Bolton Wanderers, once a club fighting for European football in the Premier League, could be facing administration just a week after their relegation to League One.
The Trotters, who lost to Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Cup Round of 16 in 2008, could start next season on -12 points if they do go into administration.
Ken Anderson bought the club from former owner Eddie Davies – who had pumped £185m of his own money into the club during their time in the Premier League – in March 2016, but the club have been involved in plenty of financial difficulties since then.
The players have striked over unpaid wages, the club had a row with Forest Green over the collapsed transfer of striker Christian Doidge and they narrowly avoided a winding-up order in September 2018. But, with Anderson receiving an eight year disqualification from being a company director after his eight of his companies went bust in 2005, is it all that surprising?
Former Watford owner Laurence Bassini had been in talks with Bolton in an attempt to save the club, but with Bassini going bankrupt in 2007 and 2014, himself, there were understandably some concerns when it looked like he could be on the brink of owning the club.
However, it now looks like the Stanmore-based businessman’s bid for the club looks set to collapse, with Bassini unable to provide the funds needed to save the club on multiple occasions. And, if the takeover does collapse – which is looking ever the more likely – the club will go into administration.
A disastrous time for Wanderers could be getting even worse and after their demotion from the Championship on April 19th, the club could be set for back-to-back relegations and spend next season in League Two, which would look all the more likely if they are punished with that 12 point deduction.
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson’s future at the club is still uncertain and the 51-year-old has said that he’s waiting until the resolution of these issues before he commits his future to the club. After refusing to play against Brentford after their wages weren’t paid, the players that will be at the University of Bolton stadium next campaign is also not known.
Sammy Ameobi has reportedly agreed a deal with a Chinese Super League club after not being involved in the final game of the season, key man Josh Vela leaving the club upon the expiry of his contract in the summer, and the expiry of multiple loan players, there looks to be a huge rebuild needed at the North West club.
The fans, who have continued to support their club throughout these different issues, have been asked to contribute to the Supporters’ Trust’s ‘Fighting Fund’ to help cover the costs for the potential administration. More than £4,000 has already been donated to the fund, and a statement released by the trust read: “This will cover legal costs, contribute to any shortfalls in funding an administration and to cover costs that will undoubtedly be incurred in making representation to the EFL in the event that they look to impose any unfair penalties as a result of recent events.”
You have to question the role of the EFL in this situation, with them letting a businessman with Ken Anderson’s history take over the club. And, with Bassini having a past just as bad as Anderson’s, it could be a blessing in disguise that the four-time FA Cup winners Bolton build themselves back up from the bottom, without either of them at the club.