So the worst kept secret in English football; Bolton Wanderers have quite a lot of debt. Last we heard this was around £180 million, the most in the Championship above even Queens Park Rangers.
Now we learn via our appearance in court that that sum now stands in excess of £200 million;
Boltons total debt now over £200M. If I'd had a coffee at that point, I'd have dropped it.— Ian Firth (@SuperWhiteSmurf) February 22, 2016
This is an astonishing rise in debt figures in such a short space of time for a club supposedly trying to limit loses. No doubt a fair amount of this new debt is owed to HMRC the weekly total we owe to them going up by a staggering amount;
Validation orders have only paid tax SINCE the initial petition debt of £2.28m. Weekly PAYE costs of £175k also not being paid by club.— Ian Firth (@SuperWhiteSmurf) February 22, 2016
The fact that this sum has been able to grow by so much just shows the continued shambolic way in which Bolton is run financially. Bolton have become an omnishambles in recent years from a financial perspective and the jump in debts once again shows just how few lessens have been learnt by the current regime. It is worth noting here that even if Eddie Davies were underwriting the losses at this point it would still have shown up as extra debt so this will, I assume, have little to nothing to do with him withdrawing funding.
Let’s hope that Sports Shield can run the club in a far more financially responsible manner with the help of accountant Bruce Gordon who is said to be part of the bid set to buy the club for £7.5 million.
All this debt will need to be dealt with fast as was made clear by the judge earlier;
Judge was explicit in court that ALL secured and unsecured debt, in particular HMRC must be paid off with sale or club will be wound up.— Ian Firth (@SuperWhiteSmurf) February 22, 2016
Obviously we won’t have to pay back the whole £200 million with Eddie Davies writing off some £175 million worth of debt but this is still a lot for the new owners to deal with so soon into their ownership.
Lessons need to be learnt. That is what history is there for. Unfortunately people have short memories so seldom learn from past mistakes. Let us hope that Bolton can buck that trend and learn the lessons of the last few years for the long term.