Bolton Wanderers: Sports Shield consortium complete takeover

Eddie Davies and Dean Holdsworth
Dean Holdsworth (r) will become a Bolton director, with former owner Eddie Davies becoming honorary president

The Sports Shield consortium has completed its £7.5m takeover of Championship club Bolton Wanderers.

Ex-Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth, who leads the group, will join the board of directors while former owner Eddie Davies will become honorary president.

A winding-up petition against Bolton over an unpaid tax bill was adjourned at the High Court on Monday to give the group more time to complete the deal.

Holdsworth said that the bill had now been paid in full.

Bolton who are currently bottom of the Championship, were £172.9m in debt but but it's believed the majority has been written off with Davies not wishing to claim back the money owed to him.

Sports Shield and Inner Circle, owned by Ken Anderson, have taken control of Davies' 94.5% controlling share following ratification by the Football League. Anderson will also become a director of the club.

In January, the court heard that the club owed £2.2m to HM Revenue & Customs, and they are next due in court on 21 March.

Bolton, who are also under a transfer embargo for breaking Financial Fair Play regulations, have sold their training ground and stadium car park to raise funds in recent months.

Neil Lennon's side are 10 points adrift of safety with 10 matches remaining.

Reaction to the takeover

Dean Holdsworth told BBC Radio Manchester: "It has been an incredible journey, a big battle, and we have been minutes away from not achieving what we wanted so to finally get the paperwork done and the acquisition complete is fantastic.

"I wouldn't have anticipated six months of what we have been through but I now want to look forward because it has been a huge achievement for not only me but also the club.

"I am proud and honoured to be a part of a new history. This club is steeped in history and to lose it would have been unimaginable.

"Ken Anderson will take over as chairman, he is a football man, very knowledgeable and experienced.

"My life has always been hands on with football and I will have an oversight with recruitment and the academy.

"Neil Lennon is still the manager, we know he has had a tough ride, it's unfair to talk about anybody's future today."

Eddie Davies: "It has been an honour to have initially been on the board of directors and then majority shareholder of the club I have supported all of my life.

"From 11 years in the top flight and seeing us topple some of the Premier League's greatest teams down the years, to two successful Uefa Cup campaigns, my memories will last a lifetime.

"Together we have had some great experiences and we should embrace our wonderful history.

"Recently, we have gone through what has been a challenging period both on and off the field, but we now hope that we can once again move our great football club forward.

"I of course wish Dean Holdsworth, Ken Anderson and the Sports Shield consortium all the very best and thank the supporters for their loyalty and continued backing of the club."

Lawrie Wilson celebrates a goal
Bolton came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Ipswich on Tuesday, but are 10 points from safety with 10 games to play