Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside allays fans' fears about the club's finances
PHIL Gartside insists there is no danger of club owner Eddie Davies “calling in” his debt at Wanderers.
The chairman allayed mounting concern among fans over the massive £50.7million losses announced at the end of last month, which took the amount owed to Moonshift Investment Ltd, the company in which Davies has a controlling interest, to more than £150m.
Although provisions were put in place 12 months ago for a 10-year notice period to be served should Davies opt to recall his debt, it has not stopped a wave of disquiet around the Reebok after the most recent set of accounts.
Gartside believes it would be impractical for the Little Lever born businessman to cash in his chips – even if he were of a mind to do so.
And he pointed out that with the stadium, training ground, academy, hotel and varying other properties and lands under complete ownership of the club, Davies has a number of assets to show for the money he has put in over the last 15 years.
“I’m sick of saying it. This is not a debt owed to banks,” he said.
“If this was another foreign owner it wouldn’t get a mention. Many clubs in this country would be envious of only having an £8million overdraft. It doesn’t cause me any sleepless nights. It may do Eddie, but not me.
“If he called his money back, where am I going to get it from? I can’t go to a bank and he knows that.
“You could call it equity. It is not really debt. To get it back he has got to either sell it or refinance it. And at a bank the chances of that happening are zero.
“And Eddie has given us no indication that that’s the situation.”
Gartside made no secret of the fact that Wanderers would be “for sale” should an interested party step forward with the right intentions.
“Every club in the land is for sale,” he said. “If someone came in and made an offer to Eddie Davies, it would not just have to be an offer but something that he could pass his legacy on to.
“He comes from Little Lever and he is very passionate about this football club. I’ve become too embroiled in it. But he still enjoys it because he sits on the outside but is involved in every financial decision we make.
“He is leaving a legacy behind and he would not pass it on to someone who is not going nurture the legacy.”
The chairman admits that Financial Fair Play rules has forced Wanderers into a rethink but he denies that there is any less ambition about the club to return to the Premier League.
“FFP does have an impact because it means that owners of clubs cannot give as much money as they have done in the past. It does put some restrictions on what you can do,” he said in an interview with BBC Radio Manchester.
“We are not a Premier League club but we still have that expectation. I hope the fans that that as well.
“The Premier League is where we want to be but the reality of FFP is that we have to restructure.
“It has been a shock. It is a very tough league where anyone can beat anyone.
“I wrote a paper for the Premier League in 2008 – six years ago – and we knew the gap was too wide back then and they had an option to do something about it. “It won’t close until we get some reality and restructure the league.”