RICHARD Hurst, the man who will serve as interim chairman of the Wanderers Supporters’ Trust has defended himself against criticism of his links with the current club board.

An experienced businessman whose material engineering company Richard Threllfall Ltd is one of the oldest in Bolton, Hurst has agreed to help establish an elected board at the newly-formed trust.

But his appointment has prompted some backlash after it emerged he served on the board of trustees for the Wanderers Free School alongside Phil Gartside and Brett Warburton.

Fans are keen to see more clarity after feeling they have not been given enough information about the Whites’ financial problems. But speaking to The Bolton News, Mr Hurst explained that his involvement in the steering group is not for personal gain, and will not end with him seeking election for a place on the board.

“As a trustee of the Free School it was my job to ensure that there was no undue interference from the football club, ensuring clarity. It had to be run according to the letter of the law,” he said of his involvement with the Eddie Davies Educational Trust.

“Right now we are simply forming a steering group to get the right people in place. After that it will be down to members to elect whoever they see fit.

“I know the website has asked for more people with experience to step forward and help the trust develop.

“But I looked round the table at a meeting on Saturday and without exception, every single person sitting there was a lifelong Bolton fan.

“This is absolutely not about personal gain. The only motivation for me, and I am sure others in the group, is to see this club survive.”

Mr Hurst, who is now semi-retired, is the chairman of the Bolton Arena Trust and has also served as president of the Bury and Bolton Chamber of Commerce.

The BWFCST are looking to make the members of their steering group public as quickly as possible to avoid any ill-feeling and Hurst conceded that the uproar over his own appointment was “understandable.”

“In my business experience you cannot communicate enough,” he added.

Asked what role he felt the trust should be aiming for after he stands down from the steering group, Mr Hurst added: “I would like to see them have some influence over the future running of the football club; that can possibly be a seat on the board.

“Furthermore I would like to see them take some ownership, provided the money can be raised.

“We are looking very closely to see whether enough funds can be raised to buy a significant shareholding in the club.

“One thing I have found in my experience is that it is easy to say these kind of things, but quite another to actually do it.”