The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Black­ett

BOLTON may still be deep in rel­e­ga­tion trou­ble in the Cham­pi­onship, but at least they’re breath­ing eas­ier off the pitch now.

As pre­dicted in last week’s The FLP, the Trot­ters, £172.9m in debt, have agreed a takeover with Dean Holdsworth’s Sports Shield con­sor­tium, worth £7.5m.

Last Mon­day, the High Court granted the Trot­ters un­til March 7 to set­tle a £3m tax debt. The takeover, sub­ject to Foot­ball League rat­i­fi­ci­a­tion, was wrapped up min­utes be­fore the hear­ing.

Trevor Birch, ad­vi­sor to the Bolton board, said: “We are con­fi­dent that this ad­journ­ment will give us the nec­es­sary time to con­clude a trans­fer of own­er­ship of the club, sub­ject to ap­proval from the Foot­ball League.”

Al­though the ini­tial takeover fee is £7.5m, the con­sor­tium is ex­pected to pay a fur­ther £12.5m over the next five years, with ex-Bolton striker Holdsworth be­com­ing chair­man.

“We haven’t made false prom­ises, if you make false prom­ises then you let the fans down,” Holdsworth told BBC Ra­dio 5 live. “What we’ve done is shown funds to show that the club won’t go into ad­min­is­tra­tion. The club is alive, breath­ing and has a heart­beat.”

DEAL: Dean Holdsworth

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