Gartside: Bolton Debt Is Nothing To Worry About

  • January 12, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL:

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has responded to all those concerned about the club's recent financial results.

Last month, Wanderers posted a record £50.7million loss for the financial year ending June 2013 - taking their net debt to a total of £163.8million. £151.3million of that is owed to Moonshift Investment Ltd, the parent company of owner Eddie Davies, with the remainder in the hands of Barclays Bank and a small number of investors.

In an exclusive interview with BBC Radio Manchester, Gartside was questionned on the debt and issued a strong defence of the club's business operations, saying supporters should not be misled by the substantial figure and that Wanderers are in a much better position than it appears from the outside because of their assets and the ongoing input of Davies.

"I'm sick of saying it," Gartside said. "I've said it to you, I've said it to the fans; This is an amount of money that somebody has lent to us, who is a benefactor. This is not bank debt.

"If some other foreign owner does that sort of thing it never gets a mention. Because it's Eddie Davies and because it's Bolton Wanderers it gets called debt.

"I know, technically, it is debt but it is not in the sense of a bank debt. We owe the bank £8million, an overdraft, and there would be many a club in this country who would be envious of having an £8million overdraft in a football club.

"It doesn't cause me any sleepless nights. It might cause Eddie a few, but it doesn't cause me any.

"Financial Fair Play does have an impact on us because it means that the owners of clubs, like Nottingham Forest or Bolton Wanderers or anybody else, can't actually give the club money in the way that they have done in the past and it does put some restrictions on us."

Under fresh terms that were agreed upon last year, Davies will charge 0% interest on all debt owed directly to him. Any decision to call in the debt must be done with notice of 10 years. Gartside admits Wanderers would be unable to raise such funds from a bank, but says the assets owned by Davies would allow him to recoup his money either by selling them off or by refinancing.

"Where am I going to get it from?" he said. "The reality is, I can't go and borrow it from a bank. I can't give it him back and he knows that as much as I do.

"The reality is, he's invested in this club and you can call it equity. It's not necessarily real debt in that sense, it's equity. Like any other business, to get it back he's got to either sell it or refinance it and the chances of refinancing a football club in a banking world are like zero.

"So in terms of refinancing it, it's a difficult situation. Eddie has given us no indication that that's the situation."

The Bolton chairman was then quizzed on the high level of the debt. In response, Gartside says other clubs would be envious of Wanderers' position, as a small percentage of their debt is owed to a bank and the club own all their own property - including land to develop on, such as the Middlebrook Masterplan, in the future.

"People didn't (raise eyebrows) about other foreign clubs, in the sense that how much money have other people got in real debt, in terms of bank debt," he said. "It's never raised by other clubs.

"This is an individual who's put money into a club, that's his club. When you look around the place, we've got a ground, a training ground, an academy, a hotel, property, we own all the surrounding land around it and we've got development land.

"We own that. We've got no debt on that land at all. These are Eddie's assets.

"We're sat in a stadium that we built 15 years ago that we don't have any borrowings against. We have a hotel next door that we don't. You've got to remember that these are substantial assets."

You can listen to the interview by playing the clip below:

Football betting site Betway


Who is Bolton's 2020/21 Player of the Year?

Sky Bet League Two Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Cheltenham Town 41 72
2 Cambridge United 41 71
3 Bolton Wanderers 41 70
4 Morecambe 41 66
5 Tranmere Rovers 41 65
View Full Standings >>