WANDERERS’ owners Football Ventures have produced their first set of accounts, which highlight the financial challenges still being faced by the club.

Chairman Sharon Brittan has underlined FV’s funding commitment but conceded that the pandemic has brought “extraordinarily turbulent times”.

The figures, which reflect parent company Football Ventures Whites Ltd’s financial position for the year ending June 30, 2020, show a £3.5million operating loss.

Turnover for the company was £9.3million and wage costs amounted to £7.3m.

Accountants Cowgills were able to report a clean audit – which had not been the case in the club’s last set of financial figures under previous ownership.

The report also detailed Wanderers’ financial commitments, which include around £3.7million in creditors who were due to be paid by this summer.

The majority of that total is likely to be unsecured creditors which were inherited from the administration process, and who must be satisfied to the EFL’s liking in order for the club to avoid any penalties. Football Ventures have already gone on record to say they are on track to accomplish this.

A clearer picture has also emerged of debts and loans at the club. A £4.6m loan note from FVWL directors and shareholders is due to be repaid by August 2022, and 50 per cent of a £5.5m loan assumed as part of the takeover - and understood to be owed to the family of late owner, Eddie Davies, has now been repaid.

The remaining 50% of that loan arrangement with Davies's trust will now only become payable in the event that success on the pitch is delivered through promotions. A payment of £250,000 was triggered after promotion to League One last season.

A £5.5m loan from Prescot Business Park Ltd agreed in January 2016 is now worth £6.8m with interest – but all extra fees would be wiped off if the loan is repaid by August 2022.

Another £2.5m secured loan, understood to be owed to former vice-chairman Brett Warburton, is also outstanding.

Added to this, the report shows that Wanderers took out a £5m ‘convertible’ loan from a combination of members of the FV consortium and UK FF Nominees Ltd, under a scheme that aims to support companies during the Coronavirus outbreak. The loan is due for repayment in August 2023 and has an interest rate of 8% but would be converted into shares if not repaid.

Shareholders also provided a £3m unsecured loan facility in February 2021, payable in 2023, although it is not yet known if the club has had to draw down on it at this stage.

Technically, Wanderers have around £30m of debt on the books - but the structure of the loans, and the identity of those providing the money put the club into a much more comfortable position than many around them.

It remains to be seen what effect a season without fans has had, or to what extent excellent season ticket sales have helped to bridge the gap.

Bolton Wanderers Chairman Sharon Brittan released the following statement on the official site: “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, almost 18 months ago, the word 'unprecedented’ became commonplace in our vocabularies. 


“When we review the effects this pandemic has had on our personal, family and professional lives we have all encountered unprecedented events. Whether that be restrictions to how we go about our daily lives, not being able to see or embrace our loved ones, not being able to go to work or not being able to do the things that we do for leisure and fun. Not to mention the devastating impact the disease has had on each of us, whether we have suffered illness ourselves or have sadly lost those we hold dear. 


”Every single person in society has been affected and all businesses have had to adapt to a constantly changing and uncertain landscape. 


“Football Ventures came together to ensure that Bolton Wanderers Football Club survived. We inherited a difficult situation with significant administration obligations to be sorted through.


“Taking all this into consideration, huge progress has been made to stabilise the financial position and we now look forward with confidence to being competitive in League One next season.


“I have to thank every single Bolton Wanderers fan, member of staff, season ticket holder, sponsor, partner, corporate customer and our local business community for all the support, faith and commitment they have shown me, my board and the club during what have been extraordinarily turbulent times.


“The season ticket holders and corporate customers who waived their right to refunds for the curtailment of the 2019/20 season, when the pandemic first struck; those who purchased season tickets for the last campaign and weren't able to attend the University of Bolton Stadium and everybody who purchased merchandise and iFollow passes all contributed to the on-field success of last season.


“Without their contribution, particularly over the last couple of seasons, I am confident that as a club we would not have achieved an immediate return to Sky Bet League One.


“This is only the beginning of the journey and as I write this statement almost 9,000 of you have bought season tickets for this coming season. We are truly grateful to every one of you because you are all vital in this journey.


“In Ian Evatt we have a young and talented manager whose own personal ambition matches that of our club.


“Every penny you invest in the club, whether that be season tickets, merchandise, hospitality or sponsorship, helps to strengthen and enhance our playing squad.


“Ian and his staff have worked extremely hard over the summer recruiting new players who will bolster the squad so that we are competitive and ready to challenge for another promotion. 


“Behind the scenes, we are also making positive changes to our management and staffing structure so that we are ready for what will be an exciting future, but to be clear, we still have much to do.


“Our Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Gartside left his position at the end of last season so that he could spend more time with his young family.


“Personally, I cannot thank Andrew enough for what he did for the football club since his appointment.


“Andrew provided tremendous advice and counsel during the takeover, and his contribution over the past 18 months has been invaluable. He will be missed enormously!


“His lifelong passion for the club was evident throughout and I know that this will continue as he spends time with his family.


“Knowing Andrew, he will always remain in contact with us and he certainly won’t be a stranger.


“On behalf of the Board and everybody at the club, I wish Andrew and his family all the very best for the future.


“Scott Lindsay, our Chief Financial Officer, has assumed the COO responsibilities during this interim period with a view to us appointing a permanent CEO in the near future.


“The accounts we have today filed relate to a snapshot in time which is 12 months old. The progress on and off the park since then is evident for all to see. The board and investors have demonstrated their commitment to support the club through an incredibly difficult period for people and for the economy.


“The shareholders ensured that sufficient funding was provided to safely see the club survive during the 2020/21 season and they remain committed to supporting the club into the future.


“The new season is almost upon us and like you I am hopeful that you are all able to return to the University of Bolton Stadium so that you can show your stunning support in person.


“Thank you for the loyalty and passion you have shown and we are so grateful that you will be part of our exciting journey.”