Bolton Wanderers made the bold decision to appoint Ian Evatt as manager after he won the National League title under Barrow in the summer of 2020.
The former centre-back didn’t seem like the type of player who would have a great future in management, but in a short time, the 41-year-old has proven to be a very exciting prospect.
It seems like a match made in heaven at this point, with Evatt becoming a shareholder in the club in the last month or so, and with the way the Trotters board of directors supported him during his first season with the club, despite that Wanderers were in the bottom half of League Two around the turn of the year before putting together an incredible, similar to Bristol Rovers last season, to seal automatic promotion on the last day.
Bolton may fall below Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town this term, although there would be no shame in doing so, but it seems inevitable that they will be back there again next season if promotion is not achieved this time around. .
Evatt is the eighth longest-serving manager in the EFL and there could be a future scenario where he rises to the top of that list, with the patience the board is willing to show and the upward mobility of the club he leads.
With their financial backing, promotion to the Championship should definitely be achieved in the next two seasons after this one, if not sooner, and given the tactical sense Evatt has shown up to this point, they would be in a very good position to stay there. .
The former Barrow boss comes off as a very sympathetic manager, happy to speak to the media in a way that will affect his players in a positive way, be it brutal honesty or intense optimism, and has a demanding nature that is bringing out more benefit from some individuals than they have shown in previous clubs.
Redundancy culture is one of the worst topics in EFL football right now, and Evatt’s rise at Bolton just goes to show that having patience and confidence going into an appointment will often pay dividends in the long run.
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There would have been a section of the fan base who wanted Evatt sacked during the 2020/21 campaign and those same people may now believe that he is the manager to get them back to the Premier League.
From what we’ve seen so far, there’s nothing to suggest that Evatt can’t lead the Trotters back to their former glory.