The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

YOU have to feel sorry for Dean Holdsworth. When Bolton lay like lep­ers at death’s door, he was the only man will­ing to of­fer sal­va­tion. Now, af­ter a coup by busi­ness part­ner Ken An­der­son, the 48year-old di­rec­tor is about to be turfed out of the board­room. Ex-Trot­ter Holdsworth was the poster boy for the March takeover, a beam­ing, giddy kid promis­ing to in­stal him­self as chair­man and bring the good times back. An­der­son was the guy with the red­dies af­ter Holdsworth had failed to se­cure In­dian back­ing. Yet, from the mo­ment the con­tracts changed hands, Deano was slowly and grad­u­ally side­lined. An­der­son it was who headed the board­room ta­ble. An­der­son it was who ap­pointed Phil Parkin­son, dis­miss­ing Holdsworth’s at­tempt to unite Kevin Nolan and Peter Reid. This week, the Machi­avel­lian ma­noeu­vring cli­maxed with a craftily-planted story that Bolton faced ad­min­is­tra­tion, avertable only if Holdsworth sold his 40 per cent stake to An­der­son. An ex­ag­ger­a­tion? The lack of a de­tailed ex­pla­na­tion cer­tainly sug­gests so. Yet, hav­ing so pub­licly vowed to res­cue the club, Holdsworth was backed into a cor­ner. Check­mate. An­der­son’s mo­tive may well be profit. And the most ob­vi­ous way to max­imise that is a Mi­lan Man­daric-style flip. The for­mer Pom­pey chair­man spe­cialised in buy­ing clubs at rock-bot­tom, re­viv­ing them with min­i­mal in­vest­ment and then sell­ing up for mil­lions. Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, bought for £1 in 2010, went for £30m five years later. For­mer owner Ed­die Davies wrote off £170m worth of debt in sell­ing Bolton to Sports Shield, the front for the An­der­son-Holdsworth takeover. Like Man­daric, they paid just a quid for the priv­i­lege, plus £7.5m in run­ning costs. Now, rel­a­tively debt-free and poised for the Cham­pi­onship, there is clearly money to be made. Ru­mours of Saudi in­vestors sniff­ing round the Macron Sta­dium were swiftly dis­missed by the club a week ago. Even if un­true – and the tim­ing is a re­mark­able co­in­ci­dence – oth­ers should be easy to en­tice. Per­haps I’m do­ing An­der­son a dis­ser­vice. Per­haps he wants con­trol of Bolton’s fi­nances to fund a brave new era. Per­haps not. Time will tell and, if the club thrives, Bolton fans won’t care. They do, though, have much to thank Holdsworth for. He may have been played like a fid­dle but, with­out his ef­forts last win­ter, the Trot­ters might not even ex­ist.

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