It is fair to say that Saturday’s victory against Aston Villa was one of our best wins of the campaign and it was important that we headed into the international break with our heads held high, especially after the results from earlier in the day which allowed us to make further ground on the teams in and around us.
The way we contained Villa – a team that is challenging for promotion to the Premier League – shows the progress we have made. I was also impressed with the resilience we showed as a team and it is impossible for me to single out a man of the match – as far as I’m concerned the entire team deserved that accolade.
Considering the weather, I thought we had a fantastic crowd who played their part in creating a tremendous atmosphere. It would be great if we could maintain that level of passion for our remaining fixtures, both home and away.
I’d like to pay special credit to our groundstaff once again for their sterling efforts in ensuring that Saturday’s match was able to be completed. I must admit there was a real worry that the referee may have decided to abandon the game due to the very heavy snowfall. But the work of Chris Simm and his team, particularly during the half-time break, ensured that we were able to hold on to the victory and claim those precious three points.
The Under-23s continued their tremendous run of form when they beat Cardiff City 3-0 on Monday evening in the Professional Development League. They now sit at the summit of the North division and with six games remaining they are seven points clear. Connor Hall got his 18th goal of the season which is an amazing feat. I would like to praise David Lee, Tony Kelly and all concerned. Let’s hope they can continue this remarkable run.
I’d also like to remind you that Bolton Whites will be staging the British Heavyweight Title fight between Sam Sexton and Hughie Fury on Saturday 12 May. We are thrilled to be hosting such a prestigious sporting event which also showcases the versatility of the Premier Suite. You can buy your tickets for this event by clicking here.
Away from the field, I am pleased to confirm that for the first time since 2014 Burnden Leisure and the associated companies have filed their accounts at Companies House within the required reporting period.
I would certainly hope going forward this will be the norm and not worthy of mention in future years, but given the traumatic recent past it is encouraging to be able to report this achievement.
Shareholders and supporters who have previously read the club’s accounts will notice that this year’s set includes far more information than previous years, something I hope stakeholders will appreciate and find helpful and enlightening.
The Chairman’s statement and strategic report give a much greater level of transparency than previous years and detail the financial performance of the business over the past five years. I am sure you will agree this makes very interesting, if not comfortable reading.
I am also pleased to include a detailed Corporate Social Responsibility statement for the first time. I am sure like myself you will be extremely proud of the great work carried out by the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust around the town. Phil Mason and Ben Lawton, along with all the team, deserve great credit for the varied work undertaken. I do hope you will find time to read about the many schemes your club is involved in.
I would also like to thank Eddie Davies and his family for their unwavering support since I arrived at the club. Ed has always had, and continues to have, the best interests of the club at heart, the incredible amount of money written off by him reflected in these accounts pays testament to his generosity. I am aware of some criticism he has faced in the media and by a small section of our supporters in the past, this is most unfair and I certainly hope that I can continue to count on his support and wise counsel throughout my Chairmanship.
Shareholders will also be pleased to learn that an AGM has been set and it will be held at the stadium. Details will be sent along with the relevant notice in the next few days to all shareholders.
The last three years’ accounts including the 2017 sets can now be accessed via our website by clicking HERE. This section will be regularly updated with corporate information and should be the portal for all financial and shareholder information in the future.
I believe that readers of both my statement and the accounts in general will see that from a very difficult situation when I arrived, the club continues to improve its position both on and off the field.
There is much still to do but I do hope you will agree we are now certainly heading in the right direction, something that could not have been said in the past few years.
Indeed, I would like to let you know that the improvements we have continued to make in the last nine months have resulted in some positive news going into the last quarter of this financial year. The management accounts of both the football club and Whites Hotel are looking very encouraging and with a strong finish in the last quarter we should be able to report a profit for the first time since 2005.