I explained to him that only £15million of the £185m Fildraw loan was interest and that the money Eddie Davies spent whilst Sam Allardyce was manager was in addition. Barring a miracle, there was never any prospect of ED recovering capital or interest as Guardian journalist, David Conn, had misled his readers to believe. Conn had been named Sports Journalist of the Year in 2013 because, according to the judges (from the kingdom of the blind), ‘he delves beyond the glitzy veneer of modern football to hold the games gilded elite to account’!
I knew the fellow shareholder to be a Wanderer through and through but in all probability a Guardian reader so his grudging and mistaken comment wasn’t a complete surprise. There’d been a tsunami of false allegations and accusations on social media and misunderstandings were widespread and deep-rooted. Conn had played his part in it all by his complete failure to check and consider facts or the consequences of ill-judged and unfair reporting.
Marc Iles was present at the AGM, probably infuriated at the praise being heaped on Ken Anderson for his achievements in his two years in charge. No-one would ask about Anderson’s £525K consultancy fee or the £125K paid to the Athos Group. Maybe some had thought it value for money when set in the context of the well-publicised amounts paid to Ben Amos and a few other overpaid football players. It was a large amount but wouldn’t an administrator have charged twice as much with little or no prospect of getting the club back into the Championship at the first attempt and only one step and a wealthy ‘investor’ away from the promised land?
On the other hand, the club was still only one step away from Carey Street and there was nothing Ken Anderson could do to prevent it other than try to keep the show on the road whilst seeking out that wealthy ‘investor’.
But matey with Holdsworth and snubbed by Anderson, Iles was on his own mission. He would steadfastly avoid reporting how much Dean Holdsworth had cost the club and ignore completely the likelihood that most of Anderson’s £525K consultancy fee had been used to delay, for over two years, the threat of a Blumarble foreclosure and fund Holdsworth’s pay-off. Soon he would tell everyone daft enough to believe him, that Gordon Hargreaves had funded the Reebok Stadium, doing so at the very time that Anderson needed ED, who had paid off the Reebok debt, to come to the rescue for the last and final time.
ED had enjoyed success in business but he could never be described as one of ‘the gilded elite’ and the stress of owning and running Bolton Wanderers could only have taken a toll on his health much as it seemed to have done on Phil Gartside’s. Four years earlier, PG seemed close to despair when he gave this interview to Iles in October 2014:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
A year later it would be announced that PG was gravely ill with his family requesting privacy before he died in February 2016.