BOLTON Wanderers have racked-up a seven-figure debt to the council for unpaid business rates, The Bolton News understands.

More than £1 million is now owed to the local authority by the football club, owned by Monaco-based businessman Ken Anderson.

The council has refused to comment or confirm the size of the bill believed to be owed by Wanderers.

Mr Anderson claims to be in “detailed discussion” over the sale of the club, although concern over its immediate financial stability if a deal is not struck is now mounting among supporters.

Separately, a winding-up petition has been issued by HMRC for a bill of £1million, which is likely to reach court next month.

The situation is complicated further by a short-term loan of £5m which was supplied by late owner Eddie Davies last September to Mr Anderson’s company, Inner Circle Investments Ltd.

Mr Davies’s company, Moonshift Investments, has security on the loan via Mr Anderson’s shares and club assets.

However, there is a further complication. Mr Anderson loaned the £5m to Wanderers and also secured the money against club assets, making himself a preferred creditor alongside Moonshift. Should the club go into administration, he could also theoretically claim money back before others in the queue, including the council.

If Wanderers were proved to owe debts and then were unable to settle them, then the council could end up being paid back only a fraction of the total owed in rates for both the stadium and the adjoining Whites Hotel.

Business rates bills are sent out by the council at the end of February and are calculated according to a ‘rateable value’ which is based on a domestic or commercial building’s size and location.

Ken Anderson and his board advisor Paul Aldridge met with council chiefs in January 2017 in an attempt to reduce the rates, which he claims were established when the team was still playing in the Premier League.

He said at the time: “Paul Aldridge and I had a meeting last week with Cllr (Cliff) Morris and Margaret Asquith at Bolton Council to see if anything can be done to help us with the very high level of rates that the club and hotel are paying whereas other nearby clubs and hotels/businesses are paying a fraction of this.

"Unfortunately, this is because of an ambiguity of the rates system and we are still being rated as a Premier League club.

“The council are being very supportive and hopefully a solution will be achieved, which would go a long way to helping us achieve a financially sustainable base.”