NEIL Hart wants to get Bolton Wanderers “rocking and rolling” again.

Speaking at the end of his first week in the post, the new chief executive has committed his long-term future to the University of Bolton Stadium, pledging to end the run of interim appointments and bring “executive stability” to the club.

Hart spent seven years at Burnley, becoming CEO at the start of 2020, and had previously worked at Watford. After Bolton approached him a few weeks ago, he said his mind was quickly made up after speaking to chairman, Sharon Brittan, and the first team boss, Ian Evatt.

“I think straight away when you sit down with the chair and you’re on the same page and you talk in the same language, that helps massively and that’s really important in terms of the ownership group so that was a big factor in me coming here and engaging in really positive discussions,” he told The Bolton News.

“I met the manager from the outset and we’ve certainly got something special there. A great guy who I think can really take this club forward, and he’s certainly got the full backing of the board and I’m certainly really engaged with that and really behind him.

“But I think when you look at football clubs, it’s something which is inside you. I’ve been involved in football all my life. As a kid, I’ve grown up around it, I’ve worked in football for 20 years, I’ve been in around football clubs, and you feel something when you come to clubs.

“At a club like Bolton, it means something to the people, it means something to the town. Every time I drive down the M61 and I pull off the motorway, I see the ground and it gives you that buzz, it gives you that positive feeling and you think you want to be part of this.

“And because of where the club is now, there’s a huge opportunity to really develop something and take something forward and that is what really attracted me to this opportunity.

“I felt something, and I felt the three of us could work really well together and take this football club forward.

“If I had not felt that I would not be here.”

Wanderers have already turned a corner on the pitch, securing promotion from League Two last season, but must now rebuild as a business after a period of great uncertainty which began under previous poor ownership, then administration, then a global pandemic.

Hart admits the job would not have been an appealing one in recent years – but he believes Football Ventures plans for the club make it a much more attractive proposition nowadays.

“I think we have got a good ownership group now. You are all aware of the work Sharon and the board have done,” he said.

“They saved the football club and there is stability there now. They were very keen to bring in a competent chief executive who they felt was a right fit for them and a right fit for Bolton and that brings me here.

“There is a lot of challenges but we’re in a much more positive place. I remember being right at the start of the pandemic, not just for football, but for the whole of society and the whole of the economic world.

The Bolton News:

“I remember being right at the start at Burnley and I think my first week at Burnley was shutting down the offices, the stadium and the training ground and deploying everybody to work from home and the Premier League season stopping and how we react to that as a group of 20 clubs.

“I am well versed with dealing with crises and dealing with challenges. It is a good job, because there are a few here, so it doesn't scare me. We will get on with it, I will deal with things head on. We will talk, we will communicate, we will agree actions and we will get things done.”

Asked about his short-term aims in the job, Hart says every assistance will be given to Evatt and the first team staff to be successful in League One this season, which will then have a positive knock-on effect on the success of the club.

“I think the big priority for me is making sure that Ian is supported and Chris Markham and they have got everything they need so the team can perform and prepare, because let’s be honest, if we can get it right on the pitch and we can deliver, that will enable us to progress as a football club, so that is the top priority,” he said.

“I have spent some time with Ian and Chris this week and spoke to Ian a number of times over the last couple of weeks. We hit it off and are on the same page. We have got a great guy there as our manager and we can certainly work really well together.

The Bolton News:

“Off the pitch it’s just putting in the processes and the structure required so we can create the right culture, the right environment within the club and we can deliver every element of the football club and create a high performance, high attitude way of working here.

“It is just about pulling things together. There is a bit of streamlining to be done and a bit of looking at reporting lines and processes within the organisation, so that is what I will do.

“I know how to run a football club. My experiences from where I come from will help me and help everybody here enormously and we will get this football club rocking and rolling. That is what I am saying to the staff, and I am positive about that.”