Bolton Wanderers Takeover Saga Ends in Success

  • March 10, 2016 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton Wanderers have new owners, after Sports Shield and Inner Circle concluded a deal to take control of the club from majority shareholder Eddie Davies.

The Sports Shield Consortium, headed by former Bolton forward Dean Holdsworth, and Inner Circle, owned by ex-football agent Ken Anderson, have taken over the 94.5% share from Davies' Burnden Leisure. The remaining shares remain under ownership from individual shareholders.

Holdsworth, who has fronted the takeover bid since last summer, is expected to be named chief executive at Macron Stadium, while Anderson is set to be named chairman, with both playing a leading role on a new-look board.

Bruce Gordon, who was previously named as a major investor, opted to withdraw his backing last week, ensuring Anderson's Inner Circle group were required to make up the shortfall before Football League approval was, and now has been, granted.

Wanderers must now submit the previous year's accounts to Football League authories, after which a transfer embargo placed upon the club is expected to be lifted. However, under terms agreed, the League will keep tabs on financial matters until the summer of 2018, with every incoming deal having to be assessed before completion.

In a statement, posted on the club's official website, Holdsworth expressed his delight at completing the long-winded takeover saga, saying: "Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Sports Shield Investments are delighted to announce the completion and sale of the club from Eddie Davies.

"On behalf of Sports Shield I would like to thank Mr Davies for his dedication and contribution to Bolton Wanderers over many years. We are of course pleased that Eddie will remain as honorary club president of Bolton Wanderers.

"We would also like to thank the staff, fans and club sponsors for their continued support during what has been an incredibly difficult period for all involved. Securing the club's future was of paramount importance. This is a great day for Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Sports Shield.

"We very much hope that we can build on the continued support of a club steeped in history for many years to come.

"We will not give up the fight of maintaining our Sky Bet Championship status. We believe we have a group of excellent players to work with and we hope that today's news will give everyone a lift, both on and off the pitch.

"The performance and atmosphere against Ipswich Town was excellent and we hope that the fans will join us for an important game at the weekend against our local rivals Preston North End.

"Up the Trotters!"

At the same time, an additional statement from Davies, who will be named honorary president of Bolton, read: "It has been an honour to have initially been on the board of directors and then majority shareholder of the club I have supported all of my life.

"From 11 years in the top flight and seeing us topple some of the Premier League's greatest teams down the years, to two successful UEFA Cup campaigns, my memories will last a lifetime. Together we have had some great experiences and we should embrace our wonderful history.

"Recently, we have gone through what has been a challenging period both on and off the field, but we now hope that we can once again move our great football club forward. I of course wish Dean Holdsworth, Ken Anderson and the Sports Shield consortium all the very best and thank the supporters for their loyalty and continued backing of the club."

Completion of the takeover doesn't spell the end of Wanderers' High Court battle. They are due to return to the capital on March 21, where HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will continue in their fight to liquidate the club.

However, funds are now understood to be in place to settle an outstanding VAT and PAYE bill of over £3million, which would ultimately bring an end to HMRC's case and allow Bolton to continue daily operations.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
View Full Standings >>


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