It is season finale time and it comes down to the last 3 months of the season to try and achieve our goal of the save. My Bolton side are right in the battle for European football next season and we have spent the majority of the season within the top 7. To lose out now would be a sore one but at the same time, with the teams that we have to play until the end of the season, it’s not going to be an easy ride.
I of course took the risk in episode 3 of not making any major first team signings in the January transfer window as I wanted to have faith in the squad who battled to get us in the position we are in. Whilst we’ve been good since the turn of the year, sustainability is always key in the continental qualification places.
It’s all about March through to the end of the season as results are the key area however, each month will provide any additional news of note. Of course, the end of season review can be seen at your discretion!
A different month shall we say, two fixtures and no replacement game for the FA Cup round that takes place. This means we have a 3 week gap until our next fixture in April?!
Both are important games in our bid to rack up as many points as possible, we just have to go for it whoever the opposition is.
Up first are the team who wanted to interview me just a month ago – Arsenal. Their struggles this season carry on against my side as we win 3-1. We mostly looked in control as it was clear there was a lack of quality in Arsenal’s team which explains their downfall. Jorge’s direct running got him a goal, Lewis Bate scored from the spot before Shane McNeill wrapped up the victory before Arsenal’s consolation goal.
Next up was relegation battlers West Brom and these games aren’t always the easiest especially when you’re at opposite ends of the table. We held our nerve though with a 2-0 win. Jorge was at it again with another goal and Tarrelle Whittaker also got one of his own, proving both players can work together when sharing the pitch.
6 points from a possible 6 is what we like to see, although it is a long wait until our next game.
Of course March is the time of the year where we got the much anticipated youth intake for the season.
I think we’re all in agreement that there is one player who stands out in particular – Bernard Purslow. The ability to play multiple positions and some potential on his side, he is definitely one who will be fast tracked to the U23s. Blaine Carling & Frank Willis look to be promising players for the future also.
It was the time of the season where the Premier League teams’ profit margins are displayed, in a list that we found ourselves second last season.
There are more profitable teams than last season in the league this season and we find ourselves amongst those in 7th place with a profit margin of £6.25m. It was a heavier spend in the summer transfer window and with the youth facility improvements I think we are managing our finances quite well.
To finish off March, one of our youth players George Tanner waited 2 months to ask why I blocked him a move to Ipswich, who are in League One at this time. Obviously he’s a good prospect and I didn’t want him to leave however, I asked the lad what can I do for him to stay but he got a bit big for his boots shall we say…
Tanner asks for the team to be built around him and have star player status, his attributes clearly point in another direction however!
1.5 star current ability and he wants to be the main man at the club? Have a day off. I’ll be surprised if he see the other side of the summer at Bolton, outrageous request!
We’re getting down to the gritty part of the season as we enter the penultimate month of the season and we face some tough teams in April too.
My side travelled to West Ham in a game where I thought we could grab a result but it was quite the contrary. A 2-0 loss against ‘The Hammers’ in a poor performance as the lads just did not get going in this match. We did bounce back in our next game against Norwich who have had a resurgence in form lately but we held them off for a 2-1 win. A quick start for the boys as goals from Jorge & Lewis Bate had us leading after 21 minutes, Norwich did score in the second half but we were good enough to see the game out.
It was time for our run of three games on the road starting with Chelsea, but it was a 1-0 loss on the day. We had a decent xG of 1.27 in this game it was just the fact Chelsea had 17 shots more that was the main difference…a tough team to beat regardless. Our next trip was to Anfield to face Liverpool but again we fail to get the job done losing 2-1. It all happened in the space of four minutes after a end to end first half, Liverpool scoring on the 63rd & 65th minute before Jorge got us back in the game on the 67th minute. The game fazed out a bit after the goal rush in a disappointing result against the team who were a place above us.
Last of the month was an in form Leicester who were lifting themselves up the table late on. The spoils were shared on the day with a 2-2 draw, Leicester were very positive in their play causing lots of problems for us. Leicester took a 3rd minute lead before Jorge equalised but we found ourselves trailing again just after half time. Super sub Tarrelle Whittaker held his nerve in front of the ‘keeper late on to grab us a point in a difficult game.
A really tough month as the battle heats up for the Europa League places, an unlikely top 4 finish is well out of the picture now. Spurs are our closest rivals for the top 6 and we’ll need to pick up in May after losing a firm grip on 5th/6th place.
For April, the only other bits of news is the net transfer spend chart which shows which teams splashed the cash and which teams made them big sales making a ton of money! I am a stats guy so I’m all about trends and data so you will see these things amongst a lot of my blog saves in the future.
Ourselves, we’re just in the red with -£6.06m after a heavy summer window. I did recover some of that in January with a few decent player sales. You may be surprised to see Man City a top of the chart in decent profit, they did have a clear out in the summer with 4-5 players leaving their club for fees between £30m – £50m…how the other half live! Everton are still enjoying their tycoon money after they went for it last summer signing a series of very good players in the summer, it’s alright when you can afford it with no worry!
3 games to go and its not as straight forward as we’d like but its time to fight and get what we deserve from this season.
It was only fitting that we face the team that were rapidly chasing us down in the league – Spurs. It’s a team we can beat but also a team that have a dangerous attack on their day but this match ended with a 1-1 draw. Spurs flew into the lead after 13 minutes and it had me thinking the worst but the boys got their heads down and battled on, which brought our reward when Tarrelle Whittaker took advantage of a mix up in Spurs’ defence to get an important equaliser. The pressure remains on Spurs with the points shared.
After the draw with Spurs, our fate was in our hands and it had to be 3 points against Newcastle who were on the cusp of relegation. I like Newcastle as a club, they are just marred by a poor owner and a poor manager but unfortunately for them I sealed their Championship fate for next season with a 3-0 win. Jorge & Mateusz Musialowski got us going 20 minutes in, we stayed in control and grabbed a third through Rique Puig late on. Sorry to the Geordie fans but we’re trying to do something special here!
Last game of the season was against Manchester City where we wanted a strong finish but that was a big ask against a team of this size. City beat us 1-0 but I couldn’t fault the boys for trying to get something from the game, we gave them a good go but the City goalkeeper was in top form.
Essentially that wrapped up the end of the season and before I reveal the league table, the Premier League caused a sense of confusion…
A top six finish confirmed but only a Europa Conference place confirmed. Now for the Europa League, 5th place qualifies and the second place is down to the winner of the FA Cup. The FA Cup final was between 4th and 5th place in the league so I was confused as to why the place hadn’t been allocated to the league.
So I waited along with the squad for the final to be played to see if that made any difference and thankfully after that very game, we received the news that we’ve been working so hard to see over the past 7 seasons…
WE’VE BLOODY DONE IT!!! BOLTON ARE BACK IN THE EUROPA LEAGUE AS OF NEXT SEASON…A HOLY SH!T MOMENT IF I’VE EVER SEEN ONE!!!
The emotions are running wild, I can’t believe I have guided this club to the heights that it experienced back in the 2007/08 season before the cruel downfall and financial issues that followed. I’m not going to make any predictions on how far we will go but we will be making a damn good go of it in that competition.
Final League Table 2026/27
Well there it is, 6th place with the ‘UEL’ place confirmed. What season it was for us, the fast start really got us in the right areas and despite a couple of lapses in form, we’ve been able to stay around this area of the league. Our chasers Spurs really choked in the last few games which allowed money mad Everton to nab the Europa Conference place from them. The top 4 is more or less what you’d expect and the biggest shock is probably Arsenal’s 14th place finish, hopefully they will come back to the party next season.
End of Season Review
The end of season review is right here, feel free to flick through to see our best moments and all that other good stuff.
It’s always nice to reflect, personally I’d pick Jorge over Omar Richards as signing of the season but what do I know about the players…unfortunately there was no league awards for myself or the players so below is the updated Bolton XI during my time at the club.
It will be Season 8 time and what a season we have in store but let me tell you now, the start of next season will provide something that will shock the lot of you. Apart from that we have the league, Europa League and the domestic cups all to tend with as squad depth will be key to any success we have. It will be harder with the extra games but I relish such a challenge!
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 9. 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/2021/04/26/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s9-ep-1-going-for-europe/
What a ride that was ladies and gents, I’ll be back soon for the next instalment as we’ll be entering the biggest season of the save. Take care all!