Bolton Wanderers: Sports Shield BWFC wound up at court hearing

By Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
A general view of Bolton's Macron Stadium with the statue of Nat Lofthouse outside
Bolton are yet to win a match in the Championship since winning automatic promotion back to the second tier

A company which owns more than a third of shares in Championship club Bolton Wanderers has been liquidated.

Sports Shield BWFC Limited, owned by ex-Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth and part of a takeover in March 2016, was wound up on Monday.

The winding-up petition was lodged by BluMarble Ltd in relation to non-repayment of a £5m loan.

The loan, which because of accumulated interest is understood to be closer to £7m, was secured against club assets.

Previously, Bolton chairman Ken Anderson said Holdsworth "failed to tell"external-link the club of the arrangement.

Bolton sold a car park close to the Macron Stadium and their training ground at Euxton to raise funds as they fought to avoid administration before the takeover.

'Detrimental knock-on effects' for Bolton?

Sports Shield was not represented at the brief court hearing at London's Bankruptcy and Companies Court.

In a statement, Anderson said he accepts "that there could be detrimental knock-on effects for the club", and added that he is doing his "utmost to ensure this does not happen".

The English Football League added: "The EFL notes today's decision of the Court in relation to Sports Shield BWFC.

"The Executive will review the decision in the context of our rules and provide a report to the board at its next scheduled meeting in September."

Sports Shield and Anderson's Inner Circle Investments saved Bolton from financial collapse when they completed their takeover by taking control of previous owner Eddie Davies' 94.5% share.

In May, Anderson said Inner Circle Investments had acquired approximately 30% of Sports Shield to assist with resolving the matter with BluMarble, leaving Sports Shield with a 37.5% share and Inner Circle with 57.5%.

Monday's hearing had been adjourned by 14 days at the EFL's request, as they considered a proposal from BluMarble's lawyers to resolve the issue, and Anderson said he hoped it would be resolved quickly.

However, counsel for BluMarble, Tom Leary, told Ms Registrar Barber at the hearing: "The settlement has not been forthcoming."

Sports Shield's 37.5% shareholding in Bolton now rests with the liquidator, who can take offers for it - either from BluMarble, Anderson or a third party.

'Vultures and pariahs need not apply'

Also in his statement, Anderson said that the club is in the "best" financial position since he started his association with it and added that there has been a "number of approaches" by potential buyers and investors.

He also said that he would meet with those that have "financial resources to take the club forward" but warned "the vultures and pariahs need not apply".

Anderson continued: "This club has achieved a great deal over the last 18 months and is not in the financial position it was when l first became involved.

"It is a much more attractive proposition on the field as well having achieved promotion from League One at its first attempt, which in itself is a major achievement and even more so when you consider the transfer embargo."

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