Bolton Wanderers Football Club Fan Forum for all BWFC Supporters.

You are not connected. Please login or register

Why founder members Bolton and Derby show finances must be fixed in EFL

Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Why founder members Bolton and Derby show finances must be fixed in EFL 17861966

It says a lot about the rich heritage of both Bolton Wanderers and Derby County that the two clubs have met more than 90 times in the top-flight, dating back to the very first weekend of the Football League.

Two founder members, both of whom teetered on the brink financial disaster in recent memory, are looking to take another step towards recovery this season by gaining promotion to the Championship.

Today’s game at Pride Park is a sell-out, guaranteeing it will be one of the best-attended games in any division played today. But just over 18 months ago, the famous old club was reportedly on the brink, the expensive gambles taken by former owner Mel Morris leading to administration, points deductions, and a mammoth fire sale of playing talent.

Derby had been 90 minutes away from the riches of the Premier League, making the play-off final under Frank Lampard in May 2019 but defeat against Aston Villa at Wembley proved the start of a rapid decline.

The same month, Bolton were placed into a complex administration which very nearly killed the club off completely before Football Ventures finally completed a deal. Rebuilding from scratch in League Two has been a steady process, but the Whites go to Derby as a club which feels it is in the right shape to take the next step.

Derby were saved last July by local property tycoon David Clowes, after a much-publicised deal with American Chris Kirchner had collapsed at the last moment.

Relegation to League One had already been confirmed but after appointing promotion specialist Paul Warne the Rams finished seventh last year and have firm designs on the automatic spots this time around.

Ian Evatt spent a decade in Derby’s colours as a player, graduating the youth system to play under Jim Smith, John Gregory and George Burley.

The Bolton boss holds great fondness for the club which gave him his professional break and feels both sides on show today should be operating at a higher level.

But with another ex-Premier League side Portsmouth leading the way at the top of the table, Evatt knows reputations and histories will count for nothing as the big names scramble to re-join the elite.

“This game has huge highs and lows and if it were as simple as who spends the most money or who is the biggest club then it would be a boring industry to be in,” he said.

“This game adds complexities, sends people doolally, and that goes for fans, players, owners, people make really rash decisions and huge mistakes.

“A bit like us, Derby were in a place where they almost lost it. That is an absolute travesty that you can talk about two clubs of this size and what they have done in the past.

“From what I understand the owner they have now is a really fantastic guy and is doing really good things to make Derby sustainable again, which is important.

“I have a huge amount of respect for them, and hopefully it is the case vice-versa, but both teams are trying to get out of this league.

“It is not easy. Sunderland were down here for seven years, Ipswich were here for a while, both of them spending vast sums of money. I don’t think there are any outliers this season in terms of spending but it certainly is competitive and it will be right up to the last day, I think.”

Finances outside the top-flight have been a burning issue of late, as the Premier League delayed its decision on a ‘New Deal’ for the EFL.

A reported £900m of support for clubs further down the pyramid is being discussed, although the plan has yet to be given sufficient support and may yet require government intervention in the form of a football regulator.

Examples of overspending and unsustainable finances are commonplace outside the Premier League, not least in the division to which both Bolton and Derby are looking to gain entry.

And whilst Evatt is keen to see an agreement on future funding resolved, he can understand some of the reticence among Premier League clubs to push more money into a broken economy.

“I think there is enough money in the game for everybody to be taken care of but for that to happen there has to be responsible ownership and clubs that are being careful with the money they are provided,” he said.

“It should never be the case where the Premier League is funding the EFL and those clubs are then taking that money and splashing it out on players they can’t afford.

“It should be about creating a sustainable model and giving these clubs financial support so that we never have another Bury, or Bolton, or Derby.

“For that to happen and people to do it responsibly there have to be certain regulations to come into place, in my opinion.”


Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum