The update earlier in the week from advisor Trevor Birch was met with widespread joy amongst the Bolton Wanderers fan base, and rightly so. What he said contained various pieces of information, many we already assumed to be the case, in black and white which will allow Bolton to have a future which could even (whisper it) be bright.
The first great thing to see in black and white is that all of Bolton’s assets owned by Burnden Leisure will change hands with a takeover. Now common sense dictated that this would be the case as otherwise the football club lacks any real value to a prospective buyer. Bolton’s big selling point is that it owns all of those assets which are of a Premier League standard.
But it is not unheard of for a selling owner to keep control of the assets and lease them back to the club. I believe that this happened to Portsmouth when things were starting to go south and did not help them in their financial predicament. It would have been something of a disaster for Bolton if Eddie Davies had kept hold of the assets and maybe leased them back to the club. But thankfully that will not be the case and that will leave Bolton in a far stronger position going forward.
The next question asked was about the debt owed to Eddie Davies and what will happen to it. Again it was widely assumed that the debt would be written off in order to make the club a sellable asset, and maybe also out of the goodness of Eddie’s heart but let’s park that debate.
Whatever people may think of Eddie Davies and the debt mountain it does represent a huge write off and is an amount which shows his incredible commitment to Bolton Wanderers. There are of course debates as to the interest charged and whether that was right and how much of it there was. Although it is understandable for fans to be aggrieved about that even when you take those sums into account he has put a vast amount of money into the club.
From that perspective it is also worth noting that any bank or financial institution would have charged interest on their loans. If it was not for Eddie Davies’ investment Bolton would have more than just the small outstanding loan on the hotel to their name. Interest would be charged. That interest would not have stopped being taken out of the club like Eddie’s interest payments stopped. And it is fair to say that a bank or the like would not write off the debt in this way.
It is also interesting and indeed good to see that there seems to be multiple parties discussing a takeover. A few of Birch’s answers heavily insinuate this and even state it to be the case. Hopefully this means that they will be able to agree a deal with a party well suited to taking Bolton forward and not have to sell to someone who maybe can’t take the club in the right direction in the same way.
If the right person does take over the club with the debt written off and all the assets still in the clubs name then Bolton really could start to move in the right direction again. It will potentially leave the club in a very healthy position and allow it to finally at least compete in the Championship.
Personally, though I know many will disagree with this, I am also happy to see him dispelling the idea that a new owner would instantly remove Neil Lennon. As is clear I’m sure in other stuff I have written I still back Lennon as Bolton manager. Even if I did not back him hopefully having it publically stated that there is no intention to immediately sack him post takeover will allow him to concentrate on the job in hand without having to fear for his job.
All in all this statement is good news for the club. We finally have answers from someone senior within the club and there is no bad news contained. For anyone who has not read the interview yet click here as it is well worth read.