I have seen Marc lles’ articles today in the Bolton News which unfortunately are factually incorrect, and not for the first time, and would respond as follows.
Dean Holdsworth and I did not pay £1 for the club. We paid £1 plus the debt, which was a substantial amount.
Inner Circle Investments Ltd have paid substantially more than £150,000 for the shares In Burnden Leisure Ltd.
As regards off field events having a negative effect on the players, l would point out that his recent player assessment ratings in several match reports doesn’t help when players are rated at 2, 3 or 4. Also to continuously refer to repetitive non-payment of salaries is again factually incorrect. It’s happened once.
For the record, November was the first time the majority of the players have been late in receiving their monthly salaries. However, l accept that the retention bonuses and severance pay on players who have left was paid late this summer and l have previously commented on this, so l see no need to repeat myself.
All the other employees (circa 400) in the businesses were all paid on time in November as they always have been previously.
Once again, there was a reference to administration but in case you do not know players are the only people who as “football creditors” are guaranteed to be paid if that should ever happen. They also have the benefit of being able to go to the PFA for financial assistance. That’s why l personally paid all the other employees first as they are the lowest paid in the group and unlike the players do not have the benefit of knowing that they will always be paid come what may.
That said, l am extremely grateful for the support, assistance and cooperation that we have received from the players in these difficult times and I will always do my best to try and resolve the current cash flow problems and hopefully, avoid repeating any delays in the future in paying salaries.
I also noticed a recent report by Alan Nixon in The Sun claiming that SCC/Heathcote’s were about to issue us with a writ for £350,000. This is total nonsense and at the time of writing no money is overdue to them.
Maybe Marc is right and ‘Enough is Enough’ and l should just follow Ed Davies’ decision and refuse to provide any further personal funding. I know that from the numerous conversations that l had with Ed that he was very disappointed and disillusioned over the constant negativity he received from the media and that eventually he decided enough was enough. Like Ed, l do not enjoy my family and friends having to read and experience the vitriol that is printed about me when all l am trying to do is help get the club through these difficult times at my own considerable personal expense.
I do not want and cannot afford to end up losing substantial amounts of money in football as Ed did and many others like him also have. Most of these are on public record and as far as l can see all they were trying to do was help and keep their respective clubs going. No doubt, with the benefit of hindsight, they would not repeat the same mistakes today and l for my part am happy to learn from their mistakes and not experience them and eventually suffer the same fate. Sometimes it is best not to follow the dream and accept that your first loss is your best loss! As they say be careful what you wish for.
When l first became involved with the club in March 2016 one of the criticisms of the previous board expressed at the first supporters Q & A that l attended was the lack of communication. I have tried to address this through the regular Chairman’s Web notes, the match day programme, press and media interviews and the regular Q and A sessions.
During my time at the club l have always attempted to be as open and transparent as possible. This is not always easy in today’s world with the various legal protections that are in place and frequently used, whether it be in commercial agreements, buying and selling of businesses or contracts of employment etc.
There has been an element of criticism of me recently on the social media and generally speaking I try to ignore it, as the majority of it is from a minority of people who say they are supporters and make numerous outrageous and factually incorrect statements, but in reality have absolutely no knowledge of what’s really going on at the club at any given time.
I can only presume that it’s their way of getting noticed and getting their 15 minutes of fame. I have no problem with criticism as long as it’s accurate, factually correct and truthful. Unfortunately, most of what is alleged is total nonsense. That said l will always attempt to communicate and be open and transparent and will therefore, try to deal with as many of the recent comments truthful or otherwise below.
As regards the people who are calling me a liar in respect my recent comments about potential investors or buyers for the club, l stand by everything l have said and will continue to do my best to achieve this. There is documentary evidence to support my comments that will be made available at the appropriate time.
Unfortunately, there are a number of people out there who claim to have the funds to buy the club, but when it comes to it they are unable to deliver the funds for one reason or another. I can assure you that for every genuine investor there are many time wasters and the process is a long and challenging one as has clearly been seen and documented at numerous other clubs also looking for investment. Indeed, Mike Ashley was quoted this week as having been trying to sell Newcastle since 2017.
Over the last few days, l have met and spoken with the financial and legal representatives of two new interested parties, both of the representatives are well known to me and have been actively involved in a number of other successful club transactions over a number of years. Should these discussions progress l will endeavour to keep you informed at all times.
I will treat the abusive comments about me not attending the match against Wigan last Saturday with the contempt they deserve. It is well known that l live overseas and cannot attend each and every match, but as many of the genuine fans will tell you, l have probably attended 90% of all our home and away games each season since l have been involved.
Unfortunately, by the nature of the business, the running of a football club has many ups and downs both on and off the field.
There have been a number of accusations about the lack of funding being made available to the manager, which l don’t accept, as over the last three seasons we have fully supported the manager to the best of the club’s financial ability and signed over 50 players, even during the embargoes l inherited. These are players that the manager and his recruitment team targeted and were signed. Like other clubs we are not always successful in recruiting all of our targets, but generally speaking we have not missed out on many, but to say the manager has not had the resources and support is very wide of the mark. In League One our players’ budget was in the top 2/3 clubs and even in the Championship it was higher than a number of other clubs last season and this.
I do accept, however, that we are not up there with the ‘big‘ clubs and cannot compete or sign the top players who now command salaries in excess of £1/2 million a season and hope that the various critics on social media will understand this. Indeed, only this week David Sharpe from Wigan outlined the problems now faced by clubs in the Championship and why the Whelan family decided to sell the club.
Since l have been at the club, l have always done my best to try and operate the club within its financial capabilities. This is often made more difficult because of the uncertainty of the club’s cash flow and over the last few months has been extremely difficult for a number of reasons including the international breaks, where the club has little or no income and more importantly the 2,000 or so fewer supporters attending recent home matches. Unfortunately, a number of the people not attending are the ones that are the most critical on social media. The knock on effects of this are horrendous and have been clearly seen in the late payment of the players and management staff salaries last month.
Obviously, l have come in for a great deal of criticism in the press and social media about this. However, a number of comments made are once again factually incorrect. Over the last few months, l have personally funded all the salaries which has cost several million. So, perhaps, all those out there saying l have not put any money into the club will now cease making incorrect statements.
For the record, we receive the second substantial payment from the EFL in early January and obviously, this will go a long way to improving the current cash flow requirements.
I found the recent open letter from the Supporters Trust interesting, but my recent experiences have shown them to huff and puff, but with little or no substance. If they believe they can help and assist the club then please write another open letter clearly outlining how they can do this and what they have to offer and what they expect in return. If it’s another derisory offer for a shareholding and board representation then don’t bother wasting my time. If it’s a serious proposition and realistic, then let’s have an open meeting with all their membership and discuss it in an open forum.
Hopefully, the above has explained as far as possible some of what is happening at the club and we will all continue to join together and get behind the team and overcome the current problems.
In an ideal world, if we can get the results on the pitch and get the 2,000 missing supporters to return then the financial problems off the pitch will improve significantly.