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Wanderers administration would "not be the end of the world"

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ Trust chairman Terrence Rigby claims administration need not be “the end of the world” thanks to a shining example set by Portsmouth.

Fears are mounting that Wanderers will be put into the hands of a receiver “sooner rather than later” ahead of a return to the High Court on May 8 to fend off a winding-up order from HMRC.

The Bolton Whites Hotel also faces a winding-up petition over unpaid tax and VAT on Wednesday.

Hundreds of fans gathered in the Platinum Suite on Monday night to air their views in a meeting organised by the BWFCST.

The trust have worked closely with their counterparts at Pompey, who helped save the South Coast club from liquidation several years ago.

Portsmouth twice went into admin, in 2010 and 2012, before being bought out by the Supporters’ Trust, who ran things until 2017 when they sold the business to former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.

They are now gunning for promotion to the Championship and on a considerably more stable financial footing than they have been over the past decade, when they fell from the Premier League all the way down into League Two.

“The way forward would be for a white knight to come with a great deal of money, buy the club, have a great season and go on from there. But I don’t see a white knight about,” Mr Rigby told the meeting.

“I don’t claim to know everything that is going on but I know some things and do receive confidential information from various parties. I don’t see anyone able or wiling to buy the club as a going concern. I may be wrong, I hope I am.

“Between buying the club as a going concern and any buyer is the club’s owner who has thus far been impossible for interested parties to deal with, and to come to a deal with. Draw your own conclusions as to what that is about.

“One way or another – whether through Moonshift, HMRC or another creditor – this club will be put into administration. It isn’t the end of the world and I look the experience of other clubs and most particularly Portsmouth.

“It is not the end of the world if we can find someone, or many someones, to buy it out of administration and move it on to a party who can run it in the long term.”

Mr Rigby said it has never been a “sensible prospect” for the trust to look at owning Wanderers outright, adding: “All we can do is raise funds to contribute as much as we can, to mediate between people and bring them together, or somehow bring together the sort of consortium that saved Portsmouth.

“It would be easier if we simply had to help to arrange it.

“The Football Ventures consortium – who did indeed try and buy the club from Ken Anderson – are genuine people with money. They tried to do the deals that needed to be done with secured creditors.

“It seems to me that some people have been wholly wrongly described as tyre-kickers and a waste of time by Ken Anderson.

“FV finally managed to do some due diligence and the net result was that they found the club was significantly more indebted than they had been led to believe. They also found that there was no sufficient movement among the secured creditors, much less by Ken Anderson, to make it possible to buy the club as a going concern.

“I hope they, or someone like them, will be around to pick up the pieces if we go into administration.”

Should Wanderers be placed into administration they would currently stand to be deducted 12 points at the start of next season.

EFL rules also state that an administrator must meet with the trust within 21 days to offer a chance for them to invest.

Mr Rigby said plans were already in motion to use the trust as a vehicle for investment in the event of admin being confirmed.

“Shortly we will be looking to raise money to take part in the purchase in the club,” he said.

“We do have, as a trust, an advantage in administration in so far as the administrator has to consult over a three-week period before he can sell the club to anyone else.

“It doesn’t make us a preferred bidder or that we’re enabled to buy the club if we had the funds but it does give us a window to make an appeal, what sort of high net worths would come forward. What sort of response would there be to a large-scale share offering.

“Right now we need to see how many people are interested.”


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