A MYSTERY benefactor who came to staff’s aid at the peak of the wage crisis to has been identified as local businessman, Michael James.

The Bolton Wanderers Community Trust issued a statement yesterday confirming that they made emergency payments to employees of the club and hotel using money donated by the Westhoughton-based property developer.

James, one of the hotel’s major secured creditors, is part of the Football Ventures consortium which is close to completing a deal to buy the club. 

It is understood he personally funded hotel staff salaries in March and payment due on Tuesday, April 30, were also not paid by Ken Anderson. Instead, after a “substantial” personal donation by James, the trust was able to advance some money to staff who came forward alongside running a food bank at the stadium.

Hotel staff eventually received their April salaries from administrators but those at the club were only paid from May 13 onwards. Football staff have not yet received any of their April wage and are unlikely to do so until the club is sold.

Any loaned money will be then be paid back interest-free to the trust.

A statement read: “The Bolton Wanderers Community Trust would like to place on record its gratitude to Mr Michael James of Prescot Business Park for supporting the staff of Bolton Wanderers Football Club and the Bolton Whites Hotel.

“Mr James made a substantial donation to the trust prior to BWFC and the Bolton Whites Hotel going into administration so that employees could receive some funds to cover their April salaries, which were unpaid by the previous regime.”

Phil Mason, head of the Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, added: “Michael has been a tremendous and generous long-standing supporter of the trust and backs the work we do in the community.

“However, he wanted to help the staff, who through no fault of their own, did not receive their contracted salaries for April.

“His generosity proved to be a real godsend for many members of staff and their families who were facing real hardships.

“We cannot thank Michael enough for his commitment to the trust and to the town of Bolton.”