Business Standard

Bolton saved from following Bury into the abyss


AFP London
Historic football club Bolton, one of the founders of the English Football League, avoided the fate of their historic rivals Bury from being expelled from the league when a takeover was finally approved on Wednesday.
Bolton had been under threat of suffering the same fate as fellow third tier side Bury, who on Tuesday had become the first team to be expelled from the English Football League in over two decades.
However, the four-time FA Cup winners staved off the imminent threat of extinction when long-time suitors Football Ventures (Whites) Limited succeeded in buying the club that had been in administration since May.
Bolton had been given a stay of execution late on Tuesday to find a buyer in 14 days or face expulsion as well.
There was relief all-round in the north-west town that was once integral to textile industry but has fallen on hard times -- the football club remaining as a focal point of the community and who until 2012 had enjoyed 11 unbroken years in the Premier League.
"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," said the club's joint administrator Paul Appleton.
Appleton praised the part played by the family trust set up by the late Eddie Davies -- who owned the club from 2003-16, writing off GBP 175 million (USD 214 million) in loans and interest.
Four days before his death in September last year, he also gave the club GBP 5 million to save it from administration.
Appleton, though, did not mince his words with regard to 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 due to a dispute with 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," sad Appleton.
"This says much about their determination not to allow Eddie's beloved Bolton Wanderers to suffer any longer at the hands of Ken Anderson."

- 'Destroyed lives' -


Questions will be posed despite Bolton being saved of the English Football League and how stringent is their 'fit and proper person test' for directors and owners of their football clubs.
For Bury, though, the answers to those questions are irrelevant as there is no way back despite reports an international consortium had GBP 7 million in a bank ready to buy the club.
The once-proud club that only a few months ago were celebrating promotion to the third tier suffered a further blow Wednesday when they were kicked out of the FA Cup, a competition they won twice.
The club from northwest England are the first to be expelled from the league -- comprising all the divisions below the top-tier Premier League -- since Maidstone United in 1992.
Bury's departure ended over 100 years of participation -- they never returned to the top tier once they were relegated in 1929 -- and produced players like former Manchester City and England great Colin Bell.
Ironically Bury, who become the first FA Cup winners to be ousted from the league, and Bolton were due to face each other in a televised live match on Sunday week.
The remaining 23 teams in the third tier will complete the season and only three instead of four teams will be relegated.
The writing had been on the wall for Bury on Tuesday after a rollercoaster of a day for fans and employees alike, when C&N Sporting Risk withdrew their takeover bid offer to Steve Dale, who had bought the club last December for a single pound. Bury captain Neil Danns told talkSPORT radio that Dale had "destroyed lives".
"This should never have happened," said the 36-year-old Guyana international. "If you thought you could not move this club forward in a positive way you should never have taken over because you've literally destroyed lives, because that's what this football club meant to so many fans.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Aug 29 2019 | 2:40 PM IST

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