THE numbers involved were considerably smaller but there is still the same collective draw of breath whenever Wanderers’ financial accounts come out.

Just a few years ago, Bolton’s supporters were being reassured that the eye-watering debts were owed to one man, Eddie Davies, and that there was no need for panic.

At one stage the amount owed to the Isle of Man businessman – a local boy made good – touched the £200million mark. But yesterday accounts confirmed Davies had written-off £197.9m, a financial gesture the likes of which has never been seen at this club, and may never be seen again.

In any other scenario there would be calls to erect a statue of the former Farnworth Grammar School pupil, who made his fortune in electrical appliances. But that is not the case among the majority of a fan-base still smarting from the financial problems suffered in the latter days of his reign as owner.

It fell to Ken Anderson, yesterday, to make mention of Davies’s generosity.

“I would also like to thank Eddie Davies and his family for their unwavering support since I arrived at the club,” he wrote.

“Ed has always had, and continues to have, the best interests of the club at heart, the incredible amount of money written off by him reflected in these accounts pays testament to his generosity.

“I am aware of some criticism he has faced in the media and by a small section of our supporters in the past, this is most unfair and I certainly hope that I can continue to count on his support and wise counsel throughout my Chairmanship.”

After shunning the spotlight during his 13-year reign as owner, Davies has become more vocal since stepping away – insisting on numerous occasions that he did not leave the club in the lurch, and attacking press reports which suggested his legacy had suffered as a result of the meltdown in 2016, only now being rectified.

Davies, who turns 72 in June, still attends games just as regularly as he did as owner, and still has the ear of his successor.

He may have a much smaller financial stake these days but many around the Macron suggest his influence remains strong.

Davies, like most who read through yesterday’s accounts, will recognise the need for investment if Wanderers are ever going to push to the same heights as he experienced in the boardroom.

Although some of the figures made for uncomfortable reading, the balance sheet was at least solvent, giving rise for some optimism heading into the future.

Anderson’s short-term aim is to pay-off, renegotiate or refinance just over £20m of ‘hard debt’ owed to BluMarble, Prescot Business Park and Brett Warburton. That may well be achieved by bringing aboard investment from elsewhere – and it’s a smart bet to assume this summer will once again be littered with tales of foreign interest.

Big drops in turnover and broadcast revenue show why staying in the Championship is a must, and why Phil Parkinson should be commended for operating his squad on a wage bill now less than half of what it was four years ago.

Some supporters have questioned the consultancy fees paid to Anderson’s company and a ‘family member’ but most acknowledge some progress has been made, even during a season in the third tier. Since then the sale of Gary Madine plus the greater revenues at Championship level put Wanderers on the cusp of breaking even for the first time in more than a decade.

Once again fans are being asked to show some faith, this time in Anderson and his attempts to sort short-term financial obligations and find a longer-term backer. Whether time will give us a different perspective on the current owner, or indeed the previous one, remains to be seen.