The winger cancelled the last 12 months of his contract after going unpaid since February and is now looking for a new club.
Speaking for the first time since his departure, the former Newcastle United man said he felt players had been misled about Wanderers’ dire financial position in the final few weeks of the season.
Reassurances had been made by the club’s former owner, Ken Anderson, about his ability to pay salaries to players, coaches and non-football staff in March and April which did not materialise, leading Ameobi to look towards the exit door.
“I never thought it would come to this,” he told The Bolton News. “I don’t think any of us did. But we were not being told the truth.
“People have to protect themselves, protect their families. But it should never have got to that stage.
“Bolton are a club I owe a lot to. I had started to take football for granted. They gave me a second chance. I’ll always respect that.
“I am grateful to the club, grateful to the manager, grateful to the players who played with me, and especially the fans. It is such a shame it came to this, but I didn’t have a choice.”
Ameobi explained that the breaking point came a week before the Brentford game when players were told money was being accessed from frozen accounts to pay overdue wages, but only on the proviso that they withdrew a written complaint to the EFL which threatened to put the club under a 12-month transfer embargo.
“We were continually being told lies, or at least that’s how it felt,” he said. “We were being asked to stay patient, told that something was happening, told that accounts were being unfrozen and that there was money to pay wages, but nothing.
“They wanted us to stop the process with the EFL, so we gave them an extra week to get things done. That was the last straw for me.
“To be honest, there were players who didn’t want to give them that. But for the sake of the staff who were not on the sort of wages that we earn, we decided among us that we should give them one last chance.
“It was at that point I knew it was time to move on.”
Ameobi comes from a footballing family with two brothers – Shola and Tomi also playing professionally – so could draw upon plenty of good advice as he pondered long and hard over his decision to quit.
“My family have been very important, and I have spoken to them a lot through all this,” he said. “They knew what was going on, they knew how tough it had been and they have my best interests at heart, as does my agent.
“It wasn’t a choice I took lightly.”
Wanderers’ plight really hit the national headlines when players voted to go on strike with the support of the PFA, forcing a home game against Brentford to be postponed.
The EFL eventually awarded a 1-0 walkover win to Bolton’s opponents after failing to reschedule the game and must now decide in the coming weeks what – if any – punishment is bestowed on the club’s next owners.
It was the first match ever to be shelved because of industrial action and Ameobi said players were aware of the gravitas of the situation.
“We were aware of how big the decision was – but people have to see it from our point of view,” he said. “It had been going on for so long, it had drained us all.
“I have never played with a nicer group of lads, good, honest people, not an ego among any of them. The owner took advantage of that, I think.
“We got to the point where we all had to take a stand. We have them chance after chance to make amends.
“It’s a testament to the lads that it didn’t happen sooner. They were given so many warnings but people have to look after themselves and their families.”
Ameobi believes Wanderers will be better-off under new ownership and hopes the club will recover quickly in League One.
“For a big club with such history to be brought down by one man, taking it to this point, it is a huge shame,” he said.
“But I think you have to look forward. I’m hoping that once you get through the administration process that things will be sorted and that the club can return to the level it deserves to be.
“With Ken Anderson gone the whole place can move on.”
Ameobi had been strongly linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but laughed off suggestion he is about to start playing his football in Asia.
“I’m not sure where that came from,” he said. “I have been on holiday with a couple of friends to Japan and China, I’ve been to the embassy, but I haven’t got plans to play over there.
“I’ve no idea what’s next, to be honest, but I’ll leave it in the hands of my agent and hopefully push on next season.”