THEIR club may be safe from administration but Wanderers fans could still be forgiven for questioning what the future holds. Marc Iles reports.

CONFIRMATION arrived yesterday that an 11th hour deal had been struck with Essex-based finance company BluMarble to repay a debt which threatened to bring the club to its knees.

Late on Monday night, and for most of Tuesday morning, the prospect of a 12-point deduction, two-year embargo and almost certain relegation was on everyone’s mind as we watched the drama to unfold.

Mercifully, administration was staved-off and the situation was placed on hold as the whole club came to terms with the sudden and sad passing of former owner Eddie Davies.

But as things slowly started to return to normal yesterday it was natural to wonder if this was just a temporary reprieve? Would financial problems arise again with the same speed they did this week, or can Bolton’s long-suffering supporters now rest easy?

The frightening figures which emerged prior to the administration scare still stand. Wanderers have curbed their losses considerably but still lose money – an estimated £6million a year, in fact. Unlike many clubs who find themselves embroiled in administration, however, Wanderers do not have huge external debts, nor an especially expensive playing budget.

The next set of financial accounts will actually show a small profit, which is a rarity at Championship level but this is chiefly due to the £6m sale of striker Gary Madine back in January.

The fact remains Wanderers are dependent on central payments from the Football League, from crowd receipts and merchandise to pay their bills, and on the financial safety net offered by owner and chairman, Ken Anderson.

The Londoner freely admits his pockets are not as deep as former owner Davies, who wrote off nearly £200million in loans before passing on control of the club just over two years ago. And it seems unlikely the personal wealth he puts into the club will be turned into equity.

The club has had to sell players to keep afloat in the past few years and that won’t change unless new investment comes aboard. How Anderson reorganises and chips away at the remaining debts could be key.

The BluMarble loan was by far the most awkward problem facing the club as it was secured to the stadium, accrued interest and was owed an external party. Removing it from the equation makes the whole package of Bolton Wanderers look far more appealing to the many speculators looking to invest in the hope of hitting the Premier League riches.

Anderson did need some last-minute assistance from local businessman Michael James to force the deal through. It is also understood BluMarble’s owners took a substantial financial hit of their own as they avoided the costly and complicated exercise of putting a club into administration.

Some debt remains tied to the club, although it has been reported that deals have been done with James and Brett Warburton to restructure, leaving the sum total owed elsewhere as one of the smallest in the division.

Provided Anderson has the financial wherewithal to keep Bolton operating on their current levels for the time being there is no reason why they cannot join the growing number of clubs in the second tier whose budget has been boosted by foreign investment, or even ownership.

There are still hurdles to be negotiated. On Monday, Wanderers will be in the High Court to defend a winding-up order presented by their catering partner, Heathcote & Co over a debt of around £200,000. All the while, Phil Parkinson’s team will be back on the pitch and hoping to climb back into the top six with victory against QPR. If the club’s impressive start to the season can be continued, no finer bait to attract outside investment could possibly be found.

It is always darkest before dawn, they say, and Wanderers’ long-suffering fans have certainly endured some sleepless nights in the past couple of years as they worry for their club. With any luck, the latest scare will be their last.