I hear you! “another Bolton save! hows this one any different” Well most likely it will be the only one or one of a few still playing this save past new years eve. But my plan for the save is different I feel because I want to revolutionize the club from top to bottom.

The club starts £41m in debt with a repayment of £500k pm so the first port of call is to find £6m a year for the next 7 years on top of the standard operating turnover required. I will not be hoping for a quick takeover or anything to help clear this quicker. I intend to sort the finances through the club. Wages and bonuses will be renegotiated where possible to scrimp and save every penny. This is no moneyball save.

I am going to do a separate series of posts just on my tactics but i want to show the evolution of the clubs tactics through the years. With a -12 point starting position and an inexperienced squad I will focus on a solid foundation to be defensively sound then as we process we will become more adventurous and expansive and create a club identity and style of play. I will hopefully be able to show the transition of this as we go.

Youth Development
With the current situation at the club it makes more sense than ever to focus on developing in house. If we can get the players trained up they can become sellable assets. All youth players are cheap which will help keep the running cost down. I am intending to highlight a few players that I feel we can develop and keep you up to date with how they are progressing.


Rebuild Squad
21 of the 23 first team squad players are out of contract by next season. 6 of those 21 will be out of contract in the winter window. So I will need to make some quick decisions on players futures and decide who deserves a new deal and are they worth what they are asking for. By Christmas we should be able to tell what division we will be in next year which will help get ready for the summer ins and outs. But this will mean gaining scouting knowledge and get a shortlist of targets drawn up asap.

Our staff is not fit for purpose, to improve on the field we will need to improve off the field. But again we cant afford to just pay off members who will require fees to break contracts so this will be a gradual change a lot of the staff are on 2 year deals. As we move through the years we will bring in more specialist roles too like Director of Football and Loan Managers but at the moment they aren’t needed so I’m not going to waste the money.

Club Vision
All the above is great but it won’t matter if we are sacked. The board is actually quite ambitious they want promotion back to the Championship in 3 seasons. It’s probably doable but I will need to find a fine line between all the points i made so far. I need to remain competitive on the pitch whilst fixing the issues off the pitch. This is where the tactics and player development will come to the fore.

Loans in
I am not going to be loaning players in. Many a time on FM you see people signing premier league youngsters on loan and they bang 30 goals to take the club to the title on 0% of wages paid. I won’t be doing this. Any gaps in the squad will be filled by youth this fits with the culture I’m bringing to the club and long term I’d rather give that 18 year old striker in our youth team 4-5 games to cover that injury crisis which will also help that players development.


There will be people who are playing as Bolton who will have them back in the Premier League in 2-3 seasons and Champions League winners in 5 but fair play to them but I don’t think that will be happening here. This is a one club save for the whole of FM20 so I’ll be focusing on laying the foundations now for a brighter future. I think my vision will be 3 seasons in League One followed by 5 in the Championship before a Premier league return. I want to bring through a generation of youth talent maybe get Bolton their own class of 92. I want the club to become sustainable and get to a point where we are generating enough money to reinvest in the squad.
I’m hoping to blog a lot more this year due to the kids finally going to school I have more free time.
I’m hoping to bring two more posts in the next 2 weeks. One will be a look at the current Bolton Squad and the other will be a look at my starting tactic.

Thanks for reading


  • Daniel Gear

    Dan Gear is a vibrant member of the Football Manager (FM) community, renowned for his engaging content and insightful tutorials. He illuminates complex FM concepts on "View From The Touchline" and shares engaging narratives through his unique European Journeyman save reveals. Dan's collaborative spirit shines in partnerships with fellow creators like FM Stag, unraveling new FM features. He's a co-host of the engaging "Grass N Gear" podcast, making the FM experience more enjoyable for many. With a blend of humor, expertise, and a knack for community engagement, Dan Gear's contributions significantly enrich the Football Manager community, making him a cherished figure among enthusiasts.

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