Bolton Wanderers’ survival has been secured after an agreement was reached to sell the League One club to Football Ventures (Whites) Limited.
Wanderers were on the verge of liquidation after the English Football League gave administrator Paul Appleton 14 days to either sell the club or prove they could be funded for the rest of the season.
The takeover looked to have collapsed on Monday, raising fears over the future of the 145-year-old club. But after protracted talks and months of uncertainty, a deal has finally been completed.
“This has been one of the most complicated administrations I’ve been involved with but I’m delighted to say we have finally reached a satisfactory conclusion with the sale to Football Ventures,” Appleton said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.
“Even at the 11th hour when other parties were content to renege on their agreements, the Trust realised the very existence of Bolton Wanderers was at stake and were willing to find a compromise to save the club. It is a testament to their unflinching determination to do what was best for Bolton that we are able to complete the deal today.”
Appleton revealed on Monday there was no money left to fund the club after takeover talks with Football Ventures had stalled.
Discussions continued on Tuesday and there was optimism Bolton would meet the 5pm deadline to announce a deal had been approved, but progress came too late to stop the EFL enforcing a 14-day notice to withdraw the club’s membership.
Appleton added: “At times, some of the hurdles appeared insurmountable and the frustration felt has been immense, not least by the supporters who have had to endure too many weeks of uncertainty.”
Appleton was also critical of the club’s former owner Ken Anderson, who he said was responsible for the deal initially collapsing on Monday.
“This says much about the determination of the Eddie Davies Trust not to allow his beloved Bolton Wanderers to suffer any longer at the hands of Ken Anderson,” Appleton said.
“Sadly, Mr Anderson has used his position as a secured creditor to hamper and frustrate any deal that did not benefit him or suit his purposes.
“Thankfully, with the assistance of the Trust and others, we were able to overcome this obstacle.”
EFL executive chair Debbie Jevans expressed her “grateful appreciation” to all those involved in completing the deal.
“These past few months have undoubtedly been challenging and, at times fraught – never more so in the past few days – and I would like to thank all parties for their efforts in achieving the desired outcome,” she said.
“I would also like to place on record my grateful appreciation and thanks to the players, former and present management, staff and supporters for their patience and understanding in allowing us to get to this point.”