Bolton Wanderers manager Keith Hill has paid tribute to the club’s fans for the backing they gave him and his side during their goalless draw at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon.
That stalemate at Kingsmeadow means that Wanderers remain rooted to the foot of the League One table, 22 points from safety and with just one win from their last 15 games, with relegation to League Two now seemingly inevitable.
Despite that, Wanderers were backed by a near sell-out away following, and speaking after the game, Hill was keen to praise those supporters who had made the long trip south, as he told the Bolton News: “I think the players have supported me really well with that performance but the supporters as well, there was absolutely no negativity, they were absolutely amazing.
“They are showing a lot of courage coming down to Wimbledon and they are backing us every step of the way. The players like that and they take inspiration from it.”
While there has been plenty of scrutiny on Hill’s position at the club due to recent results, the reception he received at Kingsmeadow from those away fans was a positive one, something which clearly meant a lot to the Bolton boss, as he continued: “There seems to be a lot of pretend negativity. And on matchdays there is none.
“I came out and the fans were applauding. It isn’t like the first game I played when we went to Rotherham when we had no relationship – there was no fault and no mistakes.
But for the supporters to embrace me today and give me the opportunity to embrace them back, that’s almost better than it was against Rotherham on that first day of the season. I’ll remember this. Football does a lot to your emotions, it does. It can be a ruthless game and it doesn’t allow for time.
“The fans have been magnificent whenever I have stepped on to the pitch or in the dugout, home or away, even though they get frustrated. They are allowed to because of the situation and the way the whole season has developed. But we will have to stick together.”
Next up for Bolton is another away trip on Tuesday night, as they travel to the Pirelli Stadium to take on Burton Albion.
I think this is really good to see from both sides of the coin for Bolton.
Following the club will have been incredibly difficult for those fans with everything that has gone on in recent years, so you could fully understand any frustrations they may wish to air, with the continuingly trying situation they find themselves in on the pitch at least.
The fact therefore that they are continuing to back their team and manager in spite of that is a credit to them, since it shows they are doing all they can to try and lift their side back in the right direction against all the odds.
It is also good to see Hill give that backing some recognition here, since that is something that is likely to be noticed, and indeed appreciated, by those fans, thus maintaining a strong relationship between these two sides of the club.