FORMER Bolton Wanderers owner Ken Anderson has been linked with a return to football with League One crisis club Reading.

The Telegraph newspaper has said a party linked with the 71-year-old is interested in buying the Royals, who have been put up for sale by their owner Dai Yongge.

Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is also reported to have made an offer for the club, which has experienced considerable cashflow problems and been docked 16 points in less than two years by the EFL.

Their four-point penalties anchor them to the foot of League One this season with three wins from 16 games – one of which came against Ian Evatt’s Wanderers in October at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Other parties are also said to be interested in buying the club from Chinese businessman Yongge but this is the first time since Anderson stepped away from Bolton in May 2019 as the club was taken into administration.

He spent three years in charge of the club after initially coming in as a partner with former player Dean Holdsworth – a relationship which quickly soured, leaving him to run the club alone.

Wanderers secured promotion from League One in his first season, after which he pledged to find investors to try and take the club to the “next level” - but the following summer a friendly against St Mirren was cancelled over a row with the squad about bonuses they were due on their return to the Championship.

Those fall-outs became more frequent over the next two seasons and despite staving off relegation with a last-day win against Nottingham Forest in 2018, Phil Parkinson’s side sank without a trace a year later – as angry protests from the fans were followed by another player strike forcing the postponement of a game against Brentford in April 2019.

Several winding-up petitions from HMRC and other creditors led to regular appearances at the High Court and player wages were unpaid by the club for several months as Anderson tried to sell up. When non-football staff also got caught up in the financial problems, a food bank was even set up to ensure they had basic provisions with local businesses and rival clubs all providing assistance.

A last-ditch attempt to sell Wanderers to former Watford chairman Laurence Bassini failed, with Anderson admitting the negotiations had been a “mistake” in his final statement posted on the club’s website.

He was still heavily involved in the administration process and lodged a £7.5million claim as a secured creditor which was eventually settled when Wanderers were bought by Football Ventures in late August 2019.

Reading’s supporters have been lobbying for their owner, Yongge to sell up, but there are fears that further EFL points penalties could be on their way and that the club may have to start afresh in League Two next season.