Since this website first broke the news of a potential takeover of the club, by a consortium headed by none other than Dean Holdsworth, there has been plenty of commotion on social media and general impatience from Bolton fans. People have been demanding daily updates and criticising the club for staying silent on the matter.
This anxiety is understandable at a time when the club sits in the doldrums of the Championship, with very little to smile about or look forward to as we progress through another turgid campaign. Indeed, in our current dire situation, any news is good news, and we're right to get excited about the potential of a future where we might actually be able to sign a half decent player on a permanent contract.
It was a fantastic scoop for this website and proof that the oft-questioned "inside sources" are credible and real. But we don't really know many of the details about the proposed deal; how well progressed negotiations are, when the deal is expected to complete, or what the new ownership and management structures looks like. I know from experience that these things take time to thrash out, formalise and sign.
Whilst this takes course, we should be grateful that we have a conscientious owner who is a huge fan of the club and has its future health in his heart. I'm sure there have been plenty of offers for the club that would have provided Eddie Davies with the marginal return he is expecting from his investment. But he knows that it is not in the best interests of the club (and therefore its fans) to sell out to the first foreign loony that comes waving his chequebook around the place. We need to do our due diligence on any potential buyers, including this new consortium, and this is what will no doubt be being discussed behind the scenes at the moment:
- Where is their money coming from and who are the real decision makers?
- How deep are their pockets?
- What are their short, medium and long-term plans for the club?
Whilst these discussions are ongoing, we should trust the club's judgement in keeping quiet on this matter. The first rule of corporate acquisitions is to protect the confidentiality of the deal - without confidentiality, any negotiations are pointless and the deal falls apart. And as is the case with any acquisition, whilst the talks take place behind the scenes, the show must go on.
We understand that Phil Gartside is in a poor state of health and whatever your opinion of the guy, he also loves the club as much as any of us, so we wish him a speedy recovery. In his absence, the club has announced that Trevor Birch has been appointed "to act on behalf of the club and owner with immediate effect". Birch is an experienced fellow, having worked at a number of high profile clubs in the football league, and club director Brett Warburton described him as "a football man who has great experience in dealing with clubs in difficult financial situations".
However, whilst I don't doubt his credentials, his previous football experience has been in extremely dire circumstances, having advised the likes of Leeds through preparation for, and life after, Administration. When those rumours about our beloved club facing the prospect of Administration were floating around following this Daily Mail article (that was conveniently published 24 hours before the relegation scrap with Bristol), I was very sceptical, struggling to believe that we had reached the stage where we could no longer meet payments as they fell due. But the appointment of insolvency specialist Birch, coupled with the embarrassing revelation that the loan deal for Wolves' Rajiv van la Parra broke down for purely financial reasons, suggests the club really is counting the pennies day by day and the short term future of the club is in serious doubt.
The situation the club finds itself in is down to a number of reasons, including low revenue generation from fans, poor investment and management decisions, and a healthy dose of bad luck. All we can do now is be patient, get behind the lads, and pray that a resolution is found that takes us into the future in better shape.