Bolton Wanderers' financial crisis goes from bad to worse

Nightmare continues

It has been a nightmare season for Bolton Wanderers, both on and off the pitch.

On Saturday afternoon, the team lost their third straight game in the Championship, falling to a 2-0 defeat away at Swansea City in a result which now leaves the team sat seven points adrift of safety in 23rd in the Championship table.

To further compound their misery, Phil Parkinson’s side had both Craig Noone and David Wheater sent off as the Trotters finished the game with nine men, further thinning their options in what is already a slim squad.

Yet that result is the least of Bolton’s worries, with the club in even greater turmoil off the field than they are on it. Financial problems have hit hard, with players and staff being underpaid and paid late throughout the season on a consistent basis, with it difficult to see where the cash problems will cease.

Their woes have further intensified this week, with Monday seeing a new low in their plight down the Football League.

Bolton were forced to close their training ground on Monday morning due to food shortages, meaning the squad’s fringe players that were due in for training were told not to report to Lostock. Medical and support staff were also given the day off due to the shortage of supplies.

Both first-team and academy players are all set to return to the training ground today after fuel was delivered to the club yesterday, as Ken Anderson continues to try in vein to sell the club.

Bolton Wanderers

Looking for new owners

Anderson has taken charge of the task of finding a buyer for the club but has thus far proven unsuccessful as Inner Circle look to sell their shares in the club. He emailed all club employees on Monday to inform them of the current state of affairs.

Manager Parkinson had the following to say on Saturday: “This is probably the hardest position this club has been in.

“But we have got to keep going, it’s all we can do.

“The powers that be are getting close to a resolution, I’d imagine.

“Let’s just hope that this week there is some positive news for the club, going forward.

“Everybody has had enough of the situation, the uncertainty surrounding the club, and hopefully we get some good news to lift us during the week.”

However, that good news they are craving has not been forthcoming as of yet, as negotiations continue over the sale of the club.

No member of staff has been paid for the month February, with payment due on Thursday and chairman Anderson has hinted that could well be the case until the sale of the club is completed.

The Football Ventures (Whites) consortium, fronted by Parminder Basran and Sharron Brittan, have now pulled out of negotiations to buy the club after a week of talks, further stalling the hopes of a takeover.

Hopes were growing over the weekend that a takeover could be completed after the two parties finally agreed a deal in principle after opening talks in December, but hit problems last week.

Anderson has now reportedly opened talks with two other parties with regards to a potential takeover, one of which is said to be based in the north west.

Phil Parkinson Bolton

Can they avoid relegation?

Bolton’s on-field situation looks pretty dire, with it looking highly unlikely that they will be able to fight off a return to League One. They only avoided dropping to the third tier on the final day of last season thanks to Aaron Wilbraham's dramatic winner against Nottingham Forest, sealing a 3-2 win to spark incredible scenes.

It is going to take something just as incredible this time around in the short time they have left to avoid relegation.

Currently sitting 23rd in the table, there are seven points between themselves and Reading in 21st with just 11 games to go in the season. They face back-to-back home fixtures in the next week, taking on fellow strugglers Millwall on Saturday before hosting Sheffield Wednesday at the Macron Stadium a week today.

In the Championship they have lost five of their last six games and have won just one league game in 2019 so far, also scoring just five goals in the Championship since their 2-1 win over Rotherham.

However, at this point Bolton fans are most likely just praying to have a team to watch at all next season, let alone one that is playing in the Championship.

The Bolton Wanderers’ Supporters Trust said on Sunday night that they will looking to provide emergency financial help in order to keep the club afloat during the ongoing negotiations.

It wasn’t so long ago that this was a club competing in Europe and boasting a squad with the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Jay-Jay Okocha and Fernando Hierro to name but a few of their star names.

Now, not only are they fighting relegation from the Championship, but also fighting just to exist come next season. The poor running of Bolton is the latest in a long line of clubs in English football that have been demoralized by financial issues and incompetence in recent times, putting them alongside the likes of Portsmouth, Blackpool, Coventry, Charlton and Newcastle to name but a few.

Bolton

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