Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt has been left hurt and disappointed as he’s warned by police of potential fan trouble at Barrow.
It will be Evatt’s first return to his former club, whom he won promotion with, being crowned the National League champions based on points-per-game earlier this year, guiding the Bluebirds back to the EFL after a 48-year absence.
He departed in favour of a move to newly relegated Bolton Wanderers, who were set to play in the fourth tier of English football for the first time since the 1987/88 season.
It would seem that his move has still left a bitter taste in some of the mouths of Barrow fans, and they are planning on welcoming back to Holker Street, in unwanted fashion.
It is understood a small group of supporters plan to demonstrate against the former Bluebirds Head Coach upon his arrival to the ground, although Evatt was quick to play down the seriousness of the situation by admitting he holds no ill-feeling towards his one-time employers or their followers.
“Simon Marland, our secretary, received an email from Barrow police that they’ve had intelligence that certain members of Barrow’s support will be there as a ‘welcoming party’ for me before the game,” Evatt told the Manchester Evening News.
“I don’t know what’s happening but the police are aware of it.
“It’s just disappointing because we shared so many good things together, we did so many good things but unfortunately things in football don’t last forever.
“I’ve taken a fantastic job with a fantastic opportunity and it was a decision that was hard to make, but I made that decision and Barrow were handsomely rewarded, not only from promotion but also financially, so we should be pleased for each other and we move on. It’s that simple.
“I haven’t got a bad word to say about Barrow’s support, Barrow’s board, Barrow’s players, Barrow’s staff – it was just my own personal decision for my own career.”
— Barrow AFC (@BarrowAFC) October 19, 2020
Bolton and Barrow have met just once previously – in round three of the FA Cup back in January 1991.
11,475 were at Burnden Park that afternoon to witness a 1-0 Wanderers victory.
Evatt said on being emotional after the 2-1 defeat at home to Oldham on Saturday with his post-match press conference: What you see with me is what you get. There isn’t an agenda, there isn’t any misleadingness, but I always speak the truth and I speak from my heart and I feel like that way, I can engage with supporters but also engage with you guys and you know how I’m feeling and you’ll know that I’ll never tell lies. I will always speak the truth and what I feel and that’s the best way to be as a person in my opinion.
Evatt has his say on the game he is expecting against his former side, now managed by former Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Dunn, who is currently in self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus. “Barrow away is a difficult game for any away team and firsthand I know this because the conditions can be difficult, it’s normally blowing a gale – hopefully they’ve turned the wind machines off! – but it’s a tough place to go.
“Not only that, you add the emotion of what’s happened with me there and me leaving in the summer and the players that are left there and the players that I’ve took on here, there’s no two ways about it, it’s going to be a really difficult game. But I have firm belief that we can beat any team in this league provided that we play the way I want us to play and play the way on what I’ve seen in training and Tuesday night is no different.”
Fans reacted after reading that Bolton boss Ian Evatt has been left hurt as he’s warned by police of potential fan trouble at Barrow on Tuesday…
You can have him back!
— David Peak (@peakydav) October 19, 2020
Mate of mine who’s a barrow fan seemed to think the morons in their fan base were planning something. 😂
— John 🏴☠️✌🏻 (@John_H_1996) October 19, 2020
Good to see all 12 of them are still obsessed
— Ben (@benc1if7) October 19, 2020
As a barrow fan I feel the exact same way towards Evatt banter aside what he did for us was something i would have never expected in terms of Barrow being promoted i feel already we have lost a lot of hope and a part of the club feels empty without him but good luck tonight 👏
— Connor Gaskin (@gaskin_connor) October 20, 2020
I’m sure he’s got more important things/people to worry about than a few spotty herberts dangling a bed sheet of a bridge on the Dalton bypass.
— David Ingham (@bafc_lancaster) October 19, 2020
If I was allowed I’d be there shaking his hand and thanking him for what he did for us
— Stuart Akister (@StuartAkister) October 19, 2020
Crap defensive tactics, wish that was the only problem, crap midfield and forward line, is more of a concern to me
— its me (@WizzyBill8) October 19, 2020
Any chance of the Police also advising Ian that Ronan Darcy should be playing and it’s not against the law to play a direct ball every now and again? 👮♂️ ⚽️
— Dave Stebbs (@StebsD) October 19, 2020
How sad is that. With our start they should think themselves lucky.
— Ian Firth (@WandererSmurf) October 19, 2020
I’m sure we’ll gift them 3 easy points to soften the blow
— SiD (@big_si_d) October 19, 2020