‘They’d have the book thrown at other teams’ – Our experts give their view on Bolton Wanderers situation

The situation with Bolton Wanderers is still unclear, with the club none the wiser as to whether a points deduction is coming their way or not.

The Trotters have yet to receive punishment for cancelling a fixture against Brentford at the end of last season after a player’s strike during their financial woes. The game was initially postponed, but later cancelled when it was known it wouldn’t affect league standings.

Having started the season on minus 12 points, Bolton have recorded back to back league wins to move to within seven points of Southend and 15 points of safety. However, with possible repercussions hanging over them, that situation could worsen.

On top of that, they also postponed a game against Doncaster Rovers earlier in the season around concerns over player welfare. Again, as of November 5th, there is no indication as to whether that game will be replayed, the points awarded to Doncaster of if punishment will be metered out.

It means that the League One table, already lopsided due to one team’s absence and fixtures being cancelled, will continue to paint a false picture for the clubs competing in it. Accrington chairman Andy Holt called it a ‘shambles’ earlier today, but what do our panel of writers think?

We turn to our assortment of League One experts to discuss the situation in our latest ‘Our View’ feature.

Gary H says…..

“I’m getting a bit sick of hearing about this if I’m honest. They cancelled the Brentford game back in late April, how on earth is there still no punishment decision?

“If you punched a guy in the street in April you’d have already been through the court system and spat out the other side, yet Bolton are made to wait when, let’s face it, the situation is cut and dried. They failed to play a fixture and that carries a set punishment, surely?

“It’s dealt with in a matter of days at Sunday League level, but the way the EFL are dithering is atrocious. Don’t even get me started on the Doncaster situation either, that’s one that is going to run and run. I’d love to be a neutral in the ground when those two teams finally do meet.”

James G says…..

“Dock them points, please.

“There isn’t another outcome that will be fair. They cancelled a fixture and they should be punished. I think they should be docked points for the Doncaster debacle too. It seems they let other teams know via social media and Sky Sports News, how poor is that? They’d have the book thrown at other teams if they cancelled a fixture tomorrow for such lame reasons.

“It’s not Southend’s fault, or MK Dons, or Tranmere is it? Yet they’re the sides in the relegation battle and I feel the deck is loaded against them. Bolton are putting a run together, boosted by signings that I think those sides would love to have made. who wouldn’t want Liam Bridcutt in midfield or Daryl Murphy up top?

“Bolton might stay up and I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. Same with Tranmere and Gillingham, two sides who registered big wins against a youth team when Doncaster were denied the chance to do just that. If Doncaster had tonked them 5-0, just as other teams did, they’d be fifth now and not 11th.

“It’s a joke.”

Harry F says……

“It is a tough one. I suppose the EFL don’t want to be seen to be kicking a team when they’re down – not that they cared about leaving well alone whilst others kicked Bury.

“The issue here is the impact on other teams, not just those who have or haven’t faced Bolton, but the whole league.

“There’s a big question around integrity and fairness that has yet to be answered. I can see points being deducted for the Brentford saga, but the EFL won’t dare hit them with more deductions for Doncaster as well.

“They look uncaring enough after the Bury farce so won’t want to play the evil masters again. Whether that’s fair or not, I’m not sure.”

Gary H is a lifelong Lincoln City fan and has worked as a sport’s journalist for the past three years. He’s the editor of the popular Lincoln City site ‘The Stacey West’ and has written for Football League World as well.

James G is a Luton Town fan who has helped build the Real EFL into the successful site it is today, approaching 1m views for the year. He still watches the Hatters, but feels comfortable in the lower leagues and loves the passion on the terraces without money ruining it all.

Harry F is a Sunderland fan and journalist student hoping to forge a career in the world of football writing.


  1. you cant fined them or you end up with an other bad financial situation. Failure to fulfill a fixture should be the same on both counts. bolton docked 5 points for each game and the opposition awarded a 3-0 victory

  2. Pipe down James G. What would you have us do? Play our kids every week so we can get hammered? That’s all Donny are upset about. I’m sure you weren’t singing from the same sheet when Luton were staring down the barrel eh?
    Your beef seems to be with Bolton and not the league. If other clubs you’ve named aren’t winning their games then that’s hardly our fault is it? Tranmere already walloped us.
    Your blurb claims you prefer the lower leagues rather than top two because of money.
    So we get took over and can sign players. Your comment about Murphy and Bridcutt( who is put for months by the way) is ridiculous. If the other clubs would have loved to have signed them, then that’s what they should’ve done.
    Your problem is with the league. Not us. Or it should be anyway.

  3. These other clubs ought to get some perspective. A small number of clubs had a one match advantage playing our kids. Some took that advantage, others didn’t.
    If the remaining clubs think that their whole season will be defined by one match against BWFC then what does that say about the quality of their teams and management.

    We on the other hand have had plenty more than one match playing at a disadvantage as well as the -12pts. Yet we have persevered, recruited a management team who have organised a group of cast off players into a team that are competing and making a fist of trying to stay up against the odds and with further punishment hanging over us like the sword of Damocles.
    By the way, these cast off players were equally available to other clubs and not exclusively reserved for the Wanderers. Yet we still attracted them despite salary caps and embargoes. Again, blame your own club managements for failing to consider picking these players up first.
    We are currently a team bottom of the league, but not because of form, and are catching teams who are down there because their form is poor. They are using our situation as a convenient excuse and some fans are falling for it.
    Get your own teams performances in order, before kicking a club that has already been punished enough for the mismanagement by previous regimes.

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