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CHAIRMAN Q&A: Full transcript of Ken Anderson's meeting with Bolton Wanderers fans

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Sluffy

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KEN Anderson faced up to the Wanderers fans last night to answer questions on every topic from the potential sale of the club, to a possible name-change at the Macron Stadium.
The Bolton News was there to film the action - and the whole Q&A can be seen here on our Wanderers Facebook page - but for every word uttered and question answered, read on below.
Here is the full transcript from the Wanderers chairman as he spoke in the Bolton Whites Hotel in the build-up to the game against Reading. Fans' questions are in bold.

Will there be investment in January?
“What has been going on for the last few months, the recruitment team are out there looking at players. We are looking at three, possibly four.
“We are looking to have a bit more cover. As you’ve seen this evening we had a situation where we didn’t know if Little was going to play, or if Robinson was going to play. Darby has been injured for a little while, so we need some more cover.
“I still personally feel we need some more cover up front. If Gary gets injured we haven’t got enough – we’ve got Wilbraham – but the way this league has gone, the teams have got much bigger squads, more resources, and more cover. We have to go that way.
“The problem is, yes, funding it. It is a much more difficult league than it was when we were in it two years ago and you have teams like Forest who sell players for £15million to another Championship team. That would never have happened in the past.
“You look at the teams we have tonight and the teams we’ve played so far, I see teams with people sat on the bench and it’s £10-20m worth of players. That is going to be difficult but we know the type of players we want.
“We are still going to be involved in the loan market and there’s the possibility of bringing in other loan players.
“The difference now that we didn’t have in August, or the summer, is that teams who have got players who are not making the starting squad, not sitting on the bench, top Premiership players, are becoming available because they want to play. 
“Little bit older – 25, 26, 28-year-olds – a bit like the Karl Henry situation – more experienced, and rather than going a whole Premier League season without playing are looking to go out on loan.”

Ownership - could you provide an update on the business?
“There were a number of people, including locals, who said they wanted to invest in the club, or wanted to buy the club outright.
“They basically fell into three categories: One, complete lunatics, two, people who said they had the money but when asked to show it and despite numerous promises couldn’t produce it, and third, we ended up with probably three serious people. Two of them were billionaires and one was a substantial millionaire.
“We got a long way down with one of the people who wanted to come in and invest a lot of money into the club. Figures that were mentioned were £70-80million to buy players in the transfer market and go for the Premiership.
“We got to round about July and everything had gone in – they’d done their research and due diligence on the club – employed a top London law firm to look through the accounts and came away quite happy. Then it all went very quiet, and of two weeks ago I was told that the person’s funds had been frozen world-wide.
“As I said, I stopped talking to people. Mainly because it was unsettling for the team, the staff and the management – whether they’d have a job, whether they’d stay. We stopped all negotiations and discussions.

“It is a bit different owning a football club, as I found out, to saying you are going to sell your house because if you put a for sale sign up, someone comes along, if you don’t, they generally don’t.
“Even though I have said I don’t want to talk again until the end of the season if that billionaire resolved his problems or another one came along and I thought they could take the club to the next level and compete with the Middlesbroughs, Leeds and Derbys, I would talk to them. That’s me being honest."


Where has the £3million gone from TV money and the money from Holding and Clough?
“First of all it isn’t £3m. It is substantially less than that. It is nearer £2m, which is a third less.
“Money has gone where it always goes at football clubs, player salaries.
“Bear in mind, I think the newspaper did an article recently which said since I have been here 31 players have gone out. A number of those players, I’d say their salaries totalled in excess of £10m. We still have one player in particular who is not playing for the club – Ben Amos, it’s pretty obvious – who is at Charlton, and we are getting a substantial shortfall on his salary. We have inherited those problems.
“He has got another two years hear but I read he loves it at Charlton and he could sign there permanently. Let’s hope he decides that’s what he will do.

Could the FanZone be re-opened?
“As far as I’m aware in the past the FanZone didn’t make any money, it actually lost the club money.
“My job at the moment at the club is to stop things that cost us or lose us money.
“if someone says to me they’ll come in and run the FanZone and it won’t cost us or lose us any money, it was to our satisfaction and the fans want it, I’d be happy to do it.
“At the moment I’m more concerned to trying to get back to 20-23,000 fans that we had at the end of last year rather than the 12-13,000 we are getting at the moment.
“Going back to the transfer question earlier, and would funds be available, we need fans to come along and help us not only buy players but pay the salaries. The salaries in this league are much higher this season than they were when we were in this league two seasons ago.

Could the ‘not for sale’ stance be altered?
“If Amanda Staveley saw sense and decided Bolton was a better club than Newcastle then we’d obviously talk to her.

What is the current situation on embargo?
“It has been announced by the EFL and ourselves that the embargo went a few months ago.
“We’ve had an embargo ever since I have been here, in fact before I came in, and I traded through it. All I can say is that we had an embargo but I brought 31 players in and out, so I don’t think the embargo affected us as much as everyone makes about it.
Other club owners seem to take umbrage with the way we worked under an embargo.

“The rules are the rules and we worked the rules. We haven’t had any comeback from the EFL on his comments.
“I think one of the newspapers pointed out was that if you look at our salary in proportion to the turnover, it was far better than his. His salary costs were 165 per cent of their turnover, so if anyone should be in embargo maybe they should?
“I don’t want to get tit-for-tat with him. My view is he’s a sore loser, it is sour grapes, we went up and they didn’t."
Where do we stand with player salaries against player income? It was around 90 per cent a few years ago.
“Let’s say we have just submitted the various reports we have to do for the EFL and we’re complying with them all. We are in a far better position than we have ever been since I have been here but that is probably a little bit fortunate that a number of players went out of contract, some of which were on much higher salaries so I can’t take all the credit for that.
“We are now within striking distance of having a salary structure that this club can survive on.
“One of the biggest problems here is that if you look at the cost of running this infrastructure, while it is a fantastic stadium and facilities it costs a lot more to run this club on a day-to-day basis than somewhere like Walsall.
“It is much easier for them to become self-sufficient than it is for us. The better the stadium and facilities you have got, the more it costs.
“Generally-speaking we’re definitely within the player budgets the EFL want us to have, but I am happy enough with where we are."

What is our projected profit/loss situation and how are we covering it?

“The club is still losing money, around £5-6m, it has been covered by myself up to now.
(Fan asks if he is putting money in himself): “Yes.”
“We are managing the club and bringing funds in, the commercial side of things is doing more, the hotel is doing well, but the club loses money and will do until we move up the league, I think.
“Or, as I keep saying, if more fans came in and we had 23,000 here – as we had against Peterborough, as opposed to 13,000 - then it would help to eradicate the loss. That is a key element in this club as well as the commercial side.
“For example, we are talking about bringing in a couple of concerts into the stadium next year. We haven’t had any for several years and if they come in, it brings substantial income.
“We are looking at every way, whether it will be hospitality, sponsorship, bums on seats – that’s the way we have got to be to bring up revenues.
“If I had 23,000 fans and could charge the same as Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City then yes, we’d break even, but as we all know the seats here are not as expensive.
“We need to have our costs under control and bring in more revenues, supporters, hospitality and the hotel, it’s still a very difficult task."


A lot of short-term debt. Where do we stand?
“In my research, in terms of debts or creditors we are substantially less than other clubs in the Championship.
“We have BluMarble, which has been resolved with a substantially lower figure than has been mentioned in the press, the PBP Ltd is the equivalent of having a mortgage on your house – we have a charge on our hotel and there are no other creditors, other than trade creditors, and Brett Warburton who you identified. We have an arrangement from when he put the money in that we have to pay him so much by March next year if we don’t sell that part of the training ground. That’s it.

How much money did we get by being promoted, and why didn’t it pay off BluMarble?
“If it had been enough to pay BluMarble, it may have done, but the money you get for being promoted you actually get for being in the Championship. There is no promotion money as such.
“In League One you receive £1.7-1.8m from the EFL, in the Championship you get £4-5m, and that is spread over 12 months. I wish they said on the first of August ‘here’s £5m’ but they don’t."

Arsenal and Rob Holding – why did you ask for early payment, was there a problem with cashflow?
“It helps, but if they hadn’t have done it, it would have been tougher.
“The money for Rob Holding’s appearances could have taken one year to come through, or if he isn’t playing it could have taken 10 years. It’s unlikely to be 10 but it could have been four or five years.
“I took the view that it was better to reach an agreement with Arsenal and bring that forward, do a slight discount on that, and they did.

Any more bonuses in the Holding deal?
“There are still monies due from Arsenal and if they sell him we are due a substantial sell-on.
“I’m not allowed to go into it because the clubs signed a confidentiality agreement."

You are a businessman, why are you still here?
“Good question, it’s one my wife asks me. I’m obviously mad.
“I enjoy it and I want to make this club successful again. As much as all of you I got a real buzz when we got promoted last season. To have been involved in getting a team promoted which was in an embargo, it had never been done as far as I’m aware, at the first attempt.
“Sheffield United are doing really well this year but they were in League One for six years trying to get out.
“I don’t think I have missed a home game other than maybe Christmas last year. This season I haven’t missed any away games, and I didn’t last season, so I go to nearly every game. Since I have been here I’ve probably missed four or five and that’s because I wasn’t in the country."

We’d all love to see 25,000 fans in the stadium. What about your pricing policy?
Bradford’s prices are lower. Hospitality prices are too high.
“The hospitality costs are, to a certain extent, beyond my control. It has been a bone of contention with me, as you know, the hospitality and catering here but it was a contract I inherited and we will see it out.
“At the beginning of the season we looked at the cost of our season tickets, our hospitality, compared to the clubs in and around us and we think we’re very competitive with that.
“Bradford are League One anyway. But one of the problems at Bradford is Ok they get these crowds – and MK Dons is another good example – but they give a lot of tickets away. They try and get the atmosphere but it’s not a commercial way to go. I could give away 10,000 tickets tonight but it isn’t going to improve this club to bring in players or add financial sustainability.
“At the moment we are struggling to make this club self-sufficient financially and if we start reducing prices it’s going to make it even more difficult.
“Even if you manage to bring in another 10,000, if you actually managed to get them in and I don’t think we would every week anyway, it doesn’t cover what the costs are. It’s a balancing act.

ACV lifted on the car parks, if they are built on, where will we park?
“The club don’t own the car parks. The car parks were sold long before I came. It doesn’t make any difference and that’s probably one of the reasons why it was lifted. The car parks are owned by PBP Ltd, the same as the offices. The area we own is the stadium, one of the car parks and the hotel."

Last season the players' bonuses were an issue, will it be this time around?
“The bonuses were me standing my ground and taking a stance. If we go back to the question I got a while ago which asked: If we get promoted, do we get a big bonus?
“What we get is a third more money the following year. We have to make sure we deal with it better this year than last but the players don’t get any money until the end of the year. As a club, we don’t get anything from the EFL until August. Paying out bonuses in June is very difficult when you have got no income and no cash flow. That’s something I inherited last season as well, as most of the bonuses were on big, long contracts agreed before I was here."

Are we looking towards a stadium name-change?
“The answer is yes. We are coming towards the end of our Macron naming rights. Discussions are going on both with Macron and others.
“At the moment nothing has been decided but as we know it’s significant income having the naming rights to a stadium and, again, I don’t think the contract that we’ve had here was the best or most commercial I have ever seen. It is similar to some of the other commercial contracts I inherited.
“They may renew. Or we may look for someone else.
(Asked how long the deal has to run) “Let’s say that we talked about the concerts earlier and I am not sure when we are promoting it that we will be calling it the Macron Stadium. It might be called the Bolton Wanderers Stadium.
“I spoke with Paul Aldridge just before we came in and asked how we’d promote it and to be honest I don’t know the answer. It’s a moveable feast. But if anyone wants to pay £10m I’ll speak to you later."

Are commercial negotiations tied to which division we will be playing in next season?
“Every sponsorship deal or naming rights deal you have, the figures always revolve around which league you play in. It comes in automatically."

Realistically in January how much money will be required to fortify the club?
“How long is a piece of string? I’m told Sunderland won’t have any money – they may find some – but I understand the manager was told he would not get any money for bringing in players. It may change.
“Clubs panic, as we saw in the Premiership last year when Palace went and spent £14m in January. They are still bottom of the league at the moment. Spending money doesn’t necessarily get you up, as we’re seeing at the moment with Derby.
“My aim to to ensure that we finish 21st or above, try and get sustainability and stay in this league, and then go again next year."

We should be organising more concerts.
“Having looked at this in many roles for about 15 years, there are a catalogue of clubs who have lost money doing concerts. It depends on whether you do it as a venue hire or as a promoter. Experience tells us that you have to make sure you get it right. It’s very easy to lose money if the weather it like it is tonight or something goes wrong. It is the same for boxing matches, if you get a wet and windy night then it’s a problem.
“The reason we didn’t do it last year is that we were probably too late to the table. These things are usually booked a year ahead. Also, we have taken a long time thinking about how we would do it and make sure we don’t lose money."

Worst comes to the worst, what is the financial contingency if the club is relegated?
“One, I don’t think we’ll go down. Two, the contingency is unlike our predecessors when we signed players we have offered short-term contracts to ensure we never got into the situation where, again, I mention Ben Amos. He was on a very long contract and I feel it wasn’t sustainable in the Championship, let alone League One.
“My job is not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
“People won’t be happy and we have missed out on two or three players because we won’t give them a three or four year contract at the same salary. We don’t want to go back to where we were and I don’t think we’ll find someone like Ed Davies again who’s prepared to lose £200m.
“I don’t think about going down but there is a business plan there with what commitments we have, salaries and things. My view is that eight weeks ago when people were calling for the head of the manager, it was doom and gloom, if I’d done a knee-jerk reaction it would have been gone. I had confidence in the manager and the squad and I still have that. I still know this is a bloody difficult league and there are no easy games but I looked at the fixture list tonight and everyone has difficult games, not only ours.
“This is a league which will go right to the end but we have a squad. Last year we had injuries, which have been well-commented on. On Friday night I spent time listening to Peter Risdale moaning about injuries and that he has got four or five players out. He has them out for three or four weeks – we had them out for 12-15 months in one player’s case.
“This season we ended up with two of our better players, or those we’re relying on for creativity, and they didn’t play until our 10th game. Sammy and Josh make a big difference to the team creativity-wise, and we’ve seen that in the last six games.

What about Mark Davies’s future?
“He is still rehabilitating here.
(Asked if he will get back playing) “In my opinion, no, but players never give up and they proive doctors and surgeons wrong, let alone me. I hope he does, I hope he gets through it and proves me to be wrong and everyone wrong."

Where do you see yourself in five years?
“in an ideal world I’d like to see myself and this club in the Premier League but I’ve watched how long it takes and whether I’m still around in five years, getting older, I don’t know.
“I hope that the club is there and as I have always said investors must show they can come in and take it to that next level, “The facilities and the infrastructure to be in the Premier League, this club has it all.
“I see people offering to buy other clubs, and Preston is a good example, it is up for sale, but this club has far better facilities and stadium than them.
“it is the same with Bournemouth – and I am not saying there is anything wrong with Preston or Bournemouth – but it is a fraction of our size.
“There is no God-given reason that we can just take it.”

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Sluffy

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One thing that wasn't mentioned in Iles FULL transcript was what was reported by Chris Manning in his LoV report of the night -

KA states that he came on board to join Dean in takeover at last minute without doing due diligence. Alleges he relied on a number of promises made by Dean and Mike Collins that turned out to not be true.

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I've no idea if Iles had censored his FULL report - in which case it wasn't a FULL report and thus his headline was untrue OR Chris had made up some fake news - if so why?

Maybe someone who could properly hear the Iles video of the event could please confirm which is correct.

Thank you.

Growler


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
KA “At the moment I’m more concerned to trying to get back to 20-23,000 fans"

The only way of getting those crowds at Bolton is playing in the Premier League but that will obviously require millions being spent by the owner to get there.

It seems to me that Ken doesn't understand the size of the club's support base

4 Confused.com on Thu Nov 23 2017, 16:31

Wanderers for 45


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
Anderson brought out a glossy brochure out in September for a few weeks then took the club off the Market.
So who’s the mystery billionaire who was well up for it then it went quiet and he heard his assets had been frozen.
Sounds like bullshit. Surely if the guy had done as KA said his due diligence KA would have his phone number or someone who this guy had hired to help with the takeover of the club. His reply I heard his assets were frozen sounds like he’s full of it.
Why bring out the brochure then weeks later take it off the market. Somethings not right.

Growler


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
It was strange for Ken to give an interview saying the club was for sale and then change his mind and say the club wasn't for sale the week after.
My view is that Ken would sell today if he could make a few million from the deal.
Perhaps with the club at the bottom  of the league, needing togetherness and fighting spirit from the players, Ken felt it was disloyal for the owner to be openly hawking the club round making it clear he wanted out? It would be a reason for players to throw the towel in and just go through the motions of drawing their wages if the owner was openly wanting out.

Sluffy

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It did all seem a bit odd when the 'taster' brochure was commissioned - then sort of denied - there's obviously some sort of a story around that, that's not been fully explained. Growler gives a reasonable explanation though.

As for billionaires having their assets frozen - as unbelievably as it may seem, it does happen.

Over on WanderersWays the Ukrainian businessman Ihor Kolomoisky has been mentioned and he's certainly a billionaire, involved with football (FC Dnipro) who because of legal battles has had huge amounts of his assets frozen.

I can't find anything this year where it ties in with the timescale Anderson states about the billionaire he was involved in - but they both live in Switzerland so whose to say they aren't aware of each other?

There's also been a purge in Saudi Arabia around the time of Anderson's man's asset's being frozen - of mega rich princes and businessmen - for corruption - so no doubt many proposed deals across the word collapsed when they got potted - maybe Anderson's deal was one of them - who knows?

Many people seemed to buy into the billionaire Roger Tamraz trying to buy the club from Davies - it all sounded bollocks to me - so why are people so disbelieving of Anderson's billionaire this time round?

I guess I'm one of those who will believe a billionaire wants to buy our club when in happens but I don't doubt Anderson wants to sell and why not get a billionaire interested if you can!

Good luck to him doing it though.

Wanderers for 45


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
Kolomaisky, don’t think so. He wouldn’t pass the Football leagues Ownership requirements.Apparantley been involved in hits and murders although never proved.
Can’t see it being him. Who knows though.

Sluffy

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Wanderers for 45 wrote:Kolomaisky, don’t think so. He wouldn’t pass the Football leagues Ownership requirements.Apparantley been involved in hits and murders although never proved.
Can’t see it being him. Who knows though.

I wasn't actually saying it was him but rather using him as an example of a billionaire having assets frozen.

But as you say - you never know!

Wanderers for 45


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
Wasn’t getting at you mate,just you mentioned it had been said on Wanderers Way. There’s nothing on his assets being frozen and he is the owner of Dnipro in Ukraine, I’m sure they got to the Europa Leauge final a few seasons back. But he sounds shady. But I’ll take any billionaires money.
Ken Anderson is a clown if he thinks 23-000 will turn out on a Tuesday night with Champion leagues on TV.
When we played Aston Villa in the 1st leg of the Leauge Cup Semi Final when JJ Okocho scored that Wonder free kick there was 16-000 on for a semi final. Not sure how many Villa brought but it was on TV and 16-000 was shockingly shit for a Semi Final.

Wanderers for 45


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
16-302, for a semi final. Team including Djorkaeff,Campo,Stelios,and JJ Okocha Also jussi super Kevin Davies. What a pathetic turn out. For one of the finest matches ever played at the Reebok.
13-000 v Reading second from bottom to be expected.

Sluffy

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Wanderers for 45 wrote:Wasn’t getting at you mate,just you mentioned it had been said on Wanderers Way. There’s nothing on his assets being frozen and he is the owner of Dnipro in Ukraine, I’m sure they got to the Europa Leauge final a few seasons back. But he sounds shady. But  I’ll take any billionaires money.
Ken Anderson is a clown if he thinks 23-000 will turn out on a Tuesday night with Champion leagues on TV.
When we played Aston Villa in the 1st leg of the Leauge Cup Semi Final when JJ Okocho scored that Wonder free kick there was 16-000 on for a semi final. Not sure how many Villa brought but  it was on TV and 16-000 was shockingly shit for a Semi Final.

See this link - (dated April 2016)

One of Ukraine's business tycoons Ihor Kolomoisky is among four prominent businessmen facing a $380 million worldwide freezing order that ties up property including his luxury French villa, months after he settled a multi-billion-pound claim in an unrelated case in British courts.

Ihor Kolomoisky and fellow billionaire Hennadiy Boholiubov are accused by Tatneft, a Russian oil company, of illegally seizing control of a refinery joint venture in Ukraine and siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars into their shell companies, according to documents filed at a London court. Two wealthy associates of the Ukrainians were named by state-controlled Tatneft in the suit that is seeking more than $334 million from the men.
"This is a stale claim, concerning historic events," Ali Malek, Boholiubov's lawyer, said in a London court Friday. "We submit there is a real possibility that the claim is time-barred."
The order signed by a London judge includes assets like a private jet, a boat and properties in England and France.
Kolomoisky's French villa, which sits on one hectare, and another 50 acres in the Haute Savoie region is part of the order.
Several of Boholiubov's expensive London properties are subject to the order, including a house on Belgrave Square near the gates of Buckingham Palace worth over 4 million pounds ($5.7 million) according to property website Zoopla. The March 22 order permits the men to have as much as 5,000 pounds ($7,190) in weekly living expenses.
As reported, Tatneft confirmed the suit against the two men as well as Oleksandr Yaroslavsky and Pavlo Ovcharenko. They are accused of fraudulently taking money in 2009 that the Tatneft was entitled to for oil shipped to the Kremenchuk refinery, the company said in a statement. Ovcharenko didn't have lawyers present at Friday's court hearing.
Lawyers for Boholiubov and Kolomoisky didn't immediately comment on the lawsuit. A spokesman for the Ukrtatnafta refinery, where Ovcharenko is the chief executive officer, declined to comment on his behalf. A spokesperson for Yaroslavsky declined to immediately comment.
Kolomoisky is one of Ukraine's most influential businessmen and was Dnipropetrovsk regional governor until 2015.

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I agree with you with Anderson having totally unrealistic crowd expectations from us Bolton fans but I think it's more to do with hopefully thinking people are willing to put their hand in their pockets - and put themselves physically out - to help the club financially - now!

History shows us that this simply doesn't happen.

The crowds will come if we are successful - but even then they will drop off over time!

Wanderers for 45


Mario Jardel
Mario Jardel
We are the 18 th best average support with 15-346 behind us are QPR,PNE,Barnsley,Millwall,Brentford,Burton.
Leeds are top averaging over 32-000 with Villa on 29-000,Sunderland 27-707 Wolves 27-031,then Sheff W,Derby Sheff U on 26-000,then Norwich Notts Forest n Boro averaging 25-000.
Birmingham on 20-000, Bristol C19-000,Cardiff19-000 Fulham 18-000 Reading 17-000 Ipswich 16-000 Hull 15848, Bolton 15-641 QPR 14-345 PNE 13-829 Barnsley13-547 Millwall 12-457 Brentford 9-791 Burton 4782.
So there we have it. If it was just support Leeds would be Champions.Sunderland are 3 Rd Best supposed But Bottom.

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