HAVING a Premier League football team in Bolton is probably worth between £30 to £35 million to the local economy, businessmen and women heard.

And if by some appalling luck the club were to be relegated to the Championship it would lose around 50 per cent of its income almost overnight.

Gareth Moores, commercial director of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, speaking at the Bolton Professionals’ Curry Club quarterly meeting, said the Barclays Premier League was the most lucrative football league in the world and generated around £2.2 billion a year.

He said that the enormous sun was only dwarfed by the NFL, NBA and the baseball leagues in America and the matches were watched by around 600 million people around the world every week.

The league generated around 11,000 hours of TV programmes and accumulatively reached around three billion people.

The club gave employment of around 1,000 people in the town in a variety of ways and attracted around 1.5 million visitors to Bolton every year, with 70 per cent of those on non football days.

The old Burnden Park was of huge historical significance but only ever open 25 times a year while the ultra modern Reebok stadium had to earn money all year round.

Mr Moores added: “ We invest around £750,000 in a range of community activities and of that about £500,000 is spent on community grass roots football.

“All that community and educational work is done through the charitable arm of the club - the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust.”

When clubs sign foreign players the financial reward can be considerable but players were never signed just because a club could make money in a particular market.

Through recent signings the club had done very well in South Korea and Japan, pushing the brand to the forefront as well as making considerable amounts of money.

He said: “BWFC was the first club to go 50-5- with the De Vere hotel group in building and embedding into the stadium a hotel and an office development under the north stand.

He was asked about how the club interacted with local businesses and he said they had teams out talking to businesses about how the club and firms could work together but said they could improve on this.

He praised Isle of Man resident and BWFC owner Eddie Davies for giving great support for the club through thick and thin.

The professionals’ curry club is both useful for networking and to listen to guest speakers’ opinions on the world of business and finance and how Bolton can benefit.

For many business people the quarterly meeting is a great way to meet contemporaries they might only see infrequently and to discuss a variety of business opportunities.

The membership is selective and those invited to attend are usually partners, decision makers or senior managers in a variety of local professions.

At the moment the club is open to bankers, accountants, solicitors, independent financial advisers, insolvency practitioners, estate agents, commercial property agents and developers.Representatives from Bolton Council, including regeneration and development director Keith Davies and chef executive Sean Harriss, often attend.

Guest speakers have included Robert Hough from the North West Development Agency, Keith Davies and Sean Harriss from Bolton Council and The Bolton News editor-in-chief Ian Savage.