FOR the third time in a little over a year, life at Wanderers has been brought to a grinding halt by a players’ strike.

A disaffected squad – unpaid by the club since March - released a joint statement yesterday bemoaning a lack of communication and compassion from the club’s administrators and throwing barbs in the general direction of a slow-moving takeover process.

The Football Ventures consortium has stood on the verge of completing a deal to buy the club for several weeks but their inability to purchase the Bolton Whites Hotel, a key asset in their plan, and news of a potential six-week wait has proved a tipping point in a dressing room already badly scarred by the financial problems of the last 12 months, and also left the would-be buyers vulnerable to a string of questions about their funding.

With the start of the League One season just over two weeks away the frustrated message sent out to the media yesterday was directed by a just a handful of survivors from previous strikes.

Only half a dozen senior players remain from last season’s group. They have reported to training to avoid any accusations of breaching their contract but until this week found their Lostock base under padlock.

Some of the players have struggled to cope mentally with the pressures of not receiving their wages since May – others have offers to play at other clubs but have waited to see whether Bolton’s situation will be resolved.

Yesterday the decision was taken jointly by the group that they were unwilling to risk injury in a friendly at Chester on Friday night, and Phil Parkinson was informed that a strike had been called.

“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,” the players’ statement read.

“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?”

The same sentiments were lodged on the eve of the cancelled friendly at St Mirren last summer and when the club created an unwanted piece of history by boycotting a home clash with Brentford in April. In short, little has changed.

Much like the players, fans could be forgiven for wondering when the agony is going to end.

With Football Ventures will uncommitted on buying the club without the hotel, rudimentary issues like season tickets and replica kits remain in limbo.

Administrators – employed by the family of late owner Eddie Davies to sell the club – insist they have lived up to their end of the bargain, teeing up the Football Ventures deal in a relatively swift time.

And while joint administrator Paul Appleton expressed some sympathy in his own response to the players’ words, there were also some pointed references to the fact football creditors will be paid back the £2.75million they are owed in full, whereas many other businesses and individuals will not be in such a privileged position.

“I have seen the statement released by the players today,” said Appleton. “While it is riddled with factual inaccuracies, their position is understandable and one with which I have a great deal of sympathy. The fact they have not been paid would appear to have had a major impact on their collective mindset.

“The ongoing situation has been continuously explained to them by Phil Parkinson. My team and I have been in dialogue with him since the first day of the Administration. We have also spoken to various agents, the PFA and the LMA to keep them apprised of the situation.

“As football creditors, Phil, his staff and the players will get paid in full once the deal has been completed. This is in contrast to other creditors, who will receive nothing approaching that level of compensation.

“Yes, the players have had to suffer hardship in terms of limited training facilities but decisions had to be taken in terms of finances and the need to prioritise payment of club staff was an overriding factor. And, with the greatest respect to the players, they do not have a full understanding or appreciation of the club’s ongoing financial position. I am working within a budget to keep this club alive until a sale is completed.

“However, the fact is I share many of the same frustrations as the players, the staff and all the fans who have shown incredible resilience and patience throughout this process.

“We have reached a stage in the deal to sell the club to Football Ventures and are working tirelessly to complete the transaction.

“It has been a complex process and one which has taken longer than I would have preferred considering the new season starts in just over two weeks. Now it is time for all parties to recognise the necessity for swift action and decisions to safeguard the future of the club.

“Hopefully, supporters will be reassured by the fact plans for player recruitment, season ticket and match day prices are all in place and will be activated immediately once a deal has been completed.

“But one outstanding element of the deal, which is not under my control, is the sale of Whites Hotel.

“Football Ventures' ownership model, one supported by the EFL, is based on a deal for both the club and hotel, so I would encourage all parties involved to act swiftly to ensure the pressing timeframe for completion is met.

“I would implore everybody to drive through this deal and ensure this great football club is restored to its rightful position.”