REPORTS in the Midlands claim that Laurence Bassini has exchanged contracts on a deal to buy Championship club Birmingham City in a two-year staged takeover.

The 52-year-old, who had previously owned Watford, was at the centre of a manic takeover attempt at Bolton Wanderers in 2019, at a time when the club was placed into administration and hurtling towards financial disaster.

He claims he will not be a chairman or director at Birmingham, and will appoint a board of “experienced football people” at St Andrew’s.

His bid is still subject to EFL approval – a sentence which may resonate with Whites supporters, who followed his often frantic attempts to get a deal done with former owner, Ken Anderson, and the legal challenges which followed.

Of course, his attempt failed, with the Football Ventures consortium eventually securing the club’s future at the 11th hour.

For 147 days, however, Bassini’s wranglings with Anderson stirred up one of the most worrying periods in Wanderers’ history.

Here, we present a timeline of statements, claims and counterclaims from a troubling summer.

The Bolton News:


April 3, 2019: Wanderers were in the High Court defending a winding-up order from HMRC over seven-figure debts – and the man who claimed to be the club’s next owner was present in court.

Laurence Bassini, watched as the club was given another week to get its affairs in order, its barrister, Hillary Stonefrost QC, adding: “He would not be here if he were not serious (about buying the club).



April 5, 2019: News breaks that Bassini is close to completing a deal to buy Bolton Wanderers.

Bassini was looking to finalise a takeover within days but was already plotting a return to the top flight for Wanderers.

“If it wasn't for my love and affection for football and this club, I wouldn't be interested,” the 49-year-old told TalkSPORT. “Bolton is a great, great club.

“I looked two years ago just before Mr Anderson came in. It’s a great club that deserves more and has the potential to return to the top “I was at the game on Saturday at QPR and it was a great result.

“I don’t know if we’ll go down this season, I’m hoping we won’t, but if we do money will be put in to bring them straight back up.

“If they go down it’s a three-year plan and if they stay up it’s a two-year plan to get back in the Premier League.

“I am a multi-millionaire. The money is available and there’s just a couple of things to check with Anderson and the club.”

Bassini also argued that his time at Watford had been misinterpreted in the media.

“It’s taken six years to investigate the actual things that have gone on,” Bassini said.

“People have done things they shouldn’t have done and there is a police and Football League investigation going on.

“If it had been true what had gone on, I wouldn’t have been allowed back into football.

“I was never a rogue chairman and a rogue owner.”



April 17, 2019: It is announced that Laurence Bassini has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement to buy Ken Anderson’s 94.5 per cent stake in Bolton Wanderers, subject to EFL ratification.

A club statement said: "Bolton Wanderers Football Club are delighted to announce that a Sale and Purchase Agreement has been signed which will see Ken Anderson's shareholding in Burnden Leisure Limited being sold to Mr Laurence Bassini.

"This agreement will give Laurence Bassini full control of Burnden Leisure Limited and of course both Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Whites Hotel.

"The change of ownership requires approval by the English Football League before the deal can be finalised. The financial terms of the transaction will remain private and confidential between the parties.

"We are sure supporters will be very pleased to understand that as part of the transaction, all of the existing loans to the club will be settled in full and the associated charges removed, meaning the business will be debt free for the first time in many years."

Outgoing chairman Anderson added: "I am very pleased to hand over ownership of this great club to Laurence, I wish him and all of our supporters the very best for the future."


The Bolton News:


April 19, 2020: Laurence Bassini is pictured by The Bolton News arriving at the University of Bolton Stadium for the first time. Accompanying him at the time was Matt Southall, who would later have a somewhat controversial spell as chairman of Charlton Athletic.

“We need to move on, we need to be talking about football again and backing this new owner,” manager Phil Parkinson said, optimistically. “Hopefully this club can move into a more successful period.”

Bassini would be in the directors’ box to watch the home game against Aston Villa. Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham scored for the visitors in a 2-0 win.


The Bolton News:


April 22, 2019: Bassini joins the Wanderers contingent in the directors’ box at Blackburn Rovers and is momentarily serenaded by the away fans.



April 26, 2019: Bassini says he will inject £1million in personal funds to pay players and avoid strike action, forcing the cancellation of a Championship game against Brentford.

“I am not going to allow this game to be postponed,” he said. “I will do everything I possibly can to make sure the players get paid and that this game goes ahead.”



April 27, 2019: Wanderers game against Brentford is postponed. It is the first time in Football League history that a game has been cancelled in such a way.

Wanderers issued a statement claiming Bassini had not provided the short-term funding he had pledged on signing the Sale and Purchase Agreement.

“As previously stated, a formal Sale and Purchase Agreement between Laurence Bassini and Inner Circle Investments Limited had been agreed and, subject to acceptance by the English Football League (EFL), the sale would have been completed as envisaged between the parties. Part of this agreement required Mr Bassini to undertake certain actions to ensure the club could operate during the approval process.

“The principal undertakings given by Mr Bassini confirmed he would supply the short-term funding required to ensure the business can continue whilst the requirements of the EFL are undertaken.

“Mr Bassini addressed the squad prior to the game against Aston Villa on Friday April 19. At this meeting he gave a commitment to arrange payment to the players and coaching staff who are still due their outstanding salaries from March by no later than Wednesday, April 24.

“Despite further promises made to both the team manager and senior representatives of the squad no funding has been made available to allow payment to the staff or players.

“Mr Bassini also failed to make the funds available, which he confirmed would be placed in the club’s account prior to the Aston Villa game. These funds were required to ensure the attendance of the emergency services under the stadium’s safety certificate.

“Mr Bassini gave assurance the monies required had been sent by Metro Bank on numerous occasions. Once it became clear that Mr Bassini had not transferred these funds Ken Anderson quickly sent the required amount to ensure the game could be played even though it was not his responsibility.

“During the past 10 days numerous further undertakings have been given by Mr Bassini but as of today no funds have ever been received.

“Given the broken promise Mr Bassini gave to the players that their wages will be paid by no later than Wednesday, April 24 the squad have informed the club that they will not make themselves available for selection for today’s game against Brentford. Given this decision the club had no alternative other than to postpone the fixture.

“The club will discuss the matter with both the EFL and Brentford and a further statement will be made to supporters in respect of any arrangements for playing this game.

“Ken Anderson wishes to make it absolutely clear to supporters, staff and all stakeholders that the agreement reached with Mr Bassini has not changed or has he in any way attempted to renegotiate the agreed terms of the signed agreement between the parties. Mr Bassini has not carried out, or made us aware, of any further due diligence on the business which would lead him to any change of mind and attempt to breach the agreement.

“The agreement between Inner Circle Investments and Mr Bassini would have resulted in a personal loss to Mr Anderson but he felt the deal offered by Mr Bassini was the best option to allow a quick and a solvent solution for the club, something that has been at the foremost of his thoughts during the process.

“Unfortunately Inner Circle Investments and Ken Anderson as the only director of the company cannot allow this process to continue and therefore he is now receiving independent advice from his professional advisors.”


The Bolton News:


April 28, 2019: Bassini denied that he had guaranteed to provide short-term funding – which he said was to pay emergency services for the game against Aston Villa – or that he had promised to pay staff wages by a set date.

“I had a meeting with the manager and said I would deal with the wages but I could not put a time frame on it. Anyone who says I did is incorrect,” he told The Bolton News.

“I explained to them that I could not pay them directly because I would be in breach of the EFL rules and that could trigger all sorts of problems down the line. I came up with a way around it and produced £1million in clear funds – a fact which can be backed up by the lawyers involved and Sir Dave Richards, a knight of the realm, and one of the most trusted names in football.

“Still the mandate wasn’t there. He didn’t produce the share certificate.

“The accounts are still frozen and I am not just going to hand money over blindly because I don’t know where it is going.

“I have been trying to get information to help me change things but it has not been forthcoming. It’s like the whole place is scared.

“I have been working on getting a validation order but I have not had the responses I need. Things are just all over the place.

“On Monday I want to get people in and deal with this properly, regardless of how much it costs.”

Bassini pledged to get a validation order issued to unfreeze the club’s accounts, adding: “I promise I am doing this for the right reasons, I am honestly passionate about saving this club.”


The Bolton News:


April 30, 2019: After a meeting with the (now former) EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey, Bassini is given two days to show the necessary proof of funding and business plan to complete the deal.

Wanderers had put out a statement earlier the same day to say that negotiations would “cease with immediate effect” if they were not concluded by close of business.



May 2, 2019: Anderson claimed via a club statement that he was no longer in discussion with Bassini over a sale.

Bassini had voiced concerns on TalkSPORT that debts he had discovered were approximately £14m higher than he had anticipated – although the club disputed his claim.

Another barbed statement was posted on the official website.

“Following the request from Mr Bassini to allow him a further 48 hours to complete his funding package and present this to the EFL, we can now confirm that no subsequent meeting took place and nothing further has been presented for the board of the EFL to consider.

“Given the urgency of the situation, which has been expressed to Mr Bassini, we now consider his approach for the club at an end and no further discussions will be entered into on the matter with him. We thank him for his efforts on behalf of the club and wish him well with any future interests to return to football following his previous brief spell at Watford.

“The club would not wish to get into detail in respect of a number of comments attributed to Mr Bassini; however, we would like to confirm that despite repeated offers to allow his professional advisors to carry out due diligence in the club's data room this work has never been undertaken so we are at a loss as to understand the comments regarding additional debt that he claimed to have discovered. We can only assume the ongoing cash flow requirements for the next two seasons as required by the EFL for all potential acquirers of a club are what Mr Bassini refers to when talking about ‘additional debt’.

“The potential issues the club faces following notification from the EFL are purely due to the Chairman allowing time for Mr Bassini to complete his takeover of the club. In hindsight this has not been helpful but we are sure supporters will understand his desire to give the possibility of a solvent deal every chance of success. We will work with the EFL to answer the questions they have raised surrounding recent events.

“Ken Anderson will now consult with his professional advisors and consider the best course of action as a matter of urgency.”

The Bolton News:

May 4, 2019: It was a day of chaos at Wanderers.

The previous statement prompted Bassini to claim to members of the club’s staff that he, and not Anderson, was in charge.

Mixed messages were being fired from every direction as the Bank Holiday weekend continued, and the final game of the season was due to be played at Nottingham Forest.

Bassini had claimed he would be in the directors’ box at the City Ground – but security staff were placed at key points around the ground with the instruction that he not be allowed into the premises.

He later confirmed he did not want to create a flashpoint and had decided not to travel.

The Safety Advisory Group also met to declare the UniBol ‘unsafe’ under the Safety of Sports Act 1975, which meant the EFL’s hopes of reorganising the Brentford game were dashed.



May 7, 2019: Facing a winding-up petition at the High Court from HMRC and sportswear company Macron, Wanderers were gearing up to be put into administration.

Bassini told Sky Sports he had done all he could to prevent it.

"I have tried to have conversations with HMRC and others in an attempt to prevent tomorrow's court proceedings going ahead and risking the club's future,” he said.

"Ken Anderson is not sticking to the agreed deal and my hands are tied as a result, it's very frustrating, I am trying to save this club but it looks increasingly like administration will happen".



May 8, 2019: Wanderers issued another statement, having earned another stay of execution at the High Court.

An adjournment was also given in court to allow the appointment of an administrator, making this the last time Anderson was able to send official communication via the club.

“Mr Bassini, regrettably his continued time wasting and empty promises have caused a great deal of heartache and frustration for the staff and supporters alike and now leave the Eddie Davies Trust and I with little or no choice other than for one of us to place the businesses into administration, as any likelihood of finding any resolution before the High Court hearing is not possible.”


The Bolton News:


May 16, 2019: Then manager, Phil Parkinson, said Bassini’s involvement had heaped more stress on to players and staff at the club.

Wanderers had by that point been placed into administration under the control of David Rubin and Partners, with the hotel administration overseen by Quantuma.

Parkinson said: “Laurence came into the club, I met him, he chatted to the players, came to a couple of games,” he said, “and I kind of felt the more it was going on, maybe he had the funds behind him?

“I think he was trying hard to get those funds but it really was a complication we didn’t need because it delayed the process and put people through more stress at the club, which at the time we certainly didn’t need.”

Bassini claimed the same day on Sky Sports that he would buy the club out of administration.

"I didn't want to do it after administration, I wanted to prevent the damage that has caused, however it wasn't possible and not of my making," he said.

"I will be speaking with the people at the club on Friday and they will have my offer."


The Bolton News: Festive: The events will be held at Bolton Whites Hotel


June 5, 2019: Bassini launched a legal challenge against Ken Anderson’s appointment of Quantuma as administrators of The Bolton Whites Hotel, which he claimed contravened the Sale and Purchase Agreement.

“I am trying to save the club,” he said. “I am very worried that if I don’t do something now that it could go into liquidation. The club is in a vulnerable position.

“Over the last few weeks I have stayed quiet, let things move along, but I have not had the information I need from the receiver.

“I will serve notice to Quantuma on the SPA right away because I am not prepared to stand by and watch this happen, it is just not right and I want the fans to know that.”

Quantuma disputed Bassini’s claims, with a spokesperson adding: “The joint administrators have confirmed with their legal advisors that they have been validly appointed and do not wish to comment further on the comments of Mr Bassini.”



June 30, 2019: Bassini claimed he would seek a High Court injunction to stop the sale of Wanderers to Football Ventures, who had by this point signed a Heads of Terms Agreement.

Bassini said he could pay back £20m in secured and unsecured creditors in one fell swoop with a new bid with local cash backers.

He had also stated his latest plan was based on Championship football over five years, as opposed to the Premier League in three.



July 12, 2019: Bassini claimed in an interview on TalkSPORT that his bid to buy the club out of administration was being backed by West Ham owner David Sullivan and that it was the “better choice” of those on the table.

It was claimed the deal was worth £25million and also involved the leaseback of the University of Bolton Stadium.

But the administrators say they had firm financial and legal reasons for turning him down in favour of preferred bidders, the Football Ventures consortium, and accused the 49-year-old of “threatening” behaviour in the weeks since he was told he would not be considered.

A statement read: “We note with dismay the interview given by Laurence Bassini to TalkSPORT this morning. “The simple fact is, for several reasons, Mr Bassini was not the successful bidder under the process we have carried out to sell Bolton Wanderers.

“His bid was not the best for the club. Moreover, he was not able to satisfy either the proof or source of funding to the satisfaction of the process or within the prescribed timeframe. That remains the case.

“Subsequently, Mr Bassini has sent a vast number of erratic and threatening emails and text messages, as well as making threatening calls, to the point where we have instructed lawyers to deal with them.

“We will be making no further comment about Mr Bassini or his claims.”


The Bolton News:


July 23, 2019: Bassini calls a meeting with Bolton Wanderers fans outside the stadium, in which he planned to tell people “the truth” about his takeover plans.

Around 60 people, including media, heard him make several claims about former owner, Ken Anderson, and read information from a stack of printed emails he had brought along.

“My solicitors talked about an injunction, but I am not going to have it, even though there is a threat of it, because I don’t want to be the cause of this club if it goes down, for it to have an excuse,” he said.

“I am even willing to pay the players and if I get my money back, I get my money back, to keep this club going because I love it as much as you guys.

“I love football and I care. Whoever thinks I’m mad, and all the rest of it, but I’m not mad. I care.

“I don’t even have to own it – let me bring in 10 or 12 players. I don’t have to own this club.”

Asked why the Stanmore-based property developer had persisted in trying to buy Wanderers, he added: “Why? Because it took to me when I was here and the people are real.”



August 3, 2019: Wanderers had somehow limped to the start of the season but needed three players to be cleared to play on the morning of their game against Wycombe Wanderers. The team contained a handful of Under-18s making their professional debuts, including Joe White, Yoan Zouma, Dennis Politic, Eddie Brown and Liam Edwards.



August 8, 2019: The new season a week old, a bombshell was dropped from the Manchester High Court after Bassini claimed to have won an injunction to stop Football Ventures buying Wanderers’ parent company, Burnden Leisure Limited.

Bassini alleged a breach of contract in the Sale and Purchase Agreement signed in May.

Plans had been in place to announce the takeover the same day – but administrators were instead forced to hurry out an incredulous statement.

“It is with a combination of outrage and disgust that I have to inform Bolton Wanderers fans that the deal to sell the club to Football Ventures has been temporarily suspended in the last hour,” it read.

“Late this afternoon, we were informed by lawyers acting for Laurence Bassini that he had been awarded a court order attempting to prevent the sale of Burnden Leisure Limited, part of an action against a company owned by Ken Anderson.

“It beggars belief that Mr Bassini, a man who publicly professed to care passionately for the club, has now, through his actions, threatened its very existence.

“Despite a long and hugely complex process of negotiation, we were finally on the brink of completion this afternoon when Bassini’s order was served.

“Our lawyers are now in conversation with Counsel in a bid to overturn the order immediately.”

The Bolton News:


August 10, 2019: On hearing of the takeover collapse, and still unpaid by the club in months, almost all Wanderers’ senior players withdrew their services for the League One game against Coventry City.

Nicky Spooner and Gavin McCann were put in charge of the youngest squad ever named for an EFL game, averaging a shade under 19 years.

But the ‘Junior Whites’ battled to a 0-0 draw against the team which would eventually lift the title winners’ trophy.

August 11, 2019: Wanderers’ first team manager Phil Parkinson begged for Bassini to “leave Bolton alone” after watching another takeover effort fall at the final hurdle.

“Now it’s down to the people behind the scenes to do their bit. No more messing about,” he said.

“Get your heads together quickly and sort this mess out because everybody is absolutely sick and tired of it.

“Mr Bassini, leave us alone. Please, just leave us alone. Leave this great club alone to get on with rebuilding its future, putting it back together.

“That’s my message – as a staff, right the way through, people have done their bit. Now whether it is administrators, new people buying the club, trustees, old owners of the club, whoever it is, come on, get yourself sorted and out of this mess quickly.”


The Bolton News:


April 15, 2019: The High Court at Manchester lifted any restrictions on the sale of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, paving the way for Football Ventures to resume the takeover.

After three hours of deliberations, Judge Stephen Eyre QC ruled that there had been a “misinterpretation” of the original order and that he did not say a “disposal of shares” should be prevented.

Parent company, Burnden Leisure Limited, was removed from the argument between Bassini and Anderson – with their court battle set to continue for some time.

Both parties were claiming a measure of victory.

Geoff Cunningham, a senior associate with Walker Morris solicitors, acting on Anderson’s behalf, said: “The order is a fantastic result for Ken Anderson and the administrators of the club and the hotel. The order now gives them the ability to go ahead and sell the club and now make the progress that everyone wants to see.”

Mr Bassini also welcomed the verdict, adding: “I am very pleased that the judge has accepted my continued entitlement to an injunction. Obviously I fully believe in the integrity of my claim.

“The judgement also contained a very clear warning about a potential transaction – and I say again, potential – raising questions about the administrators’ conduct, for which there will be separate redress.”

During the trial, Bassini said he had evidence that West Ham owner David Sullivan had guaranteed him £12.5m loan to finance the takeover.

He also claimed that Anderson had “shifted the goalposts” to try and get an extra £5m from him at the time of the SPA agreement.

A statement from the club’s joint-administrator, Paul Appleton said: “I know it has been a frustrating few days for all involved. Now we must progress to completion as quickly as possible in order to secure the future of the club. Accordingly, my lawyers and I are in contact with all parties to progress to completion as soon as possible.”



August 19, 2019: Wanderers postpone a game against Doncaster Rovers citing concern over the effect it would have on their youngest players.

A squad comprised mainly of youth teamers was beaten 5-0 at Tranmere Rovers a few days earlier and it was feared by being asked to play at the Keepmoat Stadium it would be “detrimental to both their welfare and development.”

The EFL had said the previous season that they would have forced Bolton to play against Brentford with their Under-18s had they not already been involved in a game against Bristol City less than seven days earlier, but to do so would have contravened the league’s own rules.


The Bolton News:


August 20, 2019: Bassini calls a second meeting with fans outside the Nat Lofthouse statue and says he will fund signings ahead of the upcoming transfer window.

His case against Anderson would rumble on for some time but the club still had only a handful of senior players nearly three weeks into the League One campaign.

“Let me get the team eight or 10 players,” he told fans. “I am worried that this club is going to be relegated.

“What I am asking is let me deal with it until September 2 when my court case comes up.

“What has happened is unacceptable. They can’t allow it to continue. Let me come in to sort out the mess before the case. The EFL have got a chance here to step in and do the right thing.”

The Bolton News:

August 28, 2020: Football Ventures completed their takeover at Wanderers, just 24 hours after the administrators had conceded the club was heading for liquidation if a deal could not be agreed.