STRUGGLING Wanderers have received a devastating blow in the form of a winding up petition from HMRC. 

The club has confirmed it has received the petition, which has been issued because of an unpaid tax bill of around £600,000 and further raises the prospect of Whites choosing to go into voluntary administration and accepting a 12 point deduction.  

A club spokesman said: "Bolton Wanderers can confirm that the club has now received a winding up petition from HMRC in respect of unpaid PAYE and VAT for the month of November.

"Despite requests from the club to HMRC to give it further time to either conclude a sale or raise additional funds, HMRC has proceeded with due process and duly served a petition."

The club is now seeking short-term funding options in order to pay the bill, which include the potential sale or lease of the Whites hotel and office buildings at the Macron, where more than 300 staff are still unsure whether or not they will be paid before Christmas.

Trevor Birch, advisor to the board and owner at Bolton Wanderers, said: “Quite clearly the club remains in a critical financial position. We will continue to try and finalise a sale or alternatively raise some short term funds needed to give the club a breathing space and time in which to consider its options.”

The petition will now be advertised publicly in the next few days — and The Bolton News understands a High Court hearing has been scheduled for January 18.

Talks have continued between the club and potential buyers, aimed at resolving the issue, but concerns remain about the validity and structure of the tabled bids.

Two Bolton MPs are now attempting to help save the struggling club and have asked for urgent interventions from the Government and the Football Association.  

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi has written directly to HMRC to ask for clemency as well as tabling an Early Day Motion in Parliament where she hopes to raise support for the plight of the Whites.

Fellow MP Chris Green — whose constituency covers the Macron — has also intervened. 

In a letter to Lin Homer, chief executive of HMRC, Ms Qureshi said the club forms “part of the fabric of our community in Bolton, central to its sense of identity,” and praised the “patient and loyal fans.”

She added: “I understand the court hearing will take place on Monday January 18, 2016.

“I would be very grateful if you would consider taking steps to delay the hearing until Friday June 17 — this will allow the club to continue to engage in what can often be complex discussions with prospective buyers, to ensure they can avert a deeper crisis for the club and for our town.”

In his own letter, addressed to sports minister Tracey Crouch and FA Chairman Greg Dyke, Mr Green said: “Staff at the club are continuing to work extremely hard to ensure that the club is running as normal for the fans and also to ensure that it remains an attractive and viable proposition for potential buyers.  

“I am, however, extremely concerned that these hardworking staff, many of which are my constituents, will be left without a pay check this Christmas.”

He has asked what the Government and FA can now do to help to ensure staff will be paid.