Sordell: Bolton Players Only Cared About Themselves

  • May 20, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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Marvin Sordell has once again opened up to discuss his struggles at Bolton and how it ultimately had a negative impact on his mental health.

After bursting on to the scene at Watford as a teenager, Sordell joined Wanderers in a £3million deal on the final day of the transfer window in January 2012.

His time at the club was marred with disappointment, however, with relegation from the Premier League occurring just four months after his arrival - a period in which Sordell had made just three substitute appearances for Owen Coyle's side.

Although his young career had been progressing well at Vicarage Road, Sordell says he couldn't turn down the opportunity to play in the top division but admits the decision to move left him feeling very isolated.

"Watford weren't the club they are today," Sordell told the Chinwag Podcast.

"It was very different going from playing for a relatively small club at the time and being at home with friends and family.

"When you're a home-grown player it's very different. There's no pressure on you whatsoever, you can just go out and play.

"The whole squad was filled with academy players who had been promoted up to the first-team. I was one of many at the time so I was surrounded by a lot of very close friends.

"It didn't feel like being a professional football player, compared to what I had later down the line. I just went and played football with my mates and even going into the stadium, you didn't realise the magnitude of playing in the Championship at that time because of the people you're with.

"Going to Bolton, who were a massive club in the Premier League, was quite daunting, especially being a young kid and living on my own.

"At times I found being in the spotlight very difficult."

Sordell, who retired from the game in July 2019, also revealed he found it tough to form friendships during his time with the Trotters and felt the eyes of the world were on him every time he left the Bolton Whites Hotel - where he had been living in the short-term following his transfer.

"It was very different and also very isolating," he said.

"I spent a lot of time on my own, whereas I hadn't done that previously. I found it difficult.

"I wanted to do normal things, like going for food. I spent the first two months living in the hotel at the stadium, so I was essentially living at work.

"Every now and again I'd want a break from hotel food. I'd go to the Nando's or a restaurant around the corner.

"I'd walk in on my own and it almost felt like time froze. People would be talking and staring. They'd be stopping their meals to look and I could see people taking pictures out the corner of my eye.

"I was 20 - I didn't enjoy that whatsoever.

"At the time I really struggled because I hadn't gone into the team and playing straight away. There was a lot of pressure on me as well because I had gone for a big fee but wasn't playing.

"A lot of questions were being asked which I couldn't answer and it was all just a very difficult experience."

Now an employee of the Football Association, for whom he sits on an inclusion advisory board, the 29-year-old believes the mentality of Bolton's changing room in the immediate aftermath of their drop into the Championship was a contributing factor to their slide down the EFL pyramid in the years that followed.

"Everybody pretty much kept themselves to themselves," Sordell added.

"The changing room wasn't together at all. I saw that more so later down the line. People were just doing their own things and only cared about what was going on for themselves.

"I didn't know if that was normal or if that was what it's like in the Premier League. We had a very tight-knit changing room at Watford and that was all I'd known, so it was a bit strange for me. I felt like I was an outsider."

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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