Bolton Wanderers had a reality check with a 5-1 preseason defeat to Wigan Athletic following a Joe Garner hat-trick.
But the remorse of loss was lifted for the fans with what their manager Ian Evatt had to say about the performance afterwards…
Evatt made it clear that such performances from his club will ‘not be tolerated’, stating that he is “only thankful it was a pre-season game”. But more than that, he stressed his demands for high performances and high work rates, sparking hope in Bolton fans that their boss is truly trying to turn a leaf at the club.
Bolton fans have had it rough recently, almost losing their beloved club last year due to ownership issues. But they have been given a lifeline to rebuild from the ground up as they find themselves in the fourth tier of English football, EFL League Two.
The manager made it clear that he is not entirely infuriated with his young players, as they have been given extraordinary demands given the state of their club.
By lampooning the players who should know better. Evatt is using a similar man-managing tactic that the great Sir Alex Ferguson used, if he shouted at Ryan Giggs, everyone else got the message too.
Showing qualities of a manager who cares, who understands his players as well as understanding the game, is giving hope to fans at a time where they have a right to have no hope at all. This on its own is enough to keep him around, let alone the improvements he has made since his arrival.
The post-match rant from the boss will further instil a professional and hard-working culture at the club, using assertive comments such as: “If they are not producing the goods then they will be left behind, it’s as simple as that.”
Evatt also claims to have spotted who deserves the full support of the club, as he says: “I saw in that second half when we were a few goals down who still wanted the ball and who was still prepared to lead the team”. Safe to say all or most of the players will hope the manager was talking about them when in reality it is likely only a handful.
With such a passionate response to loss, Evatt could be precisely what Bolton needs at a crucial time in the club’s history, Bolton can sink or swim.