THE Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ Trust has called on Ken Anderson to provide a more meaningful line of communication to fans.

Calls from senior members of the BWFCST for the Wanderers owner to engage in “structured dialogue” – both with their own representatives and the wider support – have been rejected, The Bolton News understands.

Attempts to organise a formal meeting have also fallen short, with Anderson also turning down the offer to sign a Memorandum of Understanding – effectively a written handshake between the two organisations intended to improve the exchange of information.

The outcome has prompted the BWFCST to openly question the level and quality of information passed out by Anderson via his regular web notes, and supporters Q&As.

Wanderers maintain their current approach is more than sufficient to meet EFL regulations.

“Since Inner Circle Investments (Ken Anderson’s company) took control of Burnden Leisure, [the] chairman, Ken Anderson, has ensured that he and the club communicate more effectively with supporters than had been the case with the previous ownership,” a spokesperson said.

“The club prefers to communicate with our entire supporter base through regular Q&A sessions, web and programme notes as well as interviews with media rather than on an exclusive basis with individuals or groups.

“We think this is more appropriate and fair for all of our supporters.”

It is claimed by the BWFCST that the quality, rather than quantity, of communication between Anderson and the supporters is the central issue.

"In a week where Fulham Football Club received an award for Best Club and Supporters Group Relationship, the news at Bolton couldn't be any more different as the trust's request for a meeting with the owner has been declined, as has the opportunity to engage in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),” said Mike Smith BWFCST Board Member and co-founder.

“Following help and advice from Supporters Direct and utilising their experience in dealing with various football bodies, including club owners, it has been a long standing objective of the trust to engage in a structured dialogue with the owner, assisted by a MoU, which would hopefully provide the framework to allow a realistic and constructive exchange of views and information between the owner and supporters, as is the case at Fulham.

“The owner maintains that current engagement with supporters negates the need for any additional dialogue with the trust, and while it is accepted that communication from the club's hierarchy is certainly more frequent than under the previous regime, it certainly cannot be described as a structured dialogue with supporters as required under EFL Regulations.

“Current communication broadly falls into one of three categories: Notes on the club website, which impart information, views and opinions on a sporadic basis, the content often being open to interpretation (or misinterpretation). Interviews with the media, which again can impart information, views and opinions, again in a one way direction, to supporters. Q&A sessions, which while involving a handful of supporters, are in a format that makes good PR whilst not encouraging meaningful dialogue.

“EFL Regulations require clubs to engage in structured dialogue with their supporters at least twice a year, and whilst not wishing to minimise the communication methods currently employed by the owner, they in no way constitute a structured dialogue.

“As chairman of Bolton Wanderers, the club's annual report discloses a level of remuneration commensurate with a private sector chief executive position, but with this reward comes responsibilities. In private industry the expectation is for reports to and dialogue with shareholders. Surely, the least we can expect is for the owner to meet with and engage in a structured dialogue with his shareholders, the supporters, in the form of the Trust?”

A supplementary statement was also made by BWFCST chairman, Terrence Rigby, which read: “We support the club Mr Anderson owns. We want to enjoy its success and help out where we can when it is difficult.

“In order to do so we could do with having a healthy and open line of communication.

“It seems to be enjoyed by owners and fans alike at Tranmere, Accrington Stanley and others, so why not at Bolton Wanderers?”

Based on recommendations from the government, the EFL recently adopted rules on communication between a club’s ownership and supporters.

Regulation 115 says: “Clubs shall hold at least two meetings/fans forums per Season to which its supporters (or representatives) are to be invited in order to discuss significant issues relating to the Club. The framework for these meetings shall be documented in the Club’s customer charter,” and that “Clubs must be represented by the Club’s majority owner, board director(s) or other senior executive(s).”

Wanderers have held two open meetings shortly before games against Reading (November 2017) and Blackburn (October 2018) and Anderson also visited hospitality suites before a game against Fulham on February 10, 2018. Questions were also answered after the recent AGM.