Bolton Wanderers Football Club has avoided liquidation with a last-minute rescue by Football Ventures (Whites) Limited, which agreed a deal to buy the club and an associated hotel complex
The club went into administration in May, after being relegated from the Championship. In early July, the consortium known as Football Ventures first expressed interest in buying the club and the adjacent hotel complex, but months of wrangling nearly thwarted the deal.
In a statement on the Club’s website, new owners, Football Ventures (Whites), said: ‘We are privileged to announce that negotiations to transfer the ownership of Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Whites Hotel are over and we have formally completed.
‘Throughout this lengthy and complicated process, we have remained focused on completion of the deal and nothing else.
‘At times it has been difficult to keep our counsel but we took a decision to remain on the sidelines even when further damage was being inflicted by delays outside of our control.
‘Our thoughts were always with the club staff and supporters and we worked tirelessly behind the scenes to find an agreement and prevent even more stress and uncertainty for those who have suffered far too much over the past months.’
Joint administrator, Paul Appleton of David Rubin & Partners, said: ‘This has been one of the most complicated administrations I've been involved with but I'm delighted to say we have finally reached a satisfactory conclusion with the sale to Football Ventures.
‘At times, some of the hurdles appeared insurmountable and the frustration felt has been immense, not least by the supporters who have had to endure too many weeks of uncertainty.
‘I would like to pay particular tribute to the Eddie Davies Trust and their legal team who, throughout this whole process, have been willing to do everything in their power to ensure Eddie's incredible legacy was maintained and not sullied.
‘Even at the 11th hour when other parties were content to renege on their agreements, the Trust realised the very existence of Bolton Wanderers was at stake and were willing to find a compromise to save the club. It is a testament to their unflinching determination to do what was best for Bolton that we were able to complete the deal.
‘The Trust were forced to constantly compromise their position in the face of circumstances and demands which were wholly unreasonable. This says much about their determination not to allow Eddie's beloved Bolton Wanderers to suffer any longer at the hands of Ken Anderson.’
Anderson was owner of the club since 2016 and was a secured creditor, who Appleton said ‘used his position as a secured creditor to hamper and frustrate any deal that did not benefit him or suit his purposes. Thankfully, with the assistance of the Trust and others, we were able to overcome this obstacle’.
Bolton Wanderers is now in League One, a long way from its days in the Premier League in the 2011/12 season. The club is scheduled to play Gillingham away this Saturday in League One.
‘Of course, there will be difficult times ahead while the club gets back on its feet but there are too many people with Bolton close to their hearts for it not to be successful once more,’ Appleton added. ‘Now there can be a fresh start with owners who, I believe, will run the club for the good of the supporters and the community as a whole. For everything the fans have had to endure, they deserve nothing less.’