Before the game, I told myself that, if we won, I’d go into my office to look at the other results first. At the whistle, I turned to my assistant Steve Parkin. He was saying: “We’ve done it, we’ve done it!”
“Are you sure?”
I walked off and went in my office to put the TV on. I was watching the results come through when the picture changed. Suddenly I was watching the pitch invasion outside, at our ground.
I was just stood there on my own with a beer.
I left it about five minutes, then thought I had better go out and join in. I wanted to be sure – someone could have scored a last-minute goal.
It was an incredible day. Despite all the problems Bolton have had, we’ve had two amazing last days of the season – getting promotion, and then that day last season.
It was a summer’s day, so on the drive home I said to my wife: “Let’s send a message out and invite all our friends round.”
The next thing I know, I’m in an old pair of shorts and T-shirt, cleaning the garden furniture on my hands and knees. Not quite how I envisaged celebrating staying up, but it was a brilliant night. It’s great when it goes your way.
“I told them it could be a rocky road when they signed. This is part of it”
At the moment, we’re in another massive challenge.
Fundamentally, Bolton is a great club with tremendous history, a great stadium and a great training ground. But it’s been a tough journey. For the chairman as well: he openly admits he became the chairman almost by default, and hasn’t got the money to compete at this level.
All the time, we’ve had to find a way to keep our heads above water.
I speak to the players – sometimes as a group, sometimes individually – to explain the situation that’s going on. But I also remind them that I told them it could be a rocky road when they signed. This is part of it. We’ve just got to deal with it, and it will get resolved.
Things get resolved in football.
I truly believe that this club, once it gets bought, will come back and be a Premier League club again one day.
Until then: no excuses. Once we cross that white line, we do ourselves justice.