Bolton Supporter Blasts Trust for 'Lack of Communication'

  • April 16, 2019 | By Chris Mann
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Around 250 people were in attendance at the University of Bolton Stadium on Monday evening, as fans gathered for a meeting of the Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Trust.

The free-to-attend event, which lasted close to two-and-a-half hours, was hosted by BBC Radio Manchester's Jack Dearden and featured the opinions of Trust chairman Terence Rigby, along with those of fellow members Mike Smith, Maggie Tetlow, Roger Allanson, Paul Brown, Simon Nightingale and Ian Bridge.

Also at the Platinum Suite were Yasmin Qureshi (MP for Bolton South East), Gerry Brough from Bolton Council, representatives of Supporters Direct, the Blackpool Supporters' Trust, and Andrew Dean - promotions manager at Bolton Wanderers for more than 25 years.

It was Ms Tetlow who opened the evening, where she revealed a number of major stakeholders - including Wanderers owner Ken Anderson - had declined an open invitation to attend.

Addressing the audience, Ms Tetlow said: "The purpose of the meeting was for stakeholders to give supporters some comfort.

"We did invite all the stakeholders but not everybody was able to attend.

"Ken Anderson told us: 'Unfortunately I'm in the US with long-standing commitments. I will be making a statement through the usual channels'.

"Brett Warburton and Michael James sent their apologies but no statement, while Eddie Davies' family also made their apologies."

Ms Tetlow continued by reading statements from David Crausby (MP for Bolton North East), Chris Green (MP for Bolton West & Atherton), current Wanderers player Andrew Taylor, and former club captain Gudni Bergsson - who gave his best wishes whilst admitting he is unable to be involved due to his role as president of the Icelandic Football Association.

Following an in-depth recap of off-field events of the last three years by Trust chairman Mr Rigby, Mr Allanson read a statement from the EFL, in which they stated their belief that Bolton has the 'source and sufficiency of funds to meet its obligation as a member of the league until the end of the season'.

After Yasmin Qureshi (MP for Bolton South East) pledged her support, Gerry Brough (Director of Place for Bolton Council) revealed a prohibition notice will be served on Tuesday, denying fans entry into Good Friday's clash with Aston Villa, unless assurances over staffing can be provided in order to satisfy conditions of the club's safety certificate.

The final showpiece of the meeting gave supporters an open platform to raise questions of their own, with a major talking point surrounding how the Supporters' Trust promote both themselves and their events.

One member of the public accused the Trust of a lack of communication, advising them to capitalise on the following of fanzines such as Burnden Aces, Lion of Vienna Suite and high-profile bloggers, following the successful promotion and turnout for January's protests against the club's current ownership.

Members of the Trust appeared stunned, with Ms Tetlow, Mr Smith and Mr Bridge defending their work in a heated exchange which played out to the watching crowd.

Will Jones (Editor from Lion of Vienna Suite) would later inform the Trust board that he, and members from other fanzines, would be happy to work in collaboration for the greater benefit and future of the club.

Mr Jones and Chris Mann (Webmaster from Burnden Aces) briefly exchanged views with Mr Smith, Mr Bridge and members of the press at the conclusion of the meeting, while attempts to engage with Mr Rigby were shunned as he made a beeline for the exit.

A joint statement from Burnden Aces, Lion of Vienna Suite and a number of club supporters, complete with further plans, will be released in due course.

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