Anderson Defends Dealings and Issues Bolton Farewell

  • March 06, 2019 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/8cecc

Ken Anderson believes he has had 'no alternative' in the way he has conducted business at Bolton Wanderers, whilst suggesting a takeover deal is close to completion.

Anderson, who this weekend marks three years in charge at the University of Bolton Stadium, has come under intense criticism from supporters in recent weeks after a number of financial charges against the club went unpaid - including the wages of players and staff for the month of February.

As part of a statement in which many believe serves as a defence and potential farewell, Anderson has rejected claims that he is due to make a heavy profit from a sale of the club before closing with a message in which he pleads with supporters to give their backing to new owners while the fight to retain Championship status continues.

"A great deal has and no doubt and will continue to be written and said about my ownership and time at the club, so I thought it would be a good time to look back and also clarify some of the misapprehensions," Anderson told bwfc.co.uk.

"When l was first asked to assist, the club was on the brink of going into administration or even worse liquidation and my involvement was to be short term to try to arrange some investment or short term bridging finance.

"Prior to my involvement, to the best of my knowledge and belief, Trevor Birch had already sold off the training ground at Euxton to Wigan Athletic, the North Stand offices and several of the car parks to Michael James (Prescott Business Parks) for circa £12m. At the same time, a charge over the hotel was also given to Michael James Holdings together with a first charge over part of the training ground to Brett Warburton creating nearly £9m of new secured debt. Unfortunately, all these funds totalling circa £21m had been utilised before my involvement.

"Dean Holdsworth and his associate Michael Collins had taken out a £5m loan from BluMarble through Sportshield with debentures and also gave charges effectively over everything the club and its associated businesses still owned. Although it has to be said that the club only actually received £4m of the £5m. Subsequent events and what happened to both of them and the loan have already been well publicised.

"It was the legacy of the above debts and loans, as well as some non-commercial and dubious agreements with numerous agents, suppliers, caterers, professionals and other contractors as well as a rates burden of at least treble what it should have been, based on what the other local football clubs and hotels have paid and which did not make any commercial sense.

"I accept that the council is not responsible for the legislation and have been very supportive, but all of this has effectively financially hampered the club during the entire time l have been involved. The amounts involved have cost the club several millions of pounds to date.

"During my ownership we have done our best to substantially reduce costs and increase revenues and now have one of the lowest debts and operating costs in the Championship. When you consider that the debts when I first arrived were close to a quarter of a billion pounds it just goes to show how much has been achieved. Indeed, I am pleased to say that the 2018 accounts will show a small profit, which I understand is the first time this has happened since the 2006 accounts were published.

"However, despite all of this good work, the club is still not self-sufficient and costs continue to exceed income, which has made operating the club and hotel extremely difficult. Unfortunately, every month continues to be a financial challenge. I fully appreciate how frustrating this is for all the staff at the club and hotel and of course the supporters, but I can assure you that I have done my utmost to try and address the ongoing problem by looking for new investment.

"For the record, the sale price being quoted is very wide of the mark. Indeed, the proposals that I have had would effectively recoup what I paid for my shares, so no huge profit as is constantly stated in the media and social media.

"Whilst, l am the first to admit that the way l have had to operate the club and its associated businesses is far from perfect and open to criticism,  l do believe that there was little or no alternative if the club was to survive both on and off the field until any new investment could be sourced. I can assure you that it had nothing to do with brinksmanship, it was simply to help the club to survive."

Anderson then went on to ask followers of the club to give their full support to new owners, with Wanderers potentially having just 11 games left in the second tier.

"I sincerely hope that all of these people [naysayers] will get behind the new owners by supporting them and giving them the time to settle in and deal with everything and hopefully retain Championship status."

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