So reports today are that as part of any takeover Eddie Davies wants a cut of future TV and sponsorship money, a suite named after him along with certain bonus payments.
The TV and sponsorship issue was first raised by Alan Nixon (@reluctantnicko) before being confirmed by The Bolton News’ Marc Iles;
It is also Nixon who has broken the fact that Eddie Davies is looking for bonuses, Nixon said;
"Bolton. Eddie Davies wants bonuses for achievement AFTER he hands over club. There’s another issue for buyers."
Nixon later says that these bonuses are substantial sums for being in the Championship at any point in the next five years. One can only assume that the other issues are the above TV and sponsorship related ones.
So what does this mean for Bolton Wanderers?
Firstly one could speculate that this will drive buyers away. I’m sure none of them would object to allowing the egotist Davies have a suite named after him, but the other demands are incredible to say the least. If I was looking to buy Bolton then this would be a major stumbling block for me and they would constitute conditions I would not buy a football club with.
The reasons for that can be seen in my next points.
Davies getting a cut of future TV and sponsorship money is for me is highly dangerous. No one will need it pointing out to them that Bolton’s main revenue stream for years now has been TV money. This was certainly the case in the Premier League by a huge margin and is no doubt still the case in the Championship.
I fear that losing a percentage of this each year would seriously hamper our ability to compete in any league where TV money is more important than money which can be made in gate receipts and by other such means. I do not want to contemplate how far down the footballing pyramid that may be.
The sponsorship money is also a huge issue. Though lesser than the TV money it is still a hugely important revenue steam and losing part of that will put Bolton at a competitive disadvantage.
Then there is the bonus for getting to the Championship. This does show how far we have fallen in recent years that such an achievement is seen to merit a bonus at all.
If and when Bolton are able to return to the Championship we will need all the money we can get to stay there. It is an increasingly hard task to stay up with so much money being thrown around. Just look at the fact that two of the three promoted sides from last season are fighting for their lives down the bottom end of the Championship. This includes a Bristol City side who were a cut above the rest in League One.
If Bolton were losing a percentage of their biggest revenue streams and then hit with a bonus payment then any return to the Championship would be short lived and probably a rather painful affair.
This situation leads to a rather painful conclusion.
Administration is the only way in which Bolton’s future can be preserved. If we enter administration Davies loses all power. A deal to sell the club will be dealt with by an administrator who would be very unlikely to attach any silly terms and conditions to it. So as horrible as it may be to say if these reports are true I hope Bolton enter administration so the club can be sold without clauses which will have a serious effect on its future ability to compete.
It will remain to be seen whether anyone will complete the purchase of the football club based on this and what effect such clauses will have. But I seriously worry for the future of the club if a sale is made with those conditions in place.