Months of torture, the valiant young players in desperate need of some reinforcements, season tickets still unsold, the idea of putting the whole thing off until next month looked to be the worst possible scenario.
But inside the Manchester Civil Justice Centre a narrative quickly unfolded, one which isolated the scrap between Ken Anderson and Laurence Bassini as being separate to that of the club.
Plenty of muck was chucked around the courtroom in both directions – but the net result was that Wanderers’ parent company, Burnden Leisure Limited, was released from the injunction which should now pave the way for a takeover to be completed.
The pressure is now shifted on to Football Ventures and the administrators, who claimed the deal was a matter of minutes away before Bassini’s late intervention last Thursday.
One might argue that if Bassini is successful on September 2 then the decision could leave any potential owner at the football club open to challenge. That, in many respects, is a bridge that will have to be crossed when the club comes to it.
The question on the lips of every Bolton fan now is: “Do Football Ventures have the resources to complete the deal, or are we back to square one?”
Bassini has been desperate to make his point, having felt wronged by Anderson during their dealings in April. Wednesday’s court case enabled his story to be trotted out, so to speak, in chronological order. He claimed he had been given approval from ex-EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey for his initial takeover, which had been a stipulation of the initial SPA signed in April.
The fee involved was £1 with a further £199,999 contingent on accounts being unfrozen.
“It is rather that the goal post was moved when Mr Anderson tried to extort further money from the claimant saying he would put the club into liquidation and out of existence,” said his legal representative, Mark Budworth.
“Mr Bassini address that – by May 1, Mr Harvey had confirmed the league’s position didn’t represent any impediment.
“On the same day Mr Anderson got wind – what we do see if that on May 1 that Mr Anderson had threatened to put the club into liquidation but wouldn’t do so if a payment was made from Mr Bassini – ‘if you don’t give me £5million today I’ll put the club into administration’ to which Mr Bassini said ‘**** *** or I’ll report you’.”
Bassini also claimed he offered unsecured creditors 100 pence in the pound should his takeover – funded by a company owned by West Ham United vice-chairman David Sullivan – go ahead.
Walker Morris, acting on behalf of Anderson’s company, Inner Circle Investments, disputed his claim and presented a written statement on the morning of the trial from EFL lawyer Nick Craig, which claimed Bassini was never given approval.
Among those who also presented written statements on the defence’s behalf were Paul Aldridge and Sir Dave Richards, although the more new evidence was presented, the less the hearing looked like being resolved on the day.
In summation, Judge Eyre said there had been "unintentional misrepresentation" on behalf of Bassini’s legal aides after he gained the injunction last Thursday, which brought about some confusion about the reach of the order.
He made clear that Burnden Leisure Limited would be struck from the wording of the document, effectively allowing the club to be sold.
“To allow this to continue as a weapon or bargaining tool is not appropriate,” he said.