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How Dean Holdsworth's rescue act ended up as a nightmare at Bolton Wanderers

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PRECIOUS few of the 555 days Dean Holdsworth co-owned Bolton Wanderers lived up to the very first.
The club had been minutes from administration, perhaps worse, as a winding-up petition from the Inland Revenue worth more than £2million drew to a dramatic final day in court on February 22, 2016.
Holdsworth had worked for several months to find enough funding to convince Eddie Davies to relinquish control after one of the stormiest financial periods in the club’s history.
After a series of investors had dropped out, the former striker was offered a late deal by Ken Anderson – who had to that point been an intermediary in the deal. The last-minute switch lent an air of uncertainty to Holdsworth’s celebrations, and while he rejoiced over “saving” the football club he was more reticent to discuss the finer details of his plan.

Perhaps only now can we understand his caginess. The high-interest loan taken out with BluMarble finance was only intended to be a short-term measure but ended up being an accelerant to his exit 14 months later.
Holdsworth might wonder how things could have panned out had he and Anderson managed to agree on a re-financing package, and thus avoid the first of many disputes.
Almost every aspect of the deal with BluMarble has prompted some form of controversy but the fact the loan remains unpaid – and now weighs in at an estimated £7million with interest – represents a significant burden.
By the end of his first season another argument had broken out with Anderson over his contract as director of football, which resulted in his resignation.

Both men tried to play down the seriousness of the situation but with the only two named directors of the club at loggerheads over most of the major issues, there was always going to be a winner and a loser.
Anderson took the chairman’s role and a majority share, although his 10 per cent enrichment continues to be disputed by Holdsworth’s camp to this day.

As such, the Switzerland and Monaco-based former football agent was able to step out alone and instigate his own plans for the club’s future, including the appointment of Phil Parkinson – a decision few could argue was a masterstroke.
Holdsworth concentrated on other business interests, his continued legal wrangling and was not usually seen at the Macron during the week. He had hoped for day-to-day involvement at a club where he was once a club record signing but ended up being cast as somewhat of an outsider by some fans, who criticised his business decisions.
Even though he celebrated promotion in the directors’ box against Peterborough United in May, it was done from the margins.
By the time BluMarble were forced to act on their unpaid loan, and the time for adjournments had come to an end in winders court, it was telling that no-one represented Sports Shield BWFC in court.
“I was excited and extremely proud by the opportunity to be involved with the club again and the chance to help take the club back to its former glories,” he said in a statement yesterday. “Thankfully we achieved promotion in the first season and much needed confidence back into the club, for the fans and the people who work so hard behind the scenes.”
Holdsworth may feel resentment for the way it panned out in the end, or even concerned his efforts in the early days will be overlooked in time. But it would be a great shame if the experience put him off returning to a sport he clearly loves and still has a great deal to offer.

While the one-time Crazy Gang member never quite got ‘his day’ at the Macron, he may look at Wanderers in the future and take pride from the part he played, whether remembered as a winner or a loser in this particular battle.

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