PREPARATIONS for Wanderers’ first game of the season remain in disarray just three days before kick-off after the sale of tickets was withdrawn suddenly by the club.

Fans had been critical of the pricing structure announced on Monday evening, which put adult tickets at £24, Under-23s and Over-65s at £18 and Under-18s at £12.

At 8.50am this morning – just 10 minutes before going on open sale to the public – Wanderers made a statement to say tickets sales were being suspended, pending “very recent developments”.

A further announcement was then made this afternoon to thank fans for their continued patience, with the promise of another update tomorrow morning.

It is understood the delay is down to the Football Ventures consortium, who had agreed to underwrite the costs of the game going ahead even if their takeover had not yet been completed.

The price of putting on this game in particular is higher than normal as many of the businesses and services needed on match-day have remained unpaid since the tail end of Ken Anderson’s time as owner.

That could go some way to explaining why ticket costs were pitched so high – although The Bolton News has learned there was a high degree of internal concern among staff that the prices would be poorly-received, given the uncertainty of the last few months and the lack of senior player recruitment over the summer.

The final say went to an external management company associated with Nick Mason, the Pink Floyd drummer, and known business partner of Sharon Brittan.

The same company sought to put sales on hold today – and their increasing influence on club affairs could be an indication that the takeover is finally drawing to a conclusion.

Talk was again positive behind the scenes with one source claiming there had been “distinct movement” in the last couple of days as a matter was rectified with one of the senior creditors.

An SAG meeting held in Bolton Town Hall also passed without incident, and there is no known problem with the stadium’s safety certificate.

Nevertheless, there is an understandable air of cynicism among the Bolton fans having heard Football Ventures described as being so close to taking ownership for so long. The consortium is now entering into a fifth week as the administrators’ preferential bidder.

As such, talk that a cut in pricing could also be timed with an announcement on ownership has been treated with some caution.

The need to resume positivity shown among supporters at last weekend’s game against Wycombe, however, is quite obvious. And after an angry reaction to ticket pricing, a familiar air of frustration is beginning to creep in once again.

Should the club live up to its promise of an update on Thursday morning, there will be just two full days for fans to collect or download tickets.

The Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ Trust had earlier appealed for a reduction in pricing in an official statement released on Monday night – and have also been in discussion with members of Football Ventures.

“Further to the announcement on the club website this afternoon, the BWFCST is appalled at the pricing of tickets for this coming Saturday's first home game of the season,” read a statement from the board.

“We are therefore issuing an immediate plea for you to reconsider the pricing structure as a matter of urgency before ticket sales commence at 9am tomorrow morning.

“We join with other BWFC fans groups in registering our dismay at this treatment of not only the BWFC fans, but also the visiting Coventry City supporters.

“The patience and loyalty of our club's amazing supporters, on show for all to see at Wycombe last Saturday, is being tested and disrespected yet again.

“Circumstances do alter cases and in the ongoing distressed situation at our club, we would ask that you reconsider pricing. Surely a maximum level not exceeding £20 for full price ticketing would encourage the support in numbers that the name of Bolton Wanderers deserves?

“We would also ask you to reconsider allowing sales on the day and we are at a loss to understand why this facility is being denied to supporters.

“We hope that you will reconsider and treat the supporters of both clubs with more respect than is currently on show.”