Arriving in England
When I arrive in England things are looking up. I’ve already been approached by Wigan and Swansea for their vacant positions but I’ve decided to turn both jobs down, although I did deliberate for a a long time over the Swansea offer.
However one other job has taken my attention, Bolton Wanderers. In massive financial trouble a bloated squad, on huge wages who have just finished 1 point above relegation from the championship in the season just gone.
After a great interview with the chairman I am offered the Bolton job on a two-year contract, the aim – to stay in the championship.
My first to task is to save money, save lots of money!
First on my list to leave are defender David Wheater and goalkeeper Ben Amos both are vital first team players but on exorbitant wages for a team struggling to survive and in huge debt.
Amos is shipped off to Brighton for £3.7m up front with another £300k to come after 30 appearances and Wheater is snapped up by promoted Derby County for £2.5m.
A few other players were shipped out for fees so ranging from free to £1.3m so we have reduced the wage budget and overall debt by a significant amount. So much so that I now work on incomings.
After striking up a parent club affiliation with Chelsea I take full advantage of the arrangement by bringing the loan signings of Kasey Palmer, Ola Aina & Joseph Colley.
David Stockdale joins us on a free transfer to replace Amos and Jed Wallace comes in from Wolves for £97k. Finally Adam Le Fondre and Will Buckley are also brought in on free transfers to provide the very young squad with some experienced heads.
The season starts well enough and by the end of September we have comfortably maintained a position in the top 6, a win over Charlton in late November seeing us hit 2nd place.
Following this, beyond all pre-season expectations we go on a run of 17 games unbeaten before we finally succumb to a 1-0 loss at the hands of struggling wolves. That run though has put us in full control of the Division, Cup wise we crash out of the league cup on penalties in the first round away at Yeovil and we can’t overcome Ipswich in the 4th round of the FA Cup.
We see the season out with a win at home to Leeds United which always stings having been a fan of them since I was a boy but during this magical season there was no stopping the mighty Bolton Wanderers.
With board confidence at its highest I enter the realms of club legend. Along with Zach Clough and his 32 league goals, the premiership beacons us and all the riches it holds.
With the new TV money safely in the bank the board after some gentle persuasion from yours truly decide to invest in both the club training and youth facilities, we also increase both scouting range and youth category level. The future is looking rosy for Bolton and myself after I’m offered an improved contract, which I obviously accept. The sense of Real Oviedo deja vu is strong let’s not forget I’ve been in this situation before.