The first thing that came to just about everyone's mind when reading about the massive investment that Bolton Wanderers have just announced is the money. For years we've heard about how the club was more than £100 million in debt and how an extended stay outside the top flight would mean certain administration and doom. Well, just where is Bolton Wanderers Football Club getting the money drop a healthy part of £100 million on facilities and a school just outside the Reebok Stadium.
In truth, the club itself is spending no money. Instead, it's Burnden Leisure PLC, the company that holds Bolton Wanderers and the Reebok Stadium, among other things, that is spending the cold, hard cash. Theoretically then, the investment into the area surrounding the Reebok should not affect Bolton's spending (or lack thereof in recent years) on the pitch. The Bolton News laid out what these investments will make way for:
- An upgraded and reconfigured arena building for full-time sports academy use, with accommodation for up to 500 students.
- The construction of a new 105 metre sports building linked to Bolton Arena, which would house sports halls, tennis courts, changing facilities, administration, indoor football pitch and viewing lounge.
- Upgrades to sports facilities at Bolton Arena, including improvements to the running track, an artificial match pitch, and new floodlit five-a-side pitches.
- A new five-storey, 5,000sq m education building to the south of Burnden Way, which could house a free school and sports academy.
- Restructuring and expansion of the Reebok Stadium's west stand to provide up to 3,000 sq m of accommodation, with new hospitality areas and administration facilities.
- Up to 29,000 sq m of commercial and office accommodation in a "grand arc" of seven-storey buildings on land next to the Reebok's north stand.
What the investment does show is a willingness for Burnden Leisure to spend some money if the results show promise. In this case, it exemplifies Bolton Wanderers as being a forward-thinking club. The aforementioned school, for example, will be the first in England run by a club that is not in the Premier League. There are also plans in the works for investment in Bolton's Lostock academy that aim to continue bringing through what appears to be a golden generation of young Trotters.
It still remains to be seen how or if this news will translate to Bolton Wanderers on the field and in the January transfer window. Rumors are that Dougie Freedman will be allowed to bring some players in (with a bit of money to spend) to tailor his team despite Bolton's already large squad.
Bolton's all time record transfer fee was the £8.2 million that the club paid Toulouse for Johan Elmander in 2008. Blackburn Rovers dropped about the same amount of money for the unproven-outside-of-League-One Scottish forward, Jordan Rhodes. We certainly don't expect Bolton Wanderers to break their transfer record but it would be nice for Dougie to have more than the paltry £1.7 million that Coyle was allowed last summer. Bolton brought in seven players with that sum.