Bolton saved as Football Ventures completes takeover
The League One club faced expulsion from the EFL.
A deal to take over Bolton has been completed, with the club’s administrators announcing the crisis club’s sale to Football Ventures (Whites) Limited.
Bolton were on the verge of liquidation after the English Football League gave administrator Paul Appleton 14 days to either sell the Sky Bet League One club or prove they can be funded for the rest of the season.
In a statement, Appleton 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.”
Appleton revealed on Monday there was no money left to fund the club after a takeover bid by the Football Ventures consortium had stalled.
Talks continued on Tuesday and there was optimism Bolton would meet the 5pm deadline to announce a deal had been approved, but progress came too late to stop the EFL enforcing a 14-day notice to withdraw the club’s membership.
Appleton added: “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.”
The sticking point during talks was understood to be a dispute between the club’s most recent owner Ken Anderson and their biggest creditor, the family trust set up by Bolton businessman and benefactor Eddie Davies before his death last year.
And Appleton delivered a scathing verdict on Anderson, while praising the Trust.
“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 are able to complete the deal today.
“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.
“Sadly, Mr Anderson has 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.”
It is a testament to their unflinching determination to do what was best for Bolton that we are able to complete the deal today.
- Paul Appleton on Football Ventures
Appleton conceded there will be difficult times ahead as Bolton begin the recovery process, but he is relishing what he described as “a fresh start.”
He added: “I would especially like to thank both my team and my lawyers, who worked around the clock to find solutions to problems which certainly threatened to derail the whole process.
“I have every sympathy for the staff, players and fans, who have been forced to stand by while their club was taken to the brink. I am delighted their loyalty, dedication and patience have finally been rewarded.
“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.
“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.”
In a statement, Football Ventures said: “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.
“Now we are excited to begin restoring this magnificent football club to its rightful position, securing its future for the fans, the loyal club staff and the players.”
Football Ventures said it was now “imperative” to begin the process of appointing a new manager. Phil Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin stepped down from their roles last week.
The statement continued: “We understand Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin’s decision to leave the club.
“They have behaved impeccably and loyally, and we wish them both nothing but the best for whatever the future may hold.
“It is now imperative that we commence the process of appointing a manager and strengthening the team with the right players to take the club forward.”
The EFL’s executive chair, Debbie Jevans, said in a statement: “On behalf of the EFL Board, I am pleased that the administrators appointed in respect of Bolton Wanderers Football Club have today concluded the transfer of assets with Football Ventures to place the club under new ownership and out of administration.
“Having worked closely with the administrators since their appointment in May, the EFL has been focused on working through this difficult and complex period of uncertainty with all parties.
“Following the completion of the sale, the club is no longer in administration and the notice of withdrawal issued as per the EFL’s insolvency policy has been cancelled.”