Bolton Back To Europa S7E1 – The Overhaul

Here we are ladies and gents, the start of season 7 with Bolton Wanderers and we are just a qualification place away from the goal of the save – the Europa League. Season 6 finished with us finishing 8th in the Premier League in our first season back in the big time and a narrow loss in the FA Cup final as we showed what we can be capable of.

This season was a different challenge though, it was all about maintaining our Premier League status as our first aim but also striving towards that European place whether it is through the league or the FA Cup.

In this episode it is all about the transfers and it was our busiest ever with lots of players coming in and even more going out. Pre-season results are to be had in addition to the first month of the season to see how we shape up. First though, let’s get into some of the off-season news.

Off-Season News

First off I’ll talk about the youth facilities, now this will make more sense when we get to the transfers section next but Bolton had what is considered ‘good’ youth facilities however, this was not good enough for some of our U23s/U18s who were having their heads turned in the off season with clubs with better facilities despite these clubs being in the EFL Championship.

Players were asking to leave and becoming quite difficult to deal with so after a long debate with the board, they agreed to upgrade the facilities which will be completed by the half way point of the season.

I’m glad they appreciate my passion for us to competitive in this area…it did take some convincing!

Shortly after this, once again the board offered to improve the scout wages to allow us to upgrade our range and scouting package at the same time.

Lastly, veteran centre back Felipe has called time on his playing career as he felt his game time would decrease which to be honest was right, he didn’t get much of a look in last season. I am grateful for his contribution though, he was a key part of our promotion drive to the Premier League when we won the EFL Championship, enjoy the free time big man!

Transfers

I’m going to go through the transfers now as there is a lot to talk about. It’s easily the craziness summer I’ve had during my time at the club and whilst I looked to boost the first team, I also wanted to improve the players we had on the bench and as back up.

So yes, this all happened in a crazy summer. I did want to have a bit of a clear out with noteable players such as Kai Fotheringham, Conor Chaplin, Alex Santana, John Kitolano all leaving permanently which included a decent £3 million sale for centre back Ajibola Alese who spent most of his time out on loan while with us.

As I mentioned regarding the youth facilities, this caused Ash Eyo & Carlos to force moves elsewhere which was frustrating. Carlos especially as he was on the fringes of the first team. Jude Russell, Jonathan Afolabi & John Souttar all leave on loan with Afolabi’s deal having an optional future fee however, Souttar’s deal with Monza has a mandatory future fee where he will join permanent at the end of the season.

Also current third goalkeeper Ondrej Mastny went on loan to Romanian feeder club FCSB but has already returned after playing 1 game in 6 weeks. After their coach refused to play him to the agreed play time of ‘regular starter’, Mastny asked to come back – short and sweet that move!

Other sales are players who won’t be good enough for the first team, the remaining loans are for development and game time purposes.

In terms of the incomings, there was improvements to defence, midfield and the striker departments. As you’ll see deals for players coming from English clubs cost more however, we did sign most players below their value. Dale Weeks, Victor Manual Pascual & Kilian Deuerlein are all prospects for the future with the two latter going out on loan.

Looking at the other players who came in, I was happiest with the acquirements of Jorge, Mateusz Musialowski, Ronaldo Vieira, Adam Hlozek & Victor Nelsson due to their abilities and the prices – the Hlozek deal was due to compensation as he was on a non-contract with Sparta Prague, his current value is £17m so that’s a class deal. We also snuck in front of Barcelona of all clubs for centre back Victor Nelsson as we could offer better playing time which was pleasing and being Danish he clearly doesn’t mind the crappy north west weather!

Here you can check out all our new players so you can see their abilities and how they shape up too. Let us know which players in the comments or on twitter (@DP_FM_) you like the look of!

The last player you see – Dwayne Williams was signed back on 09/06/2026 on a free from Chelsea but as its counted as last season he doesn’t appear on the incomings. He will start with U23s and has 4 star potential.

The Squad

Here is what the squad looks like for the season or until January anyway, it is quite large but I have my reasons for this.

The reason I have built a big squad is to cover injuries as we do go through bad runs in the team of this but also having the right options for the right games. I feel players we’ve brought in like Jorge, Hlozek & Musialowski could be the difference when we face teams who form the big 6 and we have good depth in other areas. The star ratings overall may look low but opposed to having mainly Championship standard players, most of the squad is now Premier League level which is key.

Some more may be moved on in January but this gives me a good chance to have a look to see who fits into our systems the best. I’m always thriving to have the best squad I can have and this is a step forward in that direction.

Pre-Season Results

So whilst the transfer madness was taking place, we had 7 pre-season games to tend with this season with a more varied level of opposition than usual.

This season’s tour was to the USA where all our games were staged at the multi-purpose ground of MCU Park. Sports such as football, baseball, rugby are predominant here and the MCU has been used as a PPV wrestling arena on occasion.

You get the gist of multi-purpose now…

A functioning theme park in the background but the lads barely earned the right for a day out with 1 win, 1 draw and a loss – we’ll blame the jetlag. However, back on home soil there was straight forward wins vs. Rapid Wien & Dundalk, Club Brugge proved a good test but we got through that one with a win too. AS Monaco was the kind of test we wanted but u unfortunately the team struggled to face up to the challenge.

A mixed pre-season for us, some really convincing wins but some performances were below par at times.

August 2026

Here we go then, the opening month of our 7th season in the driving seat for Bolton Wanderers.

It was an unbeaten month which is always a plus but one more win in the league would have been preferable. Opening day was against Wolves who we faced on the last day of last season. We raced ahead through the usual culprit Tarrelle Whittaker but didn’t have much joy after that as Wolves took control and grabbed themselves an equaliser as it finished 1-1. Up next was Everton in a game of many chances but neither team could produce a goal as it ended 0-0. My side were not clinical in the box which was our downfall in that one.

Off to the south coast we went to face Bournemouth and back to the north west we travelled with 3 points. New winger Mateusz Musialowski got off the mark with a well timed chip when he was 1 v 1 with the opposing goalkeeper. Carabao Cup time and we were handed an easy draw vs. League 2’s Tranmere Rovers. I used it as a fixture to start bedding some of our many new signings in and it paid off with new striker Jorge grabbing a brace and the ever trusted Shane McNeill grabbing a goal too in a 3-0 victory.

We finished the month with a trip to Brighton who are a dangerous team on their day. It finished 2-2 but it was my side who showed some resilience after being 2-0 down after 7 minutes! I was fearing an absolute drubbing but we grew into the game with Lucas Da Cunha getting a goal back just before HT. The second half was end to end but Jorge kept his composure after breaking away and scoring in a 1 v 1 situation.

Not a bad month for the team, it could’ve been better but at the same time it could’ve been a lot worse!

League Table

Sitting in mid bag after four games which isn’t bad, a lot to build on but with the new look squad the team cohesion has dropped from excellent to average so getting the lads gelled is key to whatever successes we can come up with this season.

What’s Next?

Next we will look at September through to the end of November to see how the team shapes up in the early parts of the season. Hopefully we can get some wins under the belt but there will be a few tough teams within the fixtures to play.

Whilst you are exploring the DP-FM site, go take a look at Louis’ (Co-blogger/creator of DP-FM) challenge where he is embarking on his series ‘Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced’ which is currently on season 8. This entails Louis starting from the bottom of his management career with no coaching badges and low attributes to add to the fun!

To go from the start – https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-1/

Or to go from the current season – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/03/22/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s8-ep-1-premier-league-preparations/

In addition to this, DP-FM are back amongst The Far East Express, our joint save with some awesome FM content creators. Louis is navigating his way through season 3 currently so get it going from the start right here – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/04/08/the-far-east-express-s3-ep-1-not-much-to-work-with/

Thanks for reading my people, I hope you all enjoyed this one. Keep your eyes peeled for episode 2 of this season soon!

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