Bolton back from brink as Football Ventures offer new hope

Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers have been taken over by Football Ventures.

Bolton fans woke up this morning excited about the prospect of a bright new era, safe in the knowledge their club is Anderson-free and in good hands.

Rather than constantly refreshing social media platforms hoping and praying for positive news on the takeover, supporters are now checking out all the speculation of who the new manager will be and which new players will soon be arriving.

It is a stark contrast to the doom and gloom that has surrounded the club in recent months, when it soon became clear this historic club, a founder member of the football league, could go to the wall, just as near neighbours Bury did this week.

Former owner Ken Anderson’s constant change of demands at the last minute threatened to scupper the whole takeover deal. On Friday it looked dead. Football Ventures, who were named preferred bidders weeks ago, had pulled out and the administrators warned that unless the deal could be resurrected or a new buyer be found, the club would be liquated as early as Tuesday.

Thankfully it did not come to that, but it went right to the wire. It would appear that the Eddie Davies Trust helped save the club which the late former owner funded in the glory days of Djorkaef, Okocha, Campo and Hierro.

The joint administrator Paul Appleton said in his statement that the Trust were “determined not to allow Eddie’s beloved Bolton Wanderers to suffer any longer at the hands of Ken Anderson”. They are heroes.

After many false dawns and empty promises, the takeover of the club by Football Ventures was finally announced late on Wednesday and a huge wave of relief swept over the club and town.

Despite sitting at the bottom of League One on -11 points, none of the supporters care. They have their club back and can look forward to the future again.

The initial statement released by the new owners was like a breath of fresh air as they promised to “restore this magnificent football club to its rightful position, securing its future for the fans, the loyal staff, and the players”.

They intend to do all within their power to bring back “a true sense of pride to Bolton Wanderers” which is the least everyone connected with the club deserves.

One of the first jobs will be to appoint a new manager, but there is a good chance Jimmy Phillips will remain in charge for Saturday’s trip to Gillingham.

However, names in the frame already include Phillips, youth team coach David Lee, former Trotters legend Kevin Nolan and experienced managers such as Keith Hill.

The race is also on to sign players before Friday’s 12 midday deadline, to add some experience to the young guns who have battled so bravely in the opening weeks of the season.

Jack Hobbs, Gary O’Neil and Will Buckley have been waiting for the takeover to go through before penning new deals, while Craig Conway is also able to sign at short notice.

Season tickets will soon be on sale, the new kit will be on sale. Normality is starting to return.

There will no doubt be tough times ahead. There is the possibility of a further points deduction for failing to complete last season’s fixture against Brentford, and the League One fixture against Doncaster last week.

Relegation to League Two is a very real possibility, but considering what the outcome could have been had Anderson got his way, life in the bottom tier of English football does not sound too bad. And ask Bury fans what they would prefer.