Despite staving off administration twice over in months prior, Bolton Wanderers finally met that dreaded fate on May 8. Since then, the club has been nothing but a disaster. With no potential owners stepping up to buy the team, and an unpaid tax bill of at least £1.2 million, things are looking dire.
Beyond the general doubt over the future of the club, and the fact that they will start next season in League One with a 12-point deduction from day one, perhaps the worst part of the administration crisis has been the very real effect on the players and coaches, who have not been paid for work dating back to April—four months of unpaid labor.
In a joint statement given to the Guardian, the players and coaching staff admonished the administration process, saying that they were promised pay from the administrative staff, but so far have yet to see anything materialize:
As we have stated in a previous statement, all this has caused severe mental and emotional stress, affecting both our professional and personal lives, and this has now only increased. Certain individuals are in need of support and none has been forthcoming from the club.
With the new season looming, it is becoming impossible to prepare correctly for the challenge ahead. Contracted players and staff have returned to what they hoped would be a resolved situation and a fresh start for everyone.
They have undertaken their duties and obligations with diligence and professionalism but how long is it reasonable for us to do so without being paid?
Previously, club officials had set up an “emergency food bank” to help out non-playing staff during the initial run of missed payments. That was back in May, and two months later there is still no payment on the horizon for either players or staff. Speaking to TalkSPORT, left back Andrew Taylor said the club has also not had hot water for showers or even just plain drinking water at the training grounds.
And just as it did at the end of last season, the financial mess at Bolton has started to affect on-field performance. Citing “severe mental and emotional stress,” the players and coaches have refused to play in Friday’s friendly match against Chester. Chester, a team in England’s sixth division, put out a statement on their site, essentially pitying a club three tiers above them in the English soccer pyramid:
We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and wish the players, supporters and staff at Bolton Wanderers the best of luck as they search for a resolution in a difficult time for their great football club.
With the first games of the 2019-20 League One season set to begin in the first week of August (Bolton’s first game is on August 3rd, away to Wycombe), there is not much time to resolve the unpaid wages problem before it once again begins to affect official, competitive games. If there isn’t a new owner by the start of the season, one who pays players and coaches in a timely fashion, the club could be in for a repeat of April’s forfeit against Brentford. Not every club survives administration, and Bolton are teetering closer to doomsday with every passing, unpaid week.