You don’t always get what you deserve in football and that was definitely the case on Saturday when we entertained our neighbours Blackburn Rovers at the University of Bolton Stadium.
We didn’t really get going for the first 20 minutes but after that I thought that because of the way we got back into the game our second half performance merited a draw at least.
As the manager said following the game that although we got into good areas to score we lacked the clinical finishing power to find the back of the net and our ball in to the final third and from the wings didn’t have the desired quality.
But that’s football and we will work very hard on improving that aspect at the training ground in readiness for the games after the international break.
Considering the number of supporters who travelled over from Blackburn and due to the fact that the game was broadcast live on Sky Sports, the attendance of 15,461 was an improvement on recent games and I’m pleased that more Wanderers fans turned out. I hope that this is the beginning of a gradual increase in the attendance figures.
Prior to the game, I held some Q&A sessions in Reflections and also in the hospitality lounges and I am very grateful for the turnout and questions that were asked.
It has always been my belief that I will be open, honest and transparent with you all and no questions were off limits during these sessions.
For those that were unable to attend, I hope the comments here will give you a better view of everything and for those that did attend I hope I brought some clarity on speculation that had surfaced in the media and on social media in recent weeks.
At sessions like these I always get asked about potential investment to the club. What I can say is that we get no shortage of enquiries but the vast majority of them turn out to be bids and offers that are extremely unrealistic and quite often end up to be a waste of time. As things stand, we are in talks with two potential investors, one of whom is US based and the other is Asian. As always, you will be among the first to know if anything progresses in this regard. Unfortunately, the process is a slow one as you would have seen with other clubs like Charlton, Wigan and Hull to name just a few.
It was reported that the club had been served with two winding up petitions recently, one by the HMRC and the other by a US-based company called Front Row Marketing. Both are in the process of being settled before they get to court but I felt it was important to clarify the reasons for the delay.
On that note, I was a little bit disappointed to read the Bolton News article this morning which made reference to the club having dealt with four separate winding up orders in the past 14 months. To give a bit of context and to put it in perspective the last one we dealt with was in January this year, since then all payments due to HMRC were paid on time until last month and the ones relating to 2017 were all settled before getting to court.
There were reasons for the delay in paying HMRC, which I cannot fully go in to but it was all linked to the dispute with Blu Marble, which has now been settled as widely reported and effectively saved the club several million pounds since the loan was taken out by SportShield BWFC in December 2015, three months before I became involved in March 2016.
Winding up orders do generate anxiety and negativity for everybody concerned but I want to make it clear that I will always endeavour to do what is best for Bolton Wanderers Football Club.
I was also pretty incensed to read a reader’s letter in the Bolton News on Saturday which contained incorrect information stating that I had ‘borrowed money from Blu Marble to buy Dean Holdsworth’s shares’. This is absolute nonsense. I have never personally had any loans from Blu Marble. Furthermore, it was Sport Shield BWFC who took out the Blu Marble loan prior to my involvement. Quite why this was allowed to be published without being fact checked totally escapes me.
The dispute with Front Row Marketing was another problem that I inherited from the previous regime at the club. Front Row claim that they were involved in the original Macron naming rights deal for the stadium and that they had brought money into the club. Interestingly, they were unable to provide any evidence or paperwork to this effect or to say exactly how much money they have brought in or when. For whatever reason they felt the need to issue the petition but I am pleased to say that we have now reached a settlement for less than what they claimed.
As has been reported Ed Davies assisted the club in the settling of the Blu Marble loan. He was quite keen for the club to no longer have this burden hanging over it, although he didn’t want the publicity associated with it.
Our thoughts and prayers will always be with Ed’s family and our gratitude for his kindness will remain eternal.
Another topic that came up during the Q&A were comments in relation to the ticket prices for matches, which I also fully take on board. I will be having discussions with club officials to see if there is anything we can do in terms of promotions for specific matches.
But what I must say, and something that I make no apology for repeating, is that the purchasing of a season ticket will always remain the best value for money if you wish to watch the club on a match-by-match basis. That value must always be protected for those who showed their loyalty in the summer months by paying for the cost up front or by monthly direct debit.
As always, the club will be launching a half season ticket for the remaining 12 home games starting from the Boxing Day clash against Rotherham. There are some big games in the second-half of the campaign, with fixtures against Preston North End, Stoke City, West Brom, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa. These will be on sale in November and full details will be announced shortly.
I strongly urge those of you who haven’t already got season tickets to take advantage of this as you will be making significant savings compared to buying tickets on a match-by-match basis.
In my notes from last week, I referred to the continuous negativity in the local press as they repeated the same comments in a paragraph in virtually each and every article, week in, week out. Surely to say it once would have been sufficient?
In reference to this, I have seen the social media exchanges between Kieran Maguire, Marc IIes and a few others which l find all very interesting. However, some of it is like comparing chalk and cheese.
For a start no director’s salary has ever been paid to me. Furthermore, there were other directors at the time included in the Directors’ figures mentioned. It is correct though to say that fees were paid to businesses associated with me and this has always been disclosed as it’s a statutory obligation to do so.
To compare our 2016/17 salary costs in League One with the Championship salaries is a complete nonsense. In any event, l feel sure that our salary costs that season were up there with the highest in League One and not mid table.
To clarify my comments, l was talking about the current season and none of us will know the final figures until the end of the season.
As regards the amortisation figures, if you don’t pay transfer fees these will always be little or nothing. I am far happier with our transfer figures that show significant profits on trading and this is something we as a club need to continue to survive financially.
We will be publishing the financial accounts when the auditors complete them.
The auction for the signed shirts, which the players wore in support of Stephen Darby prior to the Derby County game, to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association is nearing an end and the bids the club has so far received have been outstanding. Please click here if you want to own one of these special shirts and in doing so supporting a tremendous charity.
Also, why not considering watching a performance of And Did Those Feet which is being staged in the Lion of Vienna Suite between Sunday 21 October and Thursday 1 November.
Produced by the Octagon Theatre, the play focuses on Wanderers’ FA Cup final victory against West Ham United in 1923 and follows the lives of two families in the build up to one of the most historic moments in the club’s history. Click here for more information.
After what has been a busy couple of weeks in terms of matches, we now have another international break this week so it will be an ideal opportunity for the players to regroup and recharge their batteries before another busy period of fixtures.