Phil Gartside Ė itís a tough world - 15/05/2003

As the dust settles from what was a fantastic, although at one stage a nerve-racking final day of the season, tension still hangs on the air. Letís face it, Sam Allardyce has done a tremendous job at the Reebok and as a result has become acknowledged as a one of the Premiershipís best. But with such a profile Bolton will do well to hang on to him, and I think thatís why Phil Gartside has been almost forced to produce funds for Sam to work with. It doesnít take much to realise that other clubs are casting their eyes on Boltonís manager, thereís also a large Midlandís club that are in need of new boss, so the Chairmanís work continues in to the summer.

Itís a tough world, and hard decisions have to be made. The Chairman, board, manager and players all want to see Bolton Wanderers move on, but itís not as easy as that. The lack of cash in football is well documented and the club have done fantastically well to bring in loan players and keep incoming transfer fees to a minimum. If funds are made available the club have to remain in a position of solvency. Take a look at Sunderland and see what can happen when £20 million is spent in a season. Where are they now? How much cash have they got? Itís frightening, and under Samís management weíve spent only a fraction of that sum AND kept the club in the big time. Sunderland have cut 85 jobs, closed two club shops and their existence is genuinely threatened.

So what does Phil Gartside do? If he can find say £5million for transfer fees and wages, he may also be risking the medium to long-term future of the club. Itís a big dilemma, but itís a time to be positive, if not, weíll be going backwards and almost certainly faced with relegation. I look at next seasonís Premiership and teams such as Portsmouth, Leicester, and one Sheff Utd, Wolves or Forest - theyíll struggle, and if we can keep our form going it does look very good and you have to look for a mid-table finish. But there are no guranteesÖand thatís the worry for the Chairman!! Itís not everyday that football fans have sympathy with their clubís Chairman, but I tell you what, if ever there were a justified caseÖ


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