With Bolton’s administrators doing all they can to complete the sale of the club and the new season fast-approaching, the last thing we needed was fresh uncertainty and doubt over the financial state of Bolton Wanderers.
Unfortunately, that appears to be just the case for the club as the players have gone on strike once again, causing the cancellation of the weekend’s friendly against Chester City, in protest of unpaid wages and a lack of communication from those at the top.
The news comes approximately a year after a similar situation led to the cancellation of a friendly against St Mirren during pre-season ahead of the 2018/19 season.
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Despite returning to training in understated fashion on July 1, the players have lost patience, much like many of the club’s supporters, at the lack of communication in regards to the ongoing takeover negotiations that are crucial for the club’s future.
The players’ statement reads:
“We regret that we are having to resort to writing another statement but we feel it necessary to illustrate to the supporters and everyone connected with the football club the current position we face due to the ongoing problems.
“Following the news of the club going into administration, we were optimistic that the immediate financial problems surrounding the staff and players would be resolved in some way.
“As we understand it the administrators took control of the football club on May 13, including its day to day running, until a takeover is completed.
“This included the adoption of all employees’ contracts and, therefore, the full obligations that this entails.
“We were due to return to pre-season training on June 26 but this had to be delayed as the players’ insurance policies had not been paid and the facilities at the training ground were on lockdown. There were no changing or showering facilities, drinking water for training and insufficient medical supplies.
“We returned to training on July 1 to find that, apart from the insurance problem, none of these issues had been resolved. We have since been fulfilling our training obligations despite these problems.
“Some have now been resolved by the current training environment is far from ideal.
“During this period to date we have had no direct communications in any form from Mr Paul Appleton as to the current position regarding our situation or that of the football club.
“We have had limited dialogue with the advisor of the administrators, Mr Keith Cousins, but the information he has passed on has proved unsubstantiated.
“We are reliant on local press and social media for any updates on any progress made. This has obviously increased the frustration and anxiety the players are feeling.
“The players and coaching staff have not been paid by the club for 20 weeks and the administrators have not offered any financial assistance. It is our understanding that there are sufficient funds to provide financial help immediately but there has been none.
“As we have stated in a previous statement, all this has caused severe mental and emotional stress, affecting both our professional and personal lives, and this has now only increased. Certain individuals are in need of support and none has been forthcoming from the club.
“With the new season looming it is becoming impossible to prepare correctly for the challenge ahead.
“Contracted players and staff have returned to what they hoped would be a resolved situation and a fresh start for everyone.
“They have undertaken their duties and obligations with diligence and professionalism but how long is it reasonable for us to do so without being paid?”
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In quick response, Paul Appleton – one of the joint administrators at Bolton Wanderers – released a statement on the club’s website in order to help explain the situation for the players and fans alike.
You can read the full statement here but the crux of the matter appears to be that the takeover of the club is being held up by the hotel because it is under the stewardship of different administrators who were brought in by former owner Ken Anderson.
Despite matters looking like they were taking a much-needed step in the right direction when Football Ventures were named as the preferred bidders to take over the club, complications since are threatening to derail Bolton’s season before it even begins.
Hopefully, this whole torrid mess can be sorted out quickly.