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Counting the cost: Administrators lay Wanderers' complex finances bare

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ORGANISATIONS and individuals across the town are now counting the heavy cost of Bolton Wanderers’ financial mismanagement, we can reveal.
Nearly 300 creditors have been listed in an administrators’ report detailing the level of debts which have spiralled out of control at the football club in recent years.
Most will now be left out of pocket as Bolton look to relaunch themselves under new ownership in the hope of a more stable future.
Wanderers were placed into administration on May 13 and are said to be close to confirming new ownership in the form of the Football Ventures consortium. But the fall-out from Ken Anderson’s controversial three-year spell in charge was laid out in full in a 35-page document viewed by The Bolton News.

Before the takeover can be completed agreements must first be finalised to repay secured creditors, including Anderson, and the family of late owner, Eddie Davies, whose affairs are being managed by the Fildraw Trust.

The report states, however, there has been a discrepancy between the level of debt showing in company accounts and that being claimed.

“The amount outstanding to Fildraw in respect of these borrowings is disclosed in the company’s records as £10,050,000,” it reads. “However, it should be noted that Fildraw believes the sum outstanding in this regard is circa £17m.
 
Anderson’s fixed floating charge over the company’s assets was created on September 27 and October 2, 2018 and totals £1,578,042, according to company accounts. The report adds: “It should be noted that Mr Anderson believes the sum outstanding in this regard is circa £7.5m.”

Former vice chairman Brett Warburton is also owed £3,064,213, including interest, which was secured against land at the club’s Lostock training ground. 

Wanderers are also obliged to repay 100 per cent of so-called ‘Football Creditor’ debts, which include unpaid wages to players and coaching staff, to come out of administration. That bill currently comes to £2,747,122.

Numerous unsecured creditors are not so fortunate, though, even though the report gives a relatively optimistic forecasted return of 35 pence for every pound owed once the process is completed. 

“It is too early at this stage to give a precise figure on the likely level of distributions to the unsecured non-preferential creditors,” it reads. “However, on the basis that the pending sale of the business and assets is completed, then it is anticipated that a dividend of circa 35p in the pound will become payable to unsecured creditors.”
Nearly £25million is owed to businesses large and small, including a whopping £1,748,724 to Bolton Council for rates and other services. If the 35p dividend is correct, they would stand to lose out on just over £1.1m of the money outstanding.

HMRC will also be hit significantly. They are owed £2,470,461 but stand to recoup £864,661.

Smaller businesses and charities will be hit hard too.
Several host families, who have looked after the club’s scholars since the start of last season, are not classified as football creditors.
Surrey-based Cardiac Risk in the Young, who worked with ex-Bolton star Fabrice Muamba following his collapse on the pitch in 2012, are owed £2,950.
St John Ambulance (£6,950), North West Ambulance (£22,166) and Greater Manchester Police (£18,543) are also on the list, as are the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust (£8,462).

PJSL Limited, a company owned in part by Paul Aldridge – who worked as Ken Anderson and the club’s consultant since the summer of 2016 – is owed £169,800.

The Athos Group, owned by a family member of Anderson believed to be his son Lee, also registers a debt of £45,000.


The administrators’ report gave a snapshot of the club’s financial state before their appointment and revealed a trading loss of £361,974 since the start of admin on May 13. That figure was improved slightly by the recent Rod Stewart concert, which injected just over £40,000 into the coffers, plus the sale of Luca Connell to Celtic.

Wanderers initially had around £1m in the bank account when they were frozen on March 15 and, states the report, there was a “real threat of the company being placed into compulsory liquidation” on the administrators’ arrival around eight weeks ago.

After it was decided the business could not be rescued as a going concern without a major injection of funds, work began on marketing, and the creation of a ‘data room’ to allow interested parties to do due diligence.

It has been revealed that only one party paid the £25,000 fee but that five initial offers were received. Best and final offers were then requested by 4pm on June 12.

Football Ventures, a consortium comprised of London-based businesspeople Sharon Brittan and Jeff Thomas and Michael James, who is a secured creditor of the adjoining Bolton Whites Hotel, were named as preferred bidders and had to pay a non-refundable deposit of £1million for the purposes of “meeting future critical payments necessary for preparing the club for the forthcoming season”.

The deal has yet to be completed but is said to be worth just over £24m in total.

It has also been estimated that just under £1million will be due in administrators’ and associated professional fees.

https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/sport/17762162.counting-cost-administrators-lay-wanderers-complex-finances-bare/

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