The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

NEIL LEN­NON did the honourable thing by blam­ing him­self for Bolton’s hu­mil­i­a­tion at Mid­dles­brough.

But, while a late switch to 3-5-2 cer­tainly did his play­ers no favours, the Trot­ters chief was fool­ing no­body. That squad is rel­e­ga­tion fod­der.

A club that once sparkled with the tal­ents of Jay-Jay Okocha and Youri Djorka­eff is now re­ly­ing on 38-year-old Emile Heskey. Cof­fers once stuffed with Premier League cash are now lit­tered with IOUs.

As of April, Bolton’s debt stood at £172.9m, the ma­jor­ity to owner Ed­die Davies. Hav­ing pumped so much into the club, the 69-year-old wants to call it a day but, un­der­stand­ably, isn’t pre­pared to write off what he is owed.

This has left Bolton in a Catch-22 sit­u­a­tion; Davies’ fund­ing has dried up, yet that big red num­ber on the books is scar­ing off in­vestors. The re­sult? Cash-strapped limbo.

The big earn­ers and bad eggs from the Premier League days have fi­nally been shipped out. The wage bill is down to £21m – roughly the same as Bournemouth last sea­son.

Yet, where the Cher­ries had built steadily over sev­eral years, Bolton have been do­ing the op­po­site – shed­ding weight and us­ing what lit­tle cash re­mained to build a hodge-podge squad of free­bies and cast-offs. Now, that’s all they have left.

A to­tal re­vamp is re­quired, but Len­non’s hands are tied. The for­mer Celtic boss, who hasn’t spent a cent in his time at the Ree­bok, was last week told he must sell be­fore he can bol­ster his ranks. As for pay­ing a trans­fer fee, for­get it.

Fans, mean­while, have turned their fire on chair­man Phil Gart­side, who they ac­cuse of lack­ing trans­parency.

It’s a mis­er­able sit­u­a­tion and one that is un­likely to im­prove – at least in the short term.

The Trot­ters have taken just 19 points from their last 23 games.

With­out re­in­force­ments, League One beck­ons.

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