Stay of execution for Bolton in High Court drama

20 March 2019

Bolton petition
Photo: Getty Images Bolton Wanderers given a stay of execution after High Court grant short adjournment until April 3. Apparently potential buyer who is willing to clear their debts.

High Court give Bolton until 3 April to clear debts after new buyer identified.

Club had faced winding up order over £1.2 million HMRC debt.

New buyer understood to be unconnected to previous linked parties but with existing interest in another ‘high level’ club.

James Corbett corbett@offthepitch.com

Bolton Wanderers have been granted a reprieve by the High Court after saying new buyers have been lined up to rescue the club.

The troubled Championship team faced a winding up order this morning, which may have forced the club into liquidation or financial administration. The case was brought by HMRC, who are owed £1.2 million by the club.

However, the judge adjourned their case until 3 April after the club provided information about a new bidder for the club, although their identity was not provided in open court. They said that the prospective buyer was prepared to clear the club’s outstanding debts. 

The current chairman, Ken Anderson, now has a fortnight to arrange a deal and thus avoid administration and a twelve point deduction which would all but confirm the club’s relegation to League One. Bolton are currently 8 points adrift of safety with 8 games to play. 

Owner has been involved in a number of disputes

Anderson was not in court today, but was represented by his advisor Paul Aldridge. 

However, should the club fail to reach a deal and enter administration after 28 March such a penalty would be carried over to the following season. 

Bolton have been stricken by chaos and infighting all season. Wage bills have been paid late and Anderson has been involved in a number of disputes with other clubs, supporters and the media. 

A ‘deal in principle’ with the Football Ventures consortium led by investment fund manager Parminder Basran collapsed earlier this week.

BBC reported that the potential buyer already has a major stake in ‘a high level football club.’

The new unnamed buyer is understood to be a previously unmentioned name and to have no connection to either the Football Ventures consortium or the former Manchester United and Chelsea CEO, Peter Kenyon, who has also been linked with a move for the Trotters. The BBC reported that the potential buyer already has a major stake in ‘a high level football club.’

Today in court the club received supporting testimony from the sportswear company Macron, who are one of the club’s creditors, and the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust (BWFCST).

BWFCST appealed to the court to show “tolerance and understanding in preserving the existence of our club for the benefit of the supporters, the club employees and the greater Bolton community.” Bolton are founder members of the Football League and have been in existence for 145 years.

The Supporters Trust added that they had themselves been contacted by “interested parties” and had assisted where possible in facilitating a deal.