On the same day that Bury were officially expelled from the English Football League, Bolton Wanderers have narrowly avoided a similar fate. The club announced on Wednesday that it had been sold to Football Ventures (White) Limited, and thus will avoid expulsion:
Talks between Football Ventures (White) Limited and Bolton’s administrators had broken down prior to the original deadline of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, but the deal was apparently close enough that the EFL gave the club an extra two weeks to close the sale. The parties only needed one extra day, and now the club can at last turn back from the path to financial ruin it had been heading down. Given that the EFL had to approve the bid due to the financial turmoil at the club, it feels safe to say the new owners should have more of a handle on the club’s financials to get everyone back to work.
Now the main problems for Bolton will come on the field. The EFL has already docked the team 12 points from the current League One campaign, and though Bolton were able to play games in the league this season (unlike Bury, who had their matches suspended prior to Wednesday’s expulsion), they started with three losses in four games, playing mostly youth players.
The Wanderers currently sit at -11 points for the season, making them big favorites for relegation. Given the even bleaker forecast prior to the sale, I’m sure Bolton fans would take a potential relegation battle in stride.
Though Bolton are already 12 points from the League One table’s safety zone right now, the transfer window does not end for another week, so the new owners could still bring in new players to make a legitimate stand against the prospect of relegation. The best news is that regardless of what happens on the pitch, Bolton will live to fight another day.