August 29 – Twenty-four hours after the demise of Bury, the first English club in 27 years to go out of business, fellow third-tier Bolton Wanderers, one of the most iconic names in the domestic game with a long and illustrious history, have avoided a similar fate by being sold at the 11th hour.
Football Ventures (Whites) Limited have bought the club – in administration for several months – after they were given two weeks to find a new owner or, like Bury, be thrown out of the league.
The sale price for the club was initially pitched at £25 million by owner Ken Anderson. Having originally agreed a deal with former Watford owner Laurence Bassini (who then failed to come top with the cash), the frontrunners to buy the club became the Football Ventures consortium. Bassini took out a court injunction to prevent the deal going through and suddenly Bolton’s future became complicated again. With Bassini eventually removed from the picture, problems then reportedly arose over indemnities by the sellers against future personal legal action. These were eventually resolved though the final sales price has not been released.
“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,” said a statement from the administrators.
“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.”
Bolton, four times FA Cup winners, were a Premier League club just seven years ago and played in the UEFA Cup as recently as 2008.
They took part in the first FA Cup final to be staged at Wembley in 1923, beating West Ham United 2-0 in a match which became known as the “White Horse final” when crowds who had surged onto the pitch were dispersed by a policeman on a white horse.
Founder members of the Football League in 1888, Bolton started the season with a 12-point deduction and manager Phil Parkinson and his assistant Steve Parkin resigned last week.
The club have taken just one point from their first four games and already face relegation but at least they have survived – unlike near-neighbours Bury.
“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,” said Football Ventures (Whites) in a statement.
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