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New era but same old story for Bolton Wanderers FC

March 14, 2016 | Financial Saviour

While the problems off the field look to be easing for Bolton Wanderers with a much-needed takeover of the club completed last Thursday, their on-field fortunes continue to be of grave concern after another defeat at the weekend.

After a rollercoaster few months in which Bolton were hit with a winding-up petition from HMRC over unpaid taxes and their quest to find a new owner with majority shareholder Eddie Davies looking to sell his stake in the club, it came as a huge relief to all connected with the club when the Sports Shield consortium finally completed the deal last week.

Without the takeover, the club, who were finishing as high as sixth in the Premier League just over ten years ago, could have fallen into administration and also faced the possibility of liquidation.


New Bolton chief executive Dean Holdsworth was at Saturday’s game as Bolton lost 2-1 at home to Preston. Image from

Now, however, leader of the Sports Shield group, Dean Holdsworth, has confirmed that the unpaid tax bill totalling £2.2m has been paid in full and further updates will become clear when the club returns to court on March 21st. Originally, the case was adjourned at the High Court last Monday in order to allow the group more time to complete the deal.

Holdsworth, who has now joined the club’s board of directors as chief executive, is an ex-Bolton player himself: spending six seasons at the club between 1997 and 2003, playing a crucial part in the side that won promotion to the Premier League in 2001.

A considerably successful 11 seasons followed, with the club consistently challenging the league’s top seven positions, reaching the League Cup final, and even venturing into Europe competition where they gained memorable results against current European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.

Davies vs BM

Kevin Davies struck late in 2007 to earn Bolton a famous 2-2 at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich. Image from

But relegation in 2012 hit Bolton hard – Owen Coyle was sacked after an inconsistent start to life in the Championship and, despite missing out on the play-offs on the final day of the season, Coyle’s replacement Dougie Freedman only managed a 14th-placed finish in his first and only full season in charge.

Neil Lennon was brought in and saved the club from relegation, but Bolton’s poor form towards the end of last season was carried through to the current campaign where they managed just one win from their opening 15 fixtures.

There have been signs of hope over the last couple of months of a miraculous turnaround and survival, but Saturday’s defeat at home to local rivals Preston North End leaves the club 11 points adrift of safety with now just nine games to play.

Zach Clough

Bolton may be forced to cash-in on players like Zach Clough or risk their most talented youngsters leaving for free. Image from

It appears that the confirmation of a new era under the Sports Shield group did not give the team the imminent boost that was desired and perhaps expected by many Bolton supporters, and time is now running out for the team to get the necessary points on the board to ensure Championship football again next season.

Relegation to League One may see the departure of many of their brightest young players if offered the opportunity to play at a higher level. However, if Bolton do need the money to pay off a small amount of the debt owed to Eddie Davies, these transfers may be made out of necessity more than anything else.

For any questions relating to liquidation, administration or corporate turnaround, please get in touch with Financial Saviour today and our experienced team of insolvency practitioners will do all that they can to help.

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