Belfast Telegraph

I wouldn't wish stressful Bolton nightmare on anyone: Josh Magennis opens up on administration hell

 

Point to prove: Josh Magennis finds the net against West Brom
Point to prove: Josh Magennis finds the net against West Brom

By Paul Ferguson

For a man who has just endured the most emotionally draining season of his club career, Josh Magennis remains in a surprisingly upbeat mood.

The ultra-positive powerhouse striker is facing an uncertain summer with his current employment status looking increasingly bleak after months of upheaval at Bolton Wanderers, a once mighty institution who have fallen from grace in spectacular fashion.

The Lancashire club have just been relegated to League One, been docked 12 points at the start of next season for entering into administration and Magennis isn't sure if he'll be paid this month.

It's an all too familiar scenario for Magennis since he joined Bolton last year from Charlton Athletic on a two year contract with the club plagued by winding up orders, fan protests, media bans and false dawns over the sale of the club by chairman Ken Anderson.

Magennis, who scored seven goals in 45 appearances for Bolton last term, is today just grateful to be on international duty - a welcome distraction from the woes at the Macron Stadium and it allows him to concentrate fully on playing his part in Northern Ireland's Euro qualifiers against Estonia and Belarus over the next six days.

Today, the 28-year-old, in an open and honest assessment of the last nine months, reveals to the Belfast Telegraph how the Bolton turmoil took its toil on himself and his team-mates.

"Without a shadow of a doubt it's been the hardest period of my career. I really wouldn't wish what I have experienced on anybody," concedes Magennis, who honestly believed he was taking a step forward in his career when he quit Charlton for Bolton last year.

"For me as a professional footballer, I was making the jump to the Championship and you are expected to perform at the highest possible level, without any distractions.

"Most of us use football to get away from things - even when we were younger if we went to the park or played in the street, football allowed us to forget about what else was going on in the world.

"Unfortunately at Bolton, the problems arose with us when we were at football. We were actually going home to get a break from it all as it was so stressful - usually it is the other way around.

"It was tough especially for the fans who had paid their season ticket money - we were honestly trying our best. But so many lads were being affected financially, socially, emotionally and mentally.

"It wasn't just all about the bank account, there was so much going on behind the scenes that it ended taking its effect. It's a real shame the season had to end the way it did."

Magennis and his team-mates, due to the fact they were not receiving their wages on time or an agreed date following meetings, felt compelled at times to threaten strike action - not just to force the issue for themselves but every member of staff at the club who were affected.

"There were a number of reactions by the players to the problems," says Magennis. "Some just wanted to put the head down and think only of playing football while others wanted more communication. Other lads were here, there and everywhere.

"But honestly, everyone tried to help the ones who really needed it. We came together as a group of players and were a proper squad.

"In terms of myself, I am quite outspoken and don't like things to be kept from me - so some of my team-mates were telling me just to stay focussed on my football while saying to me about what would happen if the club went into liquidation or the problems that we are actually in now.

"There was and is a lot of uncertainty around the club. Communication was very much lacking and it seemed to be we were only finding out information, which we needed to know, when it was released in the press. It just wasn't a good scenario and I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

Magennis at this moment in time is trapped at Bolton Wanderers. He still has one year to run on his contract and depending on what decisions the administrators make, he could still be playing for a club fighting for it's very existence and on minus 12 points going into their first League One game of the season in August.

Therefore Magennis, in Tallin and Borisov, is placing himself very much in the shop window - hoping a club likes what they see of him on international duty and quick summer sale end his Bolton nightmare.

"I have one year left on my contract," stressed Magennis. "Unless a club comes in and buys me or Bolton goes bust and I'm able to walk away from my contract as a free agent, I'm at the club until I'm told otherwise.

"The administrators are there to save money and make the debt as small as possible. So with me, there's a number of things that could happen - they could ask me to take wage cut, they could ask me to walk away on a free (transfer) or wait until a new buyer comes in and see what happens.

"We're pretty much out in the cold right now but I think the administrators are meeting the PFA and Football League so we'll see what happens from those meetings.

"They speak to Andrew Taylor or David Wheeler as players representatives and then they fire it out to us on the group chat (Whats App).

"I'm sure I'll learn more as things progress but it is still early days for the administrators - they have to go through all the books and try and get things in order and then they'll make a conscious decision from there."

It's set to be an anxious few months for the Northern Ireland striker at Bolton.

But then, Magennis has known little else during his 12 months at the Macron Stadium.

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