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Eddie Davies: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

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Ian picks apart Eddie Davies' recent interview with the Bolton News

Michael Steele/Getty Images

So our ‘club president' finally decided to talk to the Bolton News.

I can only guess that this interview was given on the unpublished understanding that the paper wasn't allowed to dispute his thoughts or should I say fantasies. Such were his comments, I had to climb back in my chair twice. I honestly don't think I've been so flabbergasted since Gary Megson thought it was a good idea to sign Rasiak.

So after thinking "You total twat. Just. Fuck. Off." I decided to have a look at what he's said and then give some reality.

In regard to the criticism about Eddie's lack of planning when selling the club, he said:

"That is people coming to great conclusions with zero information. We didn't deliberately put ourselves in this position. We fought like hell to maintain the position we were in and unfortunately things have gone against us."

Zero information because you and your board wouldn't talk to anyone Eddie? Journalists and fans having to go to other sources and, in the end, attend court to get information is not really how we should have to find out what is going on. Eddie and his board may not intentionally have wanted the last six months to happen but if you bury your head in the sand and only take action when there is no cash flow left then that is exactly what's going to happen. It's a fact of football that the vast majority of clubs will have lean times or times of failure and the onus is on the owner and board to plan for those times, not just gamble money away and hope everything turns out alright.

Eddie continues:

"We have been trying to sell the club for the last four years, since the Premier League exit, and the main reason behind that is that I didn't want to leave the club with a dead owner. Ultimately, I'm afraid, I am going to die."

Interesting as previous reports have stated that the club has been only up for sale for the last two years. Whilst it is somewhat of a relief that Eddie doesn't consider himself an immortal demi god in the style of a North Korean leader, I do wonder if the looming end of Premier League parachute payments was more of a ‘main reason' than impending death.

In regard for his culpability for Bolton Wanderers' ongoing demise on the field of play, he said:

"There are other examples that have been relegated quicker than we have. Wolves went straight down and Wigan Athletic went straight down after winning the FA Cup all for similar reasons."

True, but both Wolves and Wigan aren't in the financial mess that Bolton currently find themselves in and their owners and boards communicate with the fans.

Eddie then has a pop at the local papers:

"I think a lot of the local press publicity has been very, very negative, not based on real information but on rumour, and in fact based on downright lies. I think the thing that does gall is that I believe when they print these things they should state their sources of the comments, not just publish them as facts, which quite a lot of people will assume they are facts, which they are not."

The local press have reported the facts, enough said.

Eddie then says that replacing Nat Lofthouse as club president is "an honour" and comes out with the pearler:

"History will decide how I am to be remembered, if I am to be remembered at all. It's not something I am too concerned about."

Oh fucking really?

Hardly given as an ‘honour', seeing as the presidency and renaming of a suite was allegedly a stipulation of the takeover. I think the primary thing that Eddie is concerned about is indeed his legacy, being the ego driven fantasist that he comes across as.

In another Bolton News article was our Eds view on the bidders:

"That (finance) is what it all boiled down to. I have been quoted as saying we dealt with four different parties and these (Sports Shield) are the only ones who showed us they had the money to do the deal. So we did the deal with them."

The quote/confirmation from the four different parties being involved came from the lawyer representing Bolton, Hilary Stonefrost, at the first court appearance back in January, not Eddie.

I have it on good account that at least one local consortium was prepared to ‘show they had the money' to do a deal but got turned down because Sports Shield (SS) were being given preferred bidder status. As for SS showing they have the money, one of their backers pulled out prior to the third court appearance and so far, from checking the Companies House records, all SS money appears to be loan's taken out against the remaining club assets with no confirmation being currently shown that this isn't the case.

All that is explained in my last piece, here.

Remortgaging if you will, except not with banks but high interest investors. Oh and SS agreement to have the £15m debt to Eddie post sale may have played a part as well...

"I was having to be intimately involved in that situation and that's why we brought Trevor Birch in, to relieve me of some of that pressure because not only did I have to deal with that but also I had to keep the football club afloat, which was not what I had been working on previously. Phil had taken care of all that and obviously that vacuum had to be filled."

As to what Davies had been working on previously, God only knows, because it seems as if no action was taken at all until the clubs cash flow finally dried up in the October/November of last year. Undeniably true that Birch was brought in to assist the clubs sale and survival, whilst Davies tried to have a fire sale of club assets and was not paying anyone such as his staff or the HMRC.

In regard to Bolton's future, Davies says:

"I think if Bournemouth can do it, Bolton can,"

Seemingly ignoring the fact that Bournemouth's rise has been significantly helped by having lots of cash to spend and not having both the debts and ongoing costs that Bolton have currently got. He continues:

"The future for the club under the new regime is to stabilise the position. If we go down then they are going to have to seriously look at the cost base."

No shit Sherlock.

"We are going to have to start with a fresh sheet of paper again and work our way up to the best of our ability."

Err no, if you turn the sheet over Eddie, you will see that SS have to continue funding high earning player contracts, the £15m debt you've saddled them with, and allegedly cover it by remortgaging all the remaining club assets. Oh and there's also the Football League restrictions on player in transfers operating in one form or another until Aug 2018.

"In terms of infrastructure we have got some of the best in the world, what we need to do now is start getting some results on the pitch."

The remaining infrastructure is undoubtedly world class, just a shame that we don't own any of it. Getting results on the pitch will be difficult if we still have the same squad as now.

Eddie then goes on to his highlights:

"I think the highlight if you are talking football was the game at Bayern Munich." We were talking with the Bayern Munich people and (Franz) Beckenbauer said to me ‘well done' and I said ‘if the game had gone on 10 minutes longer we would have beaten you!'"

Is the highlight the game's outcome and fantastic Bolton fightback or the fact that Eddie could boast to Beckenbauer, I'm not sure?

Then the lowlights:

"I think what happened with Gary Speed was an absolute tragedy, I knew his wife and family very well. Fabrice Muamba managed to survive it and in actual fact that, coupled with Stuart Holden breaking his leg at Manchester United, was probably the turning point in our Premier League career,"

Both the Speed and Muamba incidents were obviously tragic events and it is without doubt a fact that the Holden leg break was a turning point in the Coyle era but what about not being able to pay his staff? Or not having a proper business plan for relegation out of the Premier League? Or having to sell club assets or poor manager and player transfer choices?

I could go on.


Finally Eddie says:

"I will give the club whatever help I can. That will continue for the rest of my life."

During his time the club has gone from the Premier league to League One and is just as broke as when he took ownership of it. Some help.