Bolton Wanderers avoid winding-up order until February
Championship club’s stadium, players and training ground are all up for sale
Bolton Wanderers Macron Stadium is up for sale. Photograph: PA
Bolton Wanderers have avoided moves in the high court to have the club wound up. The bottom side in the Championship were given until 22nd February to find an alternative financial solution to their problems.
Bolton struggled to pay their players’ wages in the run-up to Christmas and are struggling with the burden of £183m (€240m) net debt. The hearing against one of the founder members of the Football League was brought over £2.2m (€2.9m) of unpaid VAT and PAYE.
HMRC’s legal team told the registrar Michael Briggs that the “proposed route” for rescuing the club was “speculative to say the least”, and Bolton Wanderers FC Ltd appeared “to be very clearly insolvent”.
But Hilary Stonefrost, representing the club, said commercially-sensitive negotiations were taking place with prospective purchasers and other moves were being made to raise funds.
Putting the club through the insolvency process now would lead to “financial disaster”, added Stonefrost.
The club are hoping to sell a car park at the Macron Stadium, which is next to a retail park, in a deal that could tide it over until the end of the current season.
It is understood that three-to-four parties are in active discussions about taking over from the long-time owner Eddie Davies but, as yet, no one group has stumped up the cash to end the financial turmoil.
Everything is up for sale while Bolton try to balance the books, including players and the club’s training ground and it is understood they are in discussions with both Preston and Wigan regarding the facilities at Euxton.
Trevor Birch, who is advising the board at the club, told the Bolton website: “HMRC takes a very strict approach towards football clubs. Despite the club putting forward a solution, utilising funds generated from its assets that would have enabled repayment of its debt in full over a period of a few months, HMRC refused to agree to an adjournment to give effect to the plan.
“With that in mind, it is pleasing that the high court rejected its wish to liquidate the club and that it has given the club time either to raise funds and or conclude a sale.”