Bolton Wanderers saved from the brink as crisis-hit football club is sold at 11th hour

Fans stand outside the University of Bolton stadium

Crisis-hit Bolton Wanderers have been saved from the brink after being sold to the Football Ventures consortium.

The 145-year-old club was on the verge of liquidation after a deal to sell it collapsed over the weekend.

The English Football League (EFL) gave administrator Paul Appleton 14 days to find a buyer for the League One club or prove they could be funded for the rest of the season.

In a statement on Wednesday, Bolton said they were now "pleased to announce" the sale of the club to Football Ventures (Whites) Limited, which had reportedly tabled a £10m bid.

The announcement comes a day after Bury became the first club since 1992 to be expelled from the EFL after failing to secure new ownership.

Mr Appleton said: "This has been one of the most complicated administrations I've been involved with but I'm delighted to say we have finally reached a satisfactory conclusion with the sale to Football Ventures.

"At times, some of the hurdles appeared insurmountable and the frustration felt has been immense, not least by the supporters who have had to endure too many weeks of uncertainty."

The sticking point during talks was understood to be a dispute between the club's most recent owner Ken Anderson and their biggest creditor, the family trust set up by Bolton businessman and benefactor Eddie Davies before his death last year.

Mr Appleton criticised Mr Anderson, saying he had "used his position as a secured creditor to hamper and frustrate any deal that did not benefit him or suit his purposes".

He added: "Now there can be a fresh start with owners who, I believe, will run the club for the good of the supporters and the community as a whole.

"For everything the fans have had to endure, they deserve nothing less."

Mr Anderson has rejected suggestions he was to blame, saying he was "not involved in any of the discussions or delays over the last few months".

In a statement, Football Ventures said it was now "excited to begin restoring this magnificent football club to its rightful position, securing its future for the fans, the loyal club staff and the players".

The consortium is led by Sharon Brittan and has received backing from Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, according to The Sun.

Mr Appleton revealed on Monday that there was no money left to fund Bolton - who were in the Premier League in 2012 - after a takeover bid by the Football Ventures consortium had stalled.

Talks continued on Tuesday and there was optimism Bolton would meet the 5pm deadline to announce that a deal had been approved.

However, progress came too late to stop the EFL enforcing a 14-day notice to withdraw the club's membership before the sale was confirmed on Wednesday.

Debbie Jevans, executive chairwoman of the EFL, said: "Following the completion of the sale, the club is no longer in administration and the notice of withdrawal issued as per the EFL's insolvency policy has been cancelled."

Bolton now face an uphill task in League One, where they languish at the bottom of the table, after starting the season on minus 12 points due to being placed in administration.

Bolton's last game against Doncaster Rovers was called off amid welfare concerns for younger players, while manager Phil Parkinson and assistant manager Steve Parkin quit last week.

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