Bolton face another day in the High Court trying to stave off a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs for £1.2million in unpaid tax and other debts.
A turbulent week for Wanderers could be about to get worse as – while the players were still on a 48-hour strike after staff wages were not paid on time for the second month – the club were ordered to play their next two matches behind closed doors.
Their advisory group decided the Championship strugglers could not guarantee the safety of fans at the University of Bolton Stadium and closed the ground for Saturday’s game against Ipswich and next Tuesday’s visit of Middlesbrough.
The group, which is comprised of representatives from the local council, police and emergency services, informed the English Football League on Tuesday it has placed a prohibition notice on the club under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.
Bolton told the group it could not address its concerns until after the court hearing, giving safety experts little choice but to rule supporters will be prevented from entering the ground for the next two home games.
In a statement, an EFL spokesman said: “Whilst disappointed, the EFL understands the rationale for the position taken by the safety advisory group at this time.
— EFL (@EFL) April 2, 2019
“However, we still hope the fixtures will take place as planned. We will work with the club and offer them any practical assistance that is available to us in an attempt to find a successful and timely resolution to the issue.”
Bolton are currently 23rd in the Sky Bet Championship, five points from safety and in dire financial straits.
Chairman Ken Anderson is in talks to sell the club but the process has been taking some time.
“Talks are ongoing with buyers and whilst completion is taking longer than anticipated, for legal reasons, I am still unable to identify the buyers or the price they are paying,” Anderson wrote on the club’s website.
📰 A note from the Chairman. Ken Anderson addresses the club’s supporters in his latest column on the club’s official website.
— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) April 2, 2019
“The parties involved have assured me and their advisors that they are in a position that will enable completion to take place shortly.
“There has been a great deal of speculation over the last few weeks about the identity of the purchasers of my shares, a great deal of which is pure unfounded speculation, likewise on the price of my shares.
“For the record, I have accepted an offer of less than what I paid, so I am not holding out for a big profit as is continuously and incorrectly bandied around in the media and on social media.”