Bolton face liquidation after sale collapses

Wanderers face having their league membership withdrawn by the EFL on Tuesday.

By Press Association Published: 26 August 2019 - 12.44pm

Bolton face liquidation later this week unless a deal to buy the club which collapsed over the weekend can be resurrected at the 11th hour.

Wanderers had been given until 5pm on Tuesday by the EFL for a takeover to be completed or face having their league membership revoked.

However, administrator Paul Appleton has revealed a deal collapsed on Saturday morning and despite “tentative dialogue” about salvaging it he said if there is no breakthrough “the process of closing down the company will commence on Wednesday”.

“In just over 24 hours, the club will have its membership of the EFL revoked,” said Appleton in a statement.

“Over and above that, the club is currently not in a position to carry on trading and, as such, the process of closing down the company will commence on Wednesday.

“This will ultimately lead to its liquidation, the expulsion of the club from the EFL and the inevitable loss of over 150 jobs.

“More than that, it will devastate a community for whom the football club is a beacon of hope and expectation.

“I reiterate,unless there is a change of position from any of the parties involved, the process of closing down the club and ultimately placing Bolton Wanderers into liquidation will begin this week.”

Football League founder members in 1888

  • Aston Villa
  • Everton
  • Stoke
  • Blackburn
  • Preston
  • Accrington
  • Bolton
  • Burnley
  • Notts County
  • Derby
  • West Brom
  • Wolves

While Appleton stressed there was no point in apportioning blame it appears the fault of not completing a sale to the Football Ventures consortium is being laid at the door of current owner Ken Anderson.

“At 5pm on Friday August 23, the completion of the sale of the football club and the hotel had been agreed by all parties and undertakings had been issued by all solicitors except those of Ken Anderson,” said Appleton in a statement.

“Devastatingly, on Saturday morning that deal collapsed. At this stage, there seems little point in apportioning blame because that makes no difference to the staff, players, management, supporters and the community who have once more seen their club taken back to the brink.

“My team have spent the last 48 hours working around the clock, striving to get a deal back on track and trying to convince the parties still in conflict that the very fate of Bolton Wanderers depends on them finding a compromise.”

Tuesday’s deadline has been set for an EFL board meeting at which, most probably, the lifting of the suspension of withdrawal will be effected.

Bolton were once a Premier League mainstay under Sam Allardyce, left
Bolton were once a Premier League mainstay under Sam Allardyce, left (Martin Rickett/PA)

That will then activate a 14-day notice period during which Bolton have to prove they have the funds to survive.

The PA news agency understands even potential liquidation the following day would not affect this process.

Even if Wanderers begin liquidating, in theory they can still participate in EFL matches.

Should they not be able to fulfil a fixture – which is entirely likely as the first assets to be liquidated are most usually players – then the matter would be referred to the EFL for an independent inquiry to look at potential punishment.

However, on current evidence the future of the club and its league status will be decided long before any such panel is convened.

Anderson distanced himself from any blame.

“I have had no contact with any of the consortium, the Eddie Davies Trust (set up by the former owner) or Keir Gordon (lawyer for the trust) since the appointment of the administrators and was not involved in any of the discussions or delays over the last few months,” he told Sky Sports News.

“The lengthy delays are entirely due to the discussions and negotiations between the consortium, Trust, Michael James, Administrators and Keir Gordon.”