Ev­ery­thing seems to be for sale at Bolton af­ter High Court ad­journ­ment

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Stu­art Ham­monds

THE trans­fer win­dow has been open for three weeks, so Bolton Wan­der­ers boss Neil Len­non can ex­pect post­match press con­fer­ence ques­tions about sales.

In the Trot­ters’ cur­rent dire sit­u­a­tion, how­ever, the as­sets aren’t just the play­ers made avail­able for cut-price, fire-sale fees – like mid­fielder Mark Davies and striker Zach Clough – but car parks and train­ing grounds.

A mas­sive £172m in debt, though owner Ed­die Davies is writ­ing off most of that to get the club he has stopped fund­ing off his hands, the Trot­ters cel­e­brated two big wins this week.

The first came in the High Court on Mon­day when a wind­ing-up pe­ti­tion, brought by HM Rev­enue & Cus­toms over an un­paid tax bill of £2.2m, was ad­journed for five weeks to en­able the club’s fi­nan­cial ad­viser, Trevor Birch, to seek fresh in­vest­ment.


The fol­low­ing night, against Non-League Eastleigh, there was a 3-2 come-from-be­hind vic­tory – only Len­non’s side’s third of the sea­son – to see the Cham­pi­onship’s bot­tom club through to the FA Cup fourth round.

Bolton missed out on a £72,000 fee for live TV cov­er­age, with the BBC and BT Sport send­ing their cam­eras else­where, but were grate­ful to bank the £67,500 from the FA’s prize fund and will wel­come Leeds’ fa­mous trav­el­ling sup­port next Satur­day.

Asked if a Cup run could lift the mood at a club where staff weren’t paid on time this week, Len­non – who dipped into his own pocket to pay some – said: “A win can lift ev­ery­one. So, get­ting into the fourth round, it’s a lit­tle bit of a fi­nan­cial boost as well and, hope­fully, we’ll get a big crowd with Leeds com­ing.

“Any money through the door is fan­tas­tic. There were player deals go­ing to hap­pen, but didn’t.

“We’ve had a re­prieve from the ad­journ­ment to late Fe­bru­ary, so it gives the club time to get funds in, and ev­ery lit­tle bit helps.”

More used to field­ing ques­tions about Cham­pi­ons League op­po­nents in his last job at Scot­tish gi­ants Celtic, Len­non is now be­ing asked if there is any news of po­ten­tial buy­ers for the car park link­ing the sta­dium with neigh­bour­ing Mid­dle­brook Retail Park.

“Not that I’m aware of,” said the 44-year-old for­mer Le­ices­ter City and North­ern Ire­land mid­fielder on Tues­day night. “I’m aware there are bits and pieces the club are try­ing to sell. We’ve just got to trust Trevor to do the process.

“You are do­ing it day by day, and you’re do­ing it game by game, so it is dif­fi­cult. Ev­ery day brings some­thing else, or some new news. I’d like to say it’s ex­cit­ing, but it’s not. It’s very dif­fi­cult.

“But it’s some­thing I hope to gain a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence from. It’s not ideal, but it’s the re­al­ity of where we are now.”

Sh­effield Wed­nes­day pulled out of a deal to sign Davies, 27, for £750,000, cit­ing con­cerns with his med­i­cal his­tory af­ter Len­non had pulled him out of the orig­i­nal tie at Eastleigh and last week’s league game with the Owls to en­sure the deal went through.

He ap­peared in the re­play, which was won with goals from Gary Ma­dine, Dean Moxey and cap­tain Dar­ren Prat­ley af­ter the Na­tional League vis­i­tors had taken an early lead through Joe Part­ing­ton and then lev­elled at 2-2 on the stroke of half-time.

Davies’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives have said this week that the ex-Wolves man wants to stay at Bolton to the end of the sea­son, but Len­non knows that play­ers will more than likely have to be sold. “Be­tween now and the end of Jan­uary, there will be more in­ter­est, I’m sure,” he added.

“Whether or not bids will come in – there is in­ter­est in play­ers go­ing on loan – and deals are done is an­other thing.

“Ob­vi­ously it makes the job very dif­fi­cult, but the long-term fu­ture of the club is paramount.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BAR­GAIN: Nathan Fox LEARN­ING CURVE: Neil Len­non fielded ques­tions about ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the Macron Sta­dium car park DOOMED DEAL: Mark Davies’ move to Wed­nes­day fell through

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