Bolton Wanderers bounced back to League One at the first time of asking and will now be hopeful of at least challenging for the play-off places this upcoming season.
Trotters boss Ian Evatt steered the club back to the third tier in his first season with the club and has aspirations of continuing their success into the higher division.
However, the 39-year-old has been surprised with the amount of financial backing that his divisional counterparts have been provided with already, and told Bolton News: “Some of the money I hear being spent around League One is crazy, but we are not going to do that. We are not that football club anymore.
“But we are a big club with great assets like training ground, stadium, fanbase, history, and players want to buy into that. Sometimes it isn’t about finance.”
It is still a tough climate within English football at the moment, and whilst early dealings suggest that certain League One clubs are in a far superior financial situation, there is still uncertainty when it comes to money.
Subsequently, Evatt finds himself in a position where he does not want to put any pressures or strains on the owners, but he wants his side to challenge the top clubs in the division: “I want us to be competitive, of course, but I don’t want us to overspend for two reasons. One, I want the club to be sustainable. I don’t want the owners to have to keep finding and ploughing money into the club with a good business model.
“But, two, if we’re ninth or 10th in the budget league and finishing in the automatic promotion places then it makes me look better. That’s my own ego and selfishness talking.”
It seems that the number of well-funded League One clubs increases each year. However, the likes of Sunderland, Portsmouth, Ipswich Town, have all struggled to turn their spending power into success.
Recruitment in the third-tier has once again been impressive, but football is a game about cohesion and what the team can do. Bolton will also be inspired by teams like Luton, Rotherham, Wycombe, and to some extent, Peterborough, who have all won promotion in recent years despite their inferior budgets.
Expectation levels around Bolton will be high, despite just returning to the third-tier. But, under Evatt, they are side who only know success and if they can manage to retain performance levels from 2021, then it would be no real surprise to see them flirting with the prospect of promotion come May of next year.