Bolton players on strike again to force Chester friendly postponement

By Marc Iles

Chief Football Writer

Bolton players on strike again to force Chester friendly postponement

Get the Sports AM newsletter

BOLTON Wanderers’ friendly at Chester on Friday has been cancelled after senior players refused to play in the match.

A statement released by the squad this afternoon cites a lack of support from the club during the administration process and a lack of communication on the ongoing takeover as the reasons for boycotting the game.

Wanderers went on strike last summer to force the cancellation of a friendly against St Mirren and then became the first club ever to force an EFL game to be postponed for industrial action when they downed tools before a league game against Brentford in April.

The squad has become increasingly concerned by the speed at which the takeover process is happening and met this morning at the training ground to confirm they would not play at Chester.

A joint player statement released to the media read: “We regret that we are having to resort to writing another statement but we feel it necessary to illustrate to the supporters and everyone connected with the football club the current position we face due to the ongoing problems.

“Following the news of the club going into administration, we were optimistic that the immediate financial problems surrounding the staff and players would be resolved in some way.

“As we understand it the administrators took control of the football club on May 13, including its day to day running, until a takeover is completed.

“This included the adoption of all employees’ contracts and, therefore, the full obligations that this entails.

“We were due to return to pre-season training on June 26 but this had to be delayed as the players’ insurance policies had not been paid and the facilities at the training ground were on lockdown. There were no changing or showering facilities, drinking water for training and insufficient medical supplies.

“We returned to training on July 1 to find that, apart from the insurance problem, none of these issues had been resolved. We have since been fulfilling our training obligations despite these problems.

“Some have now been resolved by the current training environment is far from ideal.

“During this period to date we have had no direct communications in any form from Mr Paul Appleton as to the current position regarding our situation or that of the football club.

“we have had limited dialogue with the advisor of the administrators, Mr Keith Cousins, but the information he has passed on has proved unsubstantiated.

“We are reliant on local press and social media for any updates on any progress made. This has obviously increased the frustration and anxiety the players are feeling.

“The players and coaching staff have not been paid by the club for 20 weeks and the administrators have not offered any financial assistance. It is our understanding that there are sufficient funds to provide financial help immediately but there has been none.

“As we have stated in a previous statement, all this has caused severe mental and emotional stress, affecting both our professional and personal lives, and this has now only increased. Certain individuals are in need of support and none has been forthcoming from the club.

“with the new season looming it is becoming impossible to prepare correctly for the challenge ahead.

“Contracted players and staff have returned to what they hoped would be a resolved situation and a fresh start for everyone.

“They have undertaken their duties and obligations with diligence and professionalism but how long is it reasonable for us to do so without being paid?”