Comment: Freedman needs to act fast to stop Bolton Wanderers following other ‘big’ clubs to lower leagues

Comment by Matthew Ord

So much can change in the space of 10 years.

At the end of the 2003-04 season Bolton Wanderers sat in 8th place, a mere three points away from European football, and had finished runners-up in League Cup.

Fast forward to the 2013-14 season.

They lie in the relegation zone of The Championship and are winless in their first ten games, having conceded 17 goals in the process, and are already out of the League Cup, succumbing to mid-table League One side Tranmere Rovers.

Whilst it may very well be an early stage of the season, two relegations in three years is something Bolton fans will have in the back of their minds already.

The prospect is a frightening one.

When they were relegated from the Premier League they lost 13 players, plenty of which were first team.

If they go down again, it would be no surprise to see a lot of the current squad leave as well, and it would not be an easy task bringing quality players onto a sinking ship.

Southampton, Norwich, Wolves and Leeds United are just some of the teams who have quickly fallen from The Premier League to League One in recent years, with varying degrees of success.

Norwich bounced back with successive promotions, whilst Southampton did the same, having now established themselves as a decent Premier League side.

Leeds took three years to get back to The Championship and Wolves have started this season well.

The start to the season Bolton have had is all the more surprising considering how close they came to securing a play-off position last season, missing out on the final day.

Fans of the club have voiced their concerns on forums. TANGODANCER said: “We can’t beat teams because of our name and past reputation; we have to do it the hard way.”

Wigan white said: “We realise some of our players aren’t good enough/can’t be arsed, but due to us not being able to get rid of them we can’t bring in better/more committed players.”

Some remain optimistic though, with user gizmothevoomer saying there’s ‘no need to push any panic button yet’.

The 0-0 draw with Blackpool this week, the first time the Seasiders had failed to score all season, is reason for fans to take hope but nobody can really begin to feel too confident until they get that illusive first win.

Manager Dougie Freedman had to give assurances last season that The Trotters would not be relegated, shortly before steering them to that near-promotion place.

This season Freedman has said: “I think my job is very safe. I don’t feel under any sort of pressure.”

He did acknowledge the fact that his club were in a relegation battle though, saying: “I was involved in a relegation battle during my time at Crystal Palace and I understand exactly what we’ve got to do.”

Whatever it is they have ‘got to do’, it better happen fast.

Image courtesy of BWFC Official via YouTube , with thanks

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