Fans’ group calls for takeover progress after Bolton reprieve

  • Wed,20 Mar 2019 06:22:25 PM

A Bolton fans’ group has warned the club’s existence still hangs in the balance after they fended off a winding-up order in the High Court.

Bolton won a reprieve on Wednesday when a High Court hearing in London was adjourned until April 3 to allow the club to settle their debts.

The Sky Bet Championship outfit were issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs over an unpaid tax bill for £1.2million.

Bolton have avoided a 12-point deduction this season
Bolton have avoided a 12-point deduction this season (David Davies/PA)

Bolton told the hearing they were in the process of selling the club to a mystery buyer and have effectively been given a fortnight to complete the deal.

A Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ Trust (BWFCST) statement read: “The next two weeks are now crucial to the very existence of BWFC.

“As our recent plea to the owner and all interested stakeholders, we again urge all parties to work towards securing a more stable and sustainable future for our beloved club.”

 

Bolton still face the threat of liquidation or administration, but the adjournment means they have avoided a 12-point deduction this season.

BWFCST said:  “One point of note is that the two-week adjournment now takes us past the deadline of 5.00pm on Thurs 28 March for insolvency event-related points deductions to be applied this season.

“The BWFCST is relieved that Judge Jones has (on Wednesday) decided to adjourn the HMRC winding-up petition until 3rd April.

“Judge Jones must have been satisfied regarding the credibility and substance of the new bidder and we find some comfort in that.”

Bolton fans have been protesting against majority stakeholder Ken Anderson
Bolton fans have been protesting against majority stakeholder Ken Anderson (Martin Rickett/PA)

The supporters’ trust also noted that HM Revenue & Customs were not the only creditor named on the winding-up petition.

“The news that several other parties have been added to the petition is however, of further concern,” BWFCST added.

One of the creditors on the petition, sports kit manufacturer Macron, is understood to be owed nearly £200,000 by the club.

Barrister Hilary Stonefrost, representing Bolton, told the court the club have a potential buyer lined up who “already owns a major stake in a high-level football club”.

Bolton hope to complete the sale of the club to a mystery buyer
Bolton hope to complete the sale of the club to a mystery buyer (Clint Hughes/PA)

Bolton said in a statement: “We are pleased to get the adjournment today, which will allow the club to make progress with the interested party.

“No further comments will be made on the matter at this moment in time.”

Bolton have now defended a winding-up petition due to unpaid tax and VAT for a sixth time in 16 months.

They won a similar stay of execution in the High Court three years ago to allow previous owner Sports Shield BWFC to complete a last-minute takeover.

Bolton fans blame chairman Ken Anderson for the club's financial struggles
Bolton fans blame chairman Ken Anderson for the club’s financial struggles (Martin Rickett/PA)

Current owner Ken Anderson bought a stake in the club during that buy-out and took majority control in 2017 after Sports Shield went into liquidation.

Bolton confirmed on Tuesday night that another potential buyer had pulled out of talks, but that there were still several other interested parties.

Anderson, who owns 94.5 per cent of the club’s shares, has increasingly struggled to finance the running costs.

 

The players were paid their February salaries late and the training ground was closed for a day earlier this month, while there was doubt over a recent game against Millwall going ahead due to concerns over policing costs.

Bolton also face further legal action from League Two side Forest Green, who have confirmed to Press Association Sport that they have started proceedings over the failed transfer of striker Christian Doidge.

Wanderers are second from bottom in the Championship, while Aldershot were the last English Football League club to go into administration in 2013.

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