Ken’s deals put the Trot­ters on the spot

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - Chris Dunlavy

WELL, it didn’t take Ken An­der­son long to top­ple from his high horse.

Branded a “rogue owner” by For­est Green chair­man Dale Vince fol­low­ing the col­lapse of a trans­fer for Rovers’ striker Chris­tian Doidge, An­der­son primly an­nounced that he “would not lower” him­self to a re­sponse.

Yet 24 hours later, there he was, launch­ing into a bizarre 1,000-word rant on the club web­site and call­ing Vince “one of the strangest peo­ple in foot­ball”.

It’s all good pan­tomime stuff, but the fun and games should not de­tract from the fact an in­no­cent player has been shafted.

Ac­cord­ing to Vince, the loan deal that took Doidge to the Macron in Au­gust con­tained a le­gally-bind­ing agree­ment to make the move per­ma­nent in Jan­uary.

An­der­son, mean­while, says a reg­is­tra­tion em­bargo - the lat­est in an avalanche of se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial is­sues to strike the club dur­ing his own­er­ship means that is now im­pos­si­ble.

Yet if the sanc­tion is a fact be­yond dis­pute, the ethics and be­hav­iour of An­der­son, both in this and other deals, are not.

Em­bar­goes do not ap­pear out of the blue. They re­sult from months, of­ten years, of fi­nan­cial losses and can be fore­cast far in ad­vance.


Al­ready this sea­son, Bolton have failed to pay their play­ers’ monthly salaries on time, failed to pay out­stand­ing pro­mo­tion bonuses to their coach­ing staff and in Septem­ber - just a fort­night after Doidge ar­rived - re­quired a £5m loan from for­mer owner Ed­die Davies to stave off ad­min­is­tra­tion. Even to an out­sider with­out ac­cess to com­pany ac­counts, that does not sound like a club who could af­ford to shell out £1m in Jan­uary. Are we re­ally sup­posed to be­lieve that An­der­son was 100 per cent con­fi­dent that the deal for Doidge would hap­pen? Yet that is clearly what the player was led to be­lieve. With such con­vic­tion, in fact, that he bought a house in Lan­cashire.

Equally con­vinced was Remi Matthews, an­other player signed on a loan-to-per­ma­nent agree­ment when he joined the Trot­ters from Nor­wich in Au­gust. The goal­keeper’s part­ner gave up a full-time job to move north but is now back in Nor­folk after Bolton pulled the plug.

Even if An­der­son could not pre­dict the spe­cific sanc­tion, money was clearly tight enough to cast doubt over both trans­fers.

To have al­lowed such up­heaval with nary a word of cau­tion to ei­ther player was ir­re­spon­si­ble, if not down­right cruel.

In the short-term, at least, Bolton have played a blin­der. Doidge scored once in 17 games, whilst Matthews played just four matches, the last on Oc­to­ber 6.

Both were paid by their par­ent clubs for the priv­i­lege, mean­ing the Trot­ters ef­fec­tively bagged a free trial and then ducked out of po­ten­tially bad sign­ings.

But now, thanks to Vince, the word is out. No sooner had the Rovers chair­man launched his broad­side than Nor­wich re­turned to the fray, re­veal­ing that Bolton owe a six-fig­ure sum in un­paid wages to­wards the salary of loa­nee Yan­nick Wild­schut.

No­body is sug­gest­ing that An­der­son has done any­thing il­le­gal, but there is more than a whiff of sharp prac­tice hov­er­ing over the Macron. In the long-term, the treat­ment of Doidge, Matthews and Nor­wich should en­sure that a prom­ise made by Bolton is treated with the same cyn­i­cism the club have shown ev­ery­one else.

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