The company, owned by former player Dean Holdsworth, was wound up at the Bankruptcies and Companies Court in London. Its 37.5 per cent stake in the club is now in the hands of insolvency specialists, Quantuma.
The winding-up order was brought by Blu Marble, a lender who loaned £5m to Sports Shield BWFC in March last year to purchase the club from former owner Eddie Davies. The loan – which with interest has now swollen to a reported £7m – has been in default for a number of months.
Andrew Hosking has now been appointed as the liquidator. His job is to recoup the debt on behalf of Blu Marble. The funds may be raised via the sale of shares to a third party, or to Bolton Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson, whose 57.5 per cent stake remains unaffected.
In a statement, Mr Anderson said he accepted “that there could be detrimental knock-on effects for the club”, and added that he was doing his “utmost to ensure this does not happen”.
One of the potential ramifications could be a points deduction.
A spokesman for the Football League confirmed that would be discussed at a meeting next month. He said: “The EFL notes today’s decision of the court in relation to Sports Shield BWFC. The executive will review the decision in the context of our rules and provide a report to the board at its next scheduled meeting in September.”
Holdsworth expressed his disappointment that a deal intended to prevent liquidation of the company could not struck after discussions with two interested purchasers, one of which is based in the town, fell short over the weekend.
“I am so disappointed in this action,” he said. “For the good of the club SSBWFC had reached an agreement with a third party and they had also reached an agreement in principle with Blu Marble. They had shown they had the financial ability to take the club forward and lift the embargo to help the team and give the club stability.
Unfortunately, because of the demands of others, an agreement could not be reached therefore this enable Blu Marble to take action to protect their interests. The Blu Marble agreement secured the club’s future for Burnden Leisure Ltd (Wanderers’ parent company) when we were minutes away from administration. The matter is still legal. I shall be making further statements on this in the future when the time is right.”
Anderson confirmed in a statement on the club’s website he had dealt with a number of approaches from UK and international prospective buyers and used board advisor Paul Aldridge to manage discussions.
“As I have said in the past, if someone with the wherefore and financial resources to take the club forward comes along, then l am always happy to meet with them,” he said.
“So far, however, the various people who have said they are in a position to do so have been unable to provide financial proof of funds and to be honest, have wasted a great deal of our time. Furthermore, the vultures and pariahs need not apply as this club has achieved a great deal over the last 18 months and is not in the financial position it was when l first became involved.”
Referring specifically to Mr Holdsworth’s statement, he added: “I have seen Dean’s statement today and after taking legal advice, I won’t be commenting at this stage other than to say that the ‘third party’ were given every opportunity to complete a deal.
"Unfortunately they were never able to provide an acceptable proof of funds that would have been acceptable to the EFL or myself. As it now stands, Dean/SSBWFC are no longer a shareholder and all future discussions will be with the liquidator and the EFL.”
The ‘third party’ has also been in contact with The Bolton News to give their version of events. Speaking via a spokesperson, it is claimed Mr Anderson asked for a non-refundable £500,000 to allow access to the club’s books and a total £5m by Monday morning.
"That offer was put to him on Friday and firmed up on Saturday,” the spokesperson continued.
“He then wanted £1m for staying in the Championship during the 2017/18 season and a further £4m if the club reached the Premier League in the next three seasons. This is for a business in which he owned 57.5 per cent of the shares, the whole 95 per cent having only been purchased for £1 in March last year.”
A second party also expressed a wish to buy the club and was introduced to Anderson via the same channels. They were unable to proceed with payment immediately but agreed to explore the possibility of a joint venture with the other potential purchaser.
The consortium claim a 72-hour delay was requested at the weekend to enable solicitors to move funds, which would have in turn prompted BluMarble to remove their winding-up petition, but that the offer was rejected by Mr Anderson.
“Both potential buyers believe jointly, or independently, they had a credible bid which could have avoided the mess that ensued in its entirety,” the spokesperson added.
“We are concerned about the effect this may have on the club and what sanctions the EFL may now wish to impose.”
The group have added they are looking aims to resume talks in the next 48 hours with the liquidator and Anderson to try to complete the purchase “as quickly as possible”.
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