THE Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust has confirmed it will apply to renew a protective order on the UniBol next year.

The trust successfully had the stadium listed with the council as an Asset of Community Value in 2017 under previous owner Ken Anderson.

The ACV listing prevents so-called ‘secret sales’ of property and gives the applicant a window of opportunity to raise money for an official bid should its owners indicate they want to sell.

The trust has struck up a good relationship with the new Wanderers hierarchy and chairman Terrence Rigby is confident Football Ventures remain financially on track to honour their commitments this summer.

The ACV application will be made again, however, to ensure there is no risk that the stadium could be lost to the club in the future.

“The local authority was very keen that the stadium should be an asset of community value so we were pushing at an open door back in 2017,” he explained.

“The club and dear old Ken (Anderson) were not so excited by the idea because what it means is that if a property is listed as an ACV, the community group – in this case us – get six weeks from the time you declare to the council that you are thinking of disposing of the asset in some way to decide to make a bid ourselves or to encourage someone else to do it.

“There is then another moratorium of six months in which to pull together a bid in order to buy the asset.

“We will, not might, if it ever arises, pull together a bid. And from our previous experience of trying to get together interest in actually buying the club let alone the stadium I am confident there will be a great deal of interest and a great deal of support for us.

“it would not be so much a problem as an opportunity for the trust and the people of Bolton if it ever happened.

“You can be absolutely assured that when it comes to an end we will apply to renew it for another five years. It is crucial – just think Coventry and you don’t need to think anything else. That was a disaster at the time and even now they are scrambling round trying to purchase back the ground they built.”

New owners Football Ventures have brought financial stability to the club during challenging times and now appear to be getting some success on the pitch as Ian Evatt’s side push for automatic promotion.

The owners do have obligations to meet this summer, however, if they are to move out of EFL embargo – and Mr Rigby has clarified comments made by Chief Operating Officer Andy Gartside at the trust’s AGM earlier this year, confirming that there are no plans to sell assets to raise funds.

Football Ventures entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) with the administrators in May 2019, which saw them take control of everything owned by the club but not retain the legacies of Burnden Leisure Limited, which is still in the process of being liquidated.

A reference to the APA by Gartside in the online meeting earlier this year prompted some concern among fans who had presumably concluded that current assets were in the process of being purchased.

“I spoke to Andy Gartside at some length last week and he confirmed to me that he was not talking about the end of the season, or paying off unsecured creditors and nor was the club intending to sell any of the assets that Football Ventures own,” Mr Rigby told a live Q&A held by the trust.

“We can be reasonably confident at the moment – and, of course, things can change – that nothing untoward is going to happen in the near future in relation to the stadium or indeed any other assets that are currently owned by Football Ventures.

“So far as the issue of paying off unsecured creditors and investors in the Football Ventures company, I didn’t get any further than asking the question. I wasn’t surprised because clearly there are elements of confidentiality about what their plans are to raise funds, what their plans are to pay-off the unsecured creditors in August, which is the due date so far as the administration/liquidation is concerned.

“But what he did say was – and I have got to know Andy quite well over the last few months and trust what he says – was that there are plans in place and every expectation that they will be able to pay off the unsecured creditors and therefore to comply with EFL rules and therefore look forward that there will be no more embargoes after the end of the season.

“I should also say I have met and spoken to Sharon Brittan and she too has assured me that plans were definitely in place for paying the unsecured creditors and seeing us out of administration, finally.

“We can only hope there will be an announcement towards the end of the season as to exactly what it is they are doing.”