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OPINION: Eddie Davies; Success, Bruised Ego and Tantrums

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Ian joins LOV and gives us his thoughts on the recent troubles at the Reebok

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

First the good points.

Eddie Davies does deserve thanks from us fans for funding Bolton Wanderers' promotion to and establishment in the Prem. Also credit goes to him for building Euxton, the Reebok hotel and Lostock whilst carrying the burden of funding the running and debt of a new stadium.

By 2008 we had Premier League standard assets that most other clubs could only dream about and on field success admired up and down the country. Eddie Davies first 5 years as owner of Bolton could be seen as an outstanding success.

It must be remembered however that once established in the Prem, Davies made full use of the Sky money and offshore tax loopholes to also be making a very tidy profit from our club.

The last sensible footballing decision Davies and his board made was not to overstretch Bolton during Big Sams shot at CL qualification.

They'd seen what had happened to Leeds United, something Leeds are paying for to this day, and correctly decided it was a risk too far. However this did result in the loss of Big Sam. Whilst the 2007 Sammy Lee and Gary Megson appointments can be primarily laid at Gartsides door, as it was his job to choose managers, the seeds had been laid for the disasters to follow.

Since the 2008 Jan transfer window it has been one panicked or ill thought out decision after another. Firstly was over spending on Megsons signings in a desperately costly way of repairing the damage caused by Sammy Lee's reign.

That had a temporary success but as Megson's toxic personality and mind numbing football poisoned the club, it was downhill from then on.

A succession of poor managerial and costly player signings and lack of credible business plan meant our debts spiralled upwards with on field success going further in the wrong direction. Both Davies and his board just tried throwing money at getting Bolton back into the Premier League at all costs without thought of the consequences if they didn't succeed.

Failed we did though and whilst Gartside and the other board members have a big responsibility don't kid yourself that Davies was unaware what was going on.

So with the imminent ending of the Sky parachute payments, Eddie could see the writing on the wall and wanted out. This was possibly one time when Davies didn't have as big a hands on role as he should have. Entrusting the search for new owners to Phil Gartside whilst half heartedly trying to cut costs obviously failed spectacularly on both counts.

We will never know just how much of an actual financial hit Davies has taken for 'wiping out' the £170M debt to Moonshift Investments.

The figures are both shrouded in secrecy and warped by tax avoidance tactics that lots of businesses use. I doubt very much that Davies and his fellow investors had to stump up the full amount but I don't believe for a second that they didn't take a substantial financial hit.

This is the rub, Davies was now in a position where he's losing serious money as well as the sobering realisation that his legacy was under very real threat. Not good for his ego and he panicked some more. He just turned the financial tap off for funding ongoing running costs as both a way of stopping the haemorrhaging of his piggy bank and putting the spotlight on Boltons need for new owners.

By late November last year things started to get nasty with both staff and HMRC being given a pre Christmas two fingered salute. Even at this point a general thought was that Davies had no more money to give and new club ownership or even the sale of less important assets would resolve the issue. So the Macron office suites and north car parks along with Euxton were sold.

Whilst staff were paid, it is assumed that other funds went to outstanding non Moonshift loans. These included paying off a general Nucleus Commercial Finance Limited loan, NatWest loan against the hotel as well as a number of board member loans of which Brett Warburton featured prominently.

It seems that Davies saw himself pushed in a corner with assets sales forced on him to remove loans that potential bidders wouldn't fund and at the same time his legacy being publicly ridiculed.

His ego was seriously bruised. What can only be described as a tantrum ensued. The tax man was still ignored and unreasonable last minute conditions were put against the bidders. Davies requested a cut of future TV, Sponsorship and Success bonuses making a new owner feel his current pain if agreed. How Davies could look anyone in the eye when requesting the renaming of a suite to his name is anyones guess.

It's almost as if Davies sees that his legacy is now permanently damaged, so to hell with the consequences, he's having his revenge. A sad state of affairs is putting it mildly and if Davies is not careful, no one is going to come out of this as a winner.

A wound up club will damn him forever, deprive a community of a long established sporting tradition and similarly place a hole in the football league fabric, with the removal of one of its founder members including the wealth of football history Bolton Wanderers carries on its shoulders.