Forest Green Rovers Christian Doidge has revealed he wasn’t surprised when his big money transfer to Championship club Bolton Wanderers collapsed.
The striker joined Bolton on a half-season loan on the final day of the summer transfer window in August 2018, in a move which was due to be converted into a permanent arrangement in January for a fee which was thought to be in the region of £1million.
However, Doidge controversially returned to Forest Green in January after Wanderers were placed under a registration embargo and failed to complete the deal.
Speaking after Rovers 2-1 victory at Crawley Town on Saturday, which consolidated their position in the League Two playoffs, Doidge revealed he never felt entirely settled at Bolton due to ongoing doubts over the club’s financial situation.
‘I always knew something was going to happen,’ he told Stroud News and Journal.
‘The day that it happened it was like, ‘I’ve been waiting for this to happen,’ because obviously behind the scenes at Bolton they’re not in a very good position and the boys talk in the changing room and it was kind of something I was expecting.’
‘I’ve just got to move on now and concentrate on Forest Green because I love it here, It’s the club I’ve had my best experiences with, and I’m hoping for many more.’
Doidge did admit that he initially found it difficult to adjust to life back at Forest Green after the disappointment of the transfer collapse and also that it took a little while to find his feet in the team who play a completely different style than what he had been playing in Lancashire.
‘It wasn’t that my head wasn’t on it, but it’s hard. I got a move to the Championship, and then you’re back in League Two. My last game was against Stoke City who had just come down from the Premier League, so that’s difficult.’
‘I was someone who played in Welsh Division Two about six years ago with no linesman, and then I’m playing in the Championship with Bolton.’
‘The gaffer at Bolton played a little bit different, so it took a while for me to adjust the style of football at Bolton, but I started the last seven games there, so I was starting to make some progress. Obviously, to come back to Forest Green, it’s a complete change of styles again.’
‘I’ve got some great people, my mum and dad, friends and all friends at home and all the boys at Forest Green have been terrific with me. The manager and the chairman, I sat down with both of them and the gaffer and all they’ve been is supportive, and they want me to get back to my best where I got the opportunity to play at a higher level.’
Despite his four months hiatus, Doidge is now Forest Green’s leading scorer after his brace at Crawley took him to eleven for Rovers and twelve for the season after scoring one during his time at Bolton, but Doidge said he was glad to be back leading the list and hopes his goals can help achieve promotion.’
‘Hopefully, I can score goals and help us to what we want to achieve because we’re an ambitious club, and so are the lads.’
Doidge is a quality player who obviously never settled in Lancashire, and we now know the reasons why.
It must have been a tremendous disappointment for him when the deal collapsed after a meteoric rise through the leagues.
He deserves enormous credit for getting his head down back at Forest Green after the collapse of the move.
He has shown great professionalism during all this and will surely get his chance again at a higher level.
His goals could be the difference for Forest Green and will make them difficult opponents for anyone in the playoffs making the prospect of them in League One next season a real possibility.