News is rife that a price has been set for Bolton Wanderers, and that it is £30 million. Now I will add this at the start; what I say here is assuming that Eddie Davies walks away and does not attempt to recover any of the £170 odd million he has put into the club. Something I think is a safe assumption as no one will buy otherwise and he may as well get £30 million rather than nothing back!
On face value Bolton is a club in decline and therefore would be a poor investment. But although on the field Bolton may be further away from being a Premier League club than they have been in two decades, we will need to see more games this season to see if that is true, off the field that is not the case.
Bolton have a lot of assets. A fantastic stadium which can seat 30,000 and would perfectly fulfil the clubs needs if we were able to move back up the footballing pyramid. On top of that it has in the past been used for live music (if you don't believe me watch Coldplay's Fix You video which was filmed in the then Reebok) and for rugby league fixtures showing its wider potential.
On top of that the club owns the hotel, the offices connected to the stadium and the venue where the Fan Zone is amongst other things (to the best of my knowledge). All of which are no doubt money earners. Bolton of course also own the car park. This site has great building potential, just look at what they did next door putting restaurants above the car park the type of thing which could no doubt be repeated on Bolton's land.
This is also ignoring the fact that Bolton own their own training ground and academy. The other day someone assured me that the academy is situated on land which one day may be a prime development site for an expanding local town called Bolton, don't know if anyone has heard of it.
To take a comparison Bristol City are only just upgrading their stadium to anywhere near the size and quality of ours. This is on a site only just big enough for a stadium and a small car park with no where near the amount of land Bolton own. They also do not own their own training ground having used the facilities of various public schools in Bristol for many years instead. I think that shows the relative value of the club next to many of our Championship rivals.
Now with this of course comes the caveat that we need to be careful who we sell to to ensure that they do not asset strip the club. If someone did asset strip it could destroy the football club, or at the very least risk setting it back decades.
But assuming that someone comes in looking to develop the club further there are so many possibilities for how they might do this adding revenue streams to the club. Just imagine if someone came in and invested to build on the car park and left that property in the hands of the football club, it could be a great little money spinner and allow the club to stand on their own two feet better. There is so much potential as of yet untapped which the right sort of investor may well note.
From that perspective I will go outside of football for my example. Wasps (who for those who don't know are an Aviva Premiership rugby union side previously called London Wasps) recently moved out to Coventry buying the Ricoh Arena, which of course many of you will know is also the home of Coventry City who are still tenants there.
Before that move Wasps had one of the lowest incomes in the Aviva Premiership and were struggling to be able to attract big names to the club. Since the move buying the stadium and various other facilities on site such as a casino they have now got one of the biggest revenues in European rugby.
Now, I have no idea how their revenues compare to Championship clubs, but this does show the potential for sports clubs if they invest wisely off the pitch in assets which will make them a return.
Despite my pessimism as to the ability of the squad to push towards the Premier League I think that Lennon could build a squad with just a few new additions that would be capable of striking up the table. Whats more I think that he could do that while operating within financial fair play. If a club like Burnley can do it then there is no doubt that Bolton can also achieve that goal.
On a related note if the club is for sale for only £30 million maybe I will buy myself a Euro millions ticket next time there is a big jackpot in the hope I will have some spare pocket change to invest! But I guess its statistically more likely that Bolton will win the Premier League in the next three years than that will happen. So I might just save myself the inventible pain of not winning the lottery and buying my beloved Bolton and just set my heart on a league title in the next few years.
Always good to have attainable dreams right!