Dear all, we wanted to provide you with a further update in relation to the recent developments at the Club as we continue to feel the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak.
There is obviously a lot of speculation regarding the return of football. We are involved in all discussions with the EFL and our fellow clubs and continue to await further guidance with regards to the potential next steps.
Our focus is the safety of our staff and supporters and we would therefore only support a ‘return to play’ if protocols can be put in place, and adhered to, which ensure everyone’s health is not compromised and there is no additional strain placed on the emergency services.
At times like these, there are many things which are more important than football. That being said we miss match days greatly as we’re sure you do too.
The uncertainty regarding the potential conclusion of the 2019/20 season presents various issues which are being grappled with across the game. Most notably the expiry of player contracts in June.
We have endeavoured to put ourselves in as flexible a position as possible so that we can react to the eventual decision which is taken by the EFL. However, we hope, for all clubs, that there will soon be some clarity to allow us the opportunity to plan, whether that be to finish this season or start the 2020/21 season.
Following brief and amicable discussions we are pleased to say we have reached an agreement with our playing staff and football management regarding the deferral of salaries. Both the players and football management made it clear to the Board that they wanted to play their part and support the Club, in unity with fellow employees.
We are extremely thankful to them for this support.
We are in a situation where we have very little income coming into the Club or Hotel, this seems likely to remain for the foreseeable future. It is therefore imperative that we maintain as low a cost base as possible so that we can be in a position to rebuild at the earliest opportunity.
The ongoing support received from our staff and supporters, for which we are ever grateful, allows us to do this.
Whilst our plans have been paused by the severe ramifications of the pandemic, please rest assured that we remain fully committed to the Club and Hotel. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our investors for their support at this time.
You will no doubt have seen that the lockdown has provided an opportunity for us to stream footage of notable matches. Most recently the League Cup semi-final against Aston Villa.
Seeing the passion and support the fans have shown for the Club is heartening and despite the difficulties faced in the last 8 months we are very much looking forward to restarting the journey of getting us back where we belong.
We are continuing to work closely with Bolton Council and the NHS to support them where we can. In addition to hosting key workers in the Hotel and using the Premier Suite as a food distribution centre, we have also now opened the car park for a drive through testing centre to service the local area.
This is to be utilised in line with the Government guidance regarding testing. It is an honour to be able to assist the key workers along with the NHS and Bolton Council as they work hard to get through this crisis.
Our charity arm of the Club, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, has also been responding to the crisis in a whole variety of ways, including keeping in touch with some of the most vulnerable in the community, responding to meet their needs at this time, and in partnership with other key charities in Bolton making sure the wider Bolton family is being supported.
This includes working with Urban Outreach who have been responding to the humanitarian needs by providing vital food parcels. We are grateful that our players, manager, and backroom staff have also donated to this great cause.
Lastly, and most importantly, we know that a number of our fellow Bolton supporters and staff have lost loved ones over the last two months as a result of the pandemic. Irrespective of the sporting and financial ramifications, this is the true horrifying cost of the crisis. Our hearts go out to you all.
Please stay safe and thank you for your ongoing support.
Sharon and Michael