the difference it can make is amazing.  

“It can turn places around – and I’m not saying Bolton needs to be turned around but the town will thrive when a club is going well.” 

Having been poster boys for poor ownership for the last couple of years, Wanderers fans have seen their club associated with nothing but negative headlines for longer than they care to remember. 

Anderson, administrators, Laurence Bassini, court cases, EFL deadlines, points penalties, appeals and injunctions. The recent history of Bolton is far removed from the proud club that helped found the Football League, won four FA Cups, boasted the Lion of Vienna, Super John and Big Sam. 

Wanderers say they are working hard to get people talking about the club in a positive light once again, although the pandemic has thrown up challenges which could hardly have been predicted. 

If Evatt was not aware before that results are the primary catalyst, he will now. 

How to stop a club from eating itself? Winning games of football is the surprisingly simple first step. 

“When you lose the trust of its supporters this is what happens,” Evatt reflected. 

“We’re working hard, and Sharon (Brittan) is working ever so hard to try and rebuild that.  

“They need to see we can do it over a lengthy period and it will take time. 

“My job is to make sure my team is performing and getting results. In that, we need to be better, and we will be better.  

“This club obviously has an incredible history and it is an institution. However, we are where we are right now. 

“We have been through some tough times in recent years but it has to be put behind us. 

“We have to act responsibly, financially, and then on the pitch. And when we do I think we’ll regain the trust and the town will thrive again.”