THERE’S a running joke between the long-suffering Bolton Wanderers fans: Which one will get sorted first, Brexit or BWexit?

It is a good job folk in these parts appreciate a bit of gallows humour because to consider the way a great club’s fortunes have been ground down over the last decade, they have often needed to find their own entertainment.

Just a decade ago Gary Megson was waging an unwinnable war against the Bolton fans, who swamped the letters pages of The Bolton News with comments about dwindling crowds at the Reebok.

Just over 22,000 turned out to see a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on the opening day.

How times change. The lowest home league gate in the stadium’s 22-year history was recorded last weekend against Coventry City, stunted it must be said by the fact tickets only went on sale 28 hours before kick-off.

Now there are no complaints about the style of play, nor tactical systems or selections.

The teams Phil Parkinson has been forced to put out have been packed with homegrown players wearing the shirt with pride. And no judgements have been passed as a result.

Once again yesterday, the debate continued about whether it was fair to ask 16 and 17-year-old footballers to play a fourth game in 11 days. By 4pm the answer to that question was a resounding “no” and the game was called off.

The decision was widely appreciated among the Bolton fans, who must by now be getting used to the idea of football playing second fiddle. For some time it has been an afterthought at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The real action has been contested in solicitors’ offices where demands and counter-offers have been passed about in tiki-taka fashion, and at considerable expense.

The only winners – the bank accounts of the administrators, consultants and protagonists who have bickered over the sale of the club and the Bolton Whites Hotel since May.

The only losers – the young players being unfairly exploited in the name of fixture fulfilment and the fans being asked to part with their cash with no guarantees when the misery will end. So it continued in the last 48 hours as Quantuma, the administrators for the hotel, and Paul Appleton, on behalf of Rubins and Partners, released their spin on current events.

Like much of the communication offered in the last few months the sentiment contained within the statement was open to interpretation.

What is beyond doubt, however, is that the main players in this saga have yet to give long-time front runners Football Ventures their 100 per cent backing.

Keir Gordon, the solicitor who has looked after the trust of late owner Eddie Davies, Ken Anderson, the club’s outgoing owner, and Football Ventures director, Michael James – flanked by his advisor, and ex-Wanderers director, Richard Gee, have been locked in a Mexican stand-off for too long.

Animosity between those involved pre-dates administration. The back-biting originated when Davies first began moves to sell up and continued all the way through the stormy Anderson era.

Sympathy will understandably be in short supply for administrators who, as revealed by The Bolton News on July 21, predict their own fees will touch a staggering £1.5million when all is said and done. But in such a complex double deal the old adage about herding cats seems entirely appropriate.

Yesterday’s ticking off from the EFL won’t have helped, either. If the administrators have failed to follow protocol in announcing the postponement of the game it could have a knock-on effects down the line, particularly with a disciplinary board yet to decide the club’s fate for last season’s unfulfilled fixture against Brentford.

Football Ventures’ silence throughout the process has steadily started to work against them. Whereas they diligently went about their business in the early stages, leaving the grandstanding to Bassini and Co, their reluctance to reassure the Bolton public in recent weeks has left a big void.

It has also led people to speculate on what alternatives are out there.

Such has been their resolute desire to announce both club and hotel takeover at the same time it seems highly unlikely they would be content to take one without the other. Yet the hotel administrators continue to advance talks with a second party, thought to be the owners of online fashion brand,

The question has been asked, but never adequately answered, what would happen if the club’s administrators were forced to consider Plan B. What exactly happens in a one-horse-race if the runner stumbles and falls?

Unlike Brexit there are no “hard” and “soft” options, the future of a 145-year-old club rests on gaining an owner able to stabilise the business and take it forward. It is high time egos are put to one side for a moment to consider what is at stake.