Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt has claimed opposition players are raising their game when they travelled to the University of Bolton Stadium, as reported by the club’s Twitter feed.
Evatt oversaw Barrow’s promotion from the National League last season but has endured a difficult start to his life as Bolton boss. His side are 20th in the division, having lost four of their opening six matches. Three of those league defeats have come at home against Forest Green, Newport and Oldham, and Evatt believes that the opulent surroundings of their ground is partly why.
“The players that come here as the opposition are filming the stadium on the phone and taking photos because it’s a palace compared to where they play,” said Evatt. “Teams raise their game but we’ve got to rise to that, it’s as simple as that.”
Whilst there may be an element of truth to Evatt’s words, the manner in which they have been expressed has, predictably, brought supporters out to comment, from both sides of the fence. Bolton fans are not happy with the club’s weak start, despite strong transfer business which saw them bag the likes if Eoin Doyle over the summer.
Similarly, supporters of other clubs in the division have taken the comments to be quite arrogant, especially when other big grounds such as Valley Parade, The Ricoh and Fratton Park have all seen League Two football in recent seasons. Here’s what supporters are saying after Evatt’s rather bullish comments.
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Christ. Take yourself down a notch or two ?
— Connor (@CONKS__) October 19, 2020
Needs a whole attitude change. This place used to be a fortress, not a palace.
Players need to tackle and not dance with attackers. Billy Crellin needs to dominate the box. Goals go in and he looks sad. A goal goes in and be mad. Shouting and screaming is ok for a goalie.
— Chris Villiers ??? (@cjvilliers) October 19, 2020
Maybe you need to film some of the stadiums in League 2 and realise how catastrophic your downfall has been! I would take an old school stadium over that any day of the week anyway. I saw our players filming Barrows stadium on Insta pre match so dont think you're special ?
— TheLatestColU (@TheLatestColU) October 19, 2020
I don’t think they need to raise your game lm paying for 2 season tickets to watch a team l love show no passion, drive or commitment on TV
— wolf on a bridge (@Wolfonabridge) October 19, 2020
Maybe the Bolton job is too big for the current manager.
— mark mayhew (@markrmayhew) October 19, 2020
Any chance you can ask our players to raise the game ?????
— phil (@AleBarons1) October 19, 2020
I loved what Evatt did at Barrow but coming out with 'It's unfair because we're so big that the opposition raise their game' is always a worrying sign.
— CD (@CDninetynine) October 19, 2020