WANDERERS great David Lee is the headline departure after the club confirmed the details of its long-awaited academy restructure.

The former Burnden Park favourite had been in charge of the Under-23s since 2016 before it was announced last March that in downgrading the Lostock academy, the development squad would not be running this season, leaving Bolton without reserve team football for the first time in nearly a century.

Having played 199 games for the club between 1992 and 1997, Lee returned to the Whites in 2007 as assistant academy director.

Now after being on furlough leave in recent months, the 53-year-old departs along with fellow former players Nicky Spooner, who has been in charge of the Under-18s, and Gavin McCann, most recently Spooner’s assistant.

Also leaving the academy are recently retired safeguarding officer Steve Ellis, youth coach Paul Wroe, goalkeeping coach Ben Williams and head of recruitment Brian Morris, who had already announced his departure on social media.

Academy director Jimmy Philips left in July with former Bury youth chief Mark Litherland appointed as academy manager the following month.

Bolton Wanderers chairman Sharon Brittan said: “On behalf of the board, I’d like to place on record my sincere gratitude to David, Nicky, Gavin and all the other members of staff leaving our academy.

“The restructure took longer than was originally anticipated due to the pandemic but I would like to thank them for their hard work and professionalism shown throughout this process.

“I wish them well for the future.”

Lee’s time in charge of the Under-23s saw them win the Professional Development League in 2018 with many supporters hoping he would at various points get a shot at running the first-team.

Wanderers’ new structure has seen Litherland oversee the Under-18s so far this season, with players then being fast-tracked into the senior set-up.

Bolton say they will publish more details about the make-up of the new-look academy next week.

Spooner, a former academy product himself, had been part of the coaching staff since 2004, stepping up to help the first team on an interim basis on a couple of occasions, including helping oversee the Junior Whites for their famous UniBol draw against Coventry.

McCann, a Whites player between 2007 and 2010 in the Premier League, returned as an academy coach on a part-time basis between 2012 and 2015, before it became a permanent arrangement from 2016 onwards.