BOLTON Wanderers legend Dean Holdsworth has spoken of his pride after saving his beloved club from going under.

The former striker spoke exclusively to The Bolton News after his consortium completed a takeover of the club worth £7.5million.

The Whites had been on the brink of administration and possibly liquidation after failing to pay a £3million tax and VAT bill – and have been in meltdown after previous owner Eddie Davies withdrew the funding on which the club has existed for the past 13 years.

New chief executive Holdsworth, who spent six years with Bolton as a player, said he was “ecstatic” to ensure the future of the town’s team. He said: "This club was minutes away from going under; twice. To be able to come in and stop that happening, I can’t begin to tell you how proud that makes me.

“Job one was always ‘save the club’. We have got a lot of hard work ahead now but I never shirked from that as a player and I don’t now that I am in business. It has been a long, hard journey getting to this stage and it still hasn’t quite sunk in what we have done. I just hope that we have been able to give people in Bolton a lift because they deserve it.”

Holdsworth’s Sports Shield consortium had been attempting to buy the club from Farnworth-born Davies since last summer. They made a significant breakthrough last weekend after bringing another financial partner, the Inner Circle Investment Group, on board in a joint venture.

Football agent and entrepreneur Ken Anderson is Inner Circle’s sole director and will serve as the new chairman at Wanderers.

Holdsworth added: “I am genuinely looking forward to going round and shaking people by the hand.”

“I want to say thank you to people for what they have done. All the staff who have been through so much – I just can’t wait to put some smiles on people’s faces.

“We’re honoured to be involved at a club with such a history and such a great fan base, we want to sustain it.”

Speaking to The Bolton News, Wanderers legend Kevin Davies said he was pleased the deal has drawn a line over recent financial uncertainties.

He said: “It seems like it has been going on forever, so I think everyone will be pleased it has been done.

“It has been pretty hairy for the fans recently with the court cases, so hopefully the new owners can get on with their job.

“It has been a difficult period for everyone involved, hopefully it will settle everyone down now the short and medium term future looks to be secure.

“The new owners have come out fighting saying they hope the club will stay up, but they have a massive job and it will be interesting to see if it will have a positive influence on the team.”

“I think it always helps when you have someone who knows the club and the town.

“Dean has spoken well about how he wants to run things and now it’s time to do the talking.”

Wanderers fan Cllr John Walsh said: “It’s good that the uncertainty has ended, because the future of the club is hugely important to Bolton.

“I hope that the new ownership can take some of the worry away from the players and they will start to perform on the pitch and help keep the club in the Championship, because that will make a huge difference to our financial viability.

“It has been a long process, and I wish Dean Holdsworth well. He knows the history of the club, and now everyone needs to come together and let them get on with their job.”

Chris Green MP, whose Bolton West constituency covers the Macron Stadium, was also delighted with the news. He added: “It’s great to hear a deal has finally been reached.

“Hopefully this can be a fresh start for Wanderers and we can move on from the past few months.”

As the news broke yesterday, Bolton Wanderers released a statement saying the deal had been completed.

It said: “Bolton Wanderers Football Club is delighted to announce that a deal between Sports Shield, Inner Circle and Eddie Davies to transfer ownership of the club has officially been completed.

“The Sports Shield consortium, fronted by ex-Bolton striker Dean Holdsworth, and Inner Circle, owned by Ken Anderson, have taken control of Eddie Davies’ 94.5 per cent controlling share of Burnden Leisure.

“The remaining 5.5 per cent of the Burnden Leisure shares will remain with individual shareholders.

“All documentation has been signed, submitted and ratified by the Football League.

“Dean Holdsworth and Ken Anderson will both join the board of directors at Bolton Wanderers, with details on further roles to be announced in due course.

“In acknowledgement of his contribution to the club, Eddie Davies, who initially joined the board of directors at Bolton Wanderers in 1999 before then becoming majority shareholder in 2003, will become honorary president of the club.”

In an earlier statement, Mr Holdsworth said the takeover deal represented a “great day” for the club.

He said: “On behalf of Sports Shield I would like to thank Mr Davies for his dedication and contribution to Bolton Wanderers over many years. We are of course pleased that Eddie will remain as honorary club president of Bolton Wanderers.

“We would also like to thank the staff, fans and club sponsors for their continued support during what has been an incredibly difficult period for all involved. Securing the club’s future was of paramount importance. This is a great day for Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Sports Shield.

“We very much hope that we can build on the continued support of a club steeped in history for many years to come.

“We will not give up the fight of maintaining our Sky Bet Championship status. We believe we have a group of excellent players to work with and we hope that today’s news will give everyone a lift, both on and off the pitch.

“The performance and atmosphere against Ipswich Town was excellent and we hope that the fans will join us for an important game at the weekend against our local rivals Preston North End. Up the Trotters!”

Outgoing owner Eddie Davies said it had been an “honour” to be involved with the club and that he hoped the takeover will signal a successful new era.

He said: “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.”