Fresh start for Bolton as they avoid Bury's fate

LONDON • A buyer has been found for stricken Bolton Wanderers, staving off the imminent threat of extinction, the English third-tier football club announced on Wednesday.

The new owner is Football Ventures (Whites) Limited, joint administrator Paul Appleton said in a statement, calling it "one of the most complicated administrations I've been involved".

"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."

The announcement came a day after Bury, another third-tier north-west club with a long and illustrious tradition, were expelled from the Football League after a takeover bid collapsed.

Appleton praised the part played by the family trust set up by the late Eddie Davies, who owned the club from 2003 to 2016, writing off £175 million (S$296.5 million) in loans and interest.

However, he did not mince his words on the most recent owner Ken Anderson's behaviour throughout the takeover process; it is understood he was the cause of the takeover being halted last weekend owing to a dispute with the trust.

Said Appleton: "Sadly, Mr Anderson used his position as a secured creditor to hamper and frustrate any deal that did not benefit him."

The deal comes on the first day of a 14-day period Bolton had been given to find a buyer or come up with money to fund the rest of the season.

They currently sit bottom of the League One table after starting the season with a 12-point deduction for going into administration.

Manager Phil Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin resigned last week and the club, having taken one point from their first four games, already look to be in danger of relegation.

The four-time FA Cup winner and founding member of the Football League have spent 73 seasons in the top flight, including an unbroken 11-year stint in the Premier League which ended only in 2012.

They reached the last 16 of the Uefa Cup, now the Europa League, as recently as 2008 but their troubled financial situation worsened when they were relegated from the Championship at the end of last term.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'Fresh start for Bolton as they avoid Bury's fate'. Print Edition | Subscribe