Chairman Ken Anderson addresses the club's supporters on bwfc.co.uk
There have been some comments on social media sites and in the press about the sale of Zach Clough last Tuesday, which are fully justified and are only to be expected bearing in mind my previous comments about him and Josh Vela.
As previously stated, I am having to make some very difficult and unpleasant decisions to try and achieve a sustainable business plan for the club and hotel going forward.
Obviously, like everyone else, I was extremely disappointed to see Zach leave, but Nottingham Forest were very persistent in their pursuit of him and after rejecting their initial approaches, the ever increasing sums of money being offered to both Zach and the club, I had to weigh up the financial benefits for the club of selling him and regrettably, following Dean’s refusal last week to contribute any funds to financially support the club, alongside me, I was left with no alternative but to try and reach the best deal possible with Forest.
Over a number of calls and many hours of negotiations to ensure that we got a substantial portion of the fee paid immediately with further bonuses and a future sell on fee, I reluctantly agreed for Zach, his father and agent to meet with them.
I would mention that despite all the comments made by people who have no knowledge of what the fee was, or how we were selling off the 'crown jewels ' Forest were the only club who made an offer.
Furthermore, at no time did Zach ever put any pressure on the manager, or me personally, to let him leave. However, Zach's departure has greatly helped the club’s current financial position and also gave us the ability to freshen up the squad and bring in a number of players which also gives us other options, in the style of play, we now have and hopefully will help us achieve our target of promotion this season.
We all have a great deal to thank Zach for, both on and off the field, and I feel sure, like me, you wish him all the best for the future.
The accounts for 2015 – a period covering the year prior to Dean and my involvement with the club – were filed on Tuesday. I would like to draw your attention to the notes to the accounts which refer to the post balance sheet events. I will explain these in more detail in due course.
As I have previously mentioned, my aim this season is to try and get promotion back to the Championship but, at the same time, to try to achieve a fully funded, sustainable business plan which will ensure the future of the club going forward.
Unfortunately, this entails me making decisions that, as I already have said, may be unpleasant and continuing to look at our cost base and in particular, review long term existing contracts that are not commercially favourable to the club, with the likes of Macron, Heathcote & Co, energy suppliers, several agents and professional advisors.
As I have said in the past, our actions to date have already saved the club hundreds of thousands of pounds, but I am hopeful we can increase this to several millions, which will go a long way to securing the club’s future. As they say though, 'Rome was not built in a day'.
We have also suffered both on and off the field this season with several of our 'big hitter' players being not available through season-long injuries.
The financial cost of this to the club has been circa £4m. To put this in to perspective, the Premier League last week released an article on the cost of injured players to Premier League clubs and we would have ranked in the top 10 - something hopefully which we can avoid going forward. Please feel free to read that article by CLICKING HERE.
Suzanne Speak and her team are continuing to work tirelessly to help drive revenue for the hotel despite the challenging circumstances. The versatility of our venue will be superbly showcased with plenty of events lined up over the coming months.
TV stars from a popular soap opera will be in the Premier Suite for the ‘Dancing With The Dales’ charity event on May 5, while also in May there will be ‘An Evening With Anthony Joshua’ dinner.
With other events including an ‘80s music night and a White Collar Boxing tournament, make sure you follow Bolton Whites on their various social media channels (Twitter @BoltonWhitesHtl and Facebook/BoltonWhitesHotel) to keep up to date with what is taking place here at Macron Stadium.
As has been well reported, at the end of the season, we will have a number of players whose contracts come to an end, which will enable us to renegotiate and also bring in a new batch of players on a more sustainable cost basis.
Our budget this season, at circa £10m, is amongst the highest in Sky Bet League One and indeed the Championship, and it is imperative that going forward, we control our squad budget and work within a framework that is financially sustainable.
We are currently in discussions with the council about the level of rates that we as a business are paying, which is circa half a million pounds per annum for the hotel and almost a million pounds for the stadium in 2017 – each more than double that of other local hotels and football stadia of a comparable size.
If we are successful with these negotiations, we could save several millions of pounds from previous, current and future payments. This alone would go a long way to securing our aim of a sustainable business plan. I hope the press and supporters will get behind us on this quest.
The biggest challenge of all will be reaching a solution with Blu Marble and Sports Shield which could, in my opinion, save us several millions of pounds, but this is likely to go to litigation and unfortunately, may take several years to finalise.
For the record, I would also like to mention that I took no part in the original discussions with Blu Marble. Furthermore, the club does not have an agreement with Blu Marble; it has an agreement with Sports Shield and I am currently disputing the validity of this.
We are extremely fortunate and grateful for the support and patience we have had and are continuing to receive from our trading partners, which is essential to the future of the club.
The support of our season ticket holders and all our supporters has not only helped us on and off the field to date, but will continue to play a major part in us trying to achieve promotion this season.
I am delighted meanwhile to have accepted an invitation to be a guest at the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association event on March 1. Please visit www.mybwsa.co.uk for more information about the evening and how to become a member if you aren’t one already.
Please continue to support us and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to come along and get behind us, starting this Saturday for our game against Walsall, which is closely followed by our neighbours Rochdale on Tuesday evening.
As always, let’s be loud, let’s be proud and let’s get behind the boys.