Bolton Wanderers FC win stay of execution in winding-up fight

Bolton Wanderers FC have faced six winding-up orders in 18 months. Credit: Dave Howarth/PA

Bolton Wanderers have been granted a further stay of execution by the High Court as the football club looks to avoid a winding-up order.

The Sky Bet Championship outfit was back in court on Wednesday over an unpaid tax bill but the case has been adjourned until May 8 to allow a proposed sale of the club to proceed.

This is the sixth time in the last 18 months that Bolton has faced a winding-up petition. The latest one was issued in February by HMRC over debts of £1.2million.

A lone fan sits in the stand at the Bolton stadium during a recent match against Norwich City. Credit: PA

Chairman Ken Anderson is in talks to sell the club but the process has been taking some time.

Before the latest court hearing, he had refused to name the prospective buyer, but on Wednesday it was revealed to be former Watford FC chairman Laurence Bassini.

The club's barrister Hilary Stonefrost told the court: "The prospective purchaser is here."

She added that Bassini, whose controversial tenure at Vicarage Road lasted only 13 months, "has proof of funds".

Mr Bassini declined to comment before he was driven away from the court in a white Rolls-Royce.

Fans have been calling for chairman Ken Anderson to quit the club. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

The players are currently on a 48-hour strike after staff wages were not paid on time for the second month - and the club has now been ordered to play its next two matches behind closed doors.

The club's advisory group decided the Championship strugglers could not guarantee the safety of fans at the University of Bolton Stadium and closed the ground for Saturday's game against Ipswich Town and next Tuesday's visit of Middlesbrough.

The group, which is comprised of representatives from the local council, police and emergency services, informed the English Football League on Tuesday it had placed a prohibition notice on the club under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975.

Bolton told the group it could not address its concerns until after the court hearing, giving safety experts little choice but to rule supporters will be prevented from entering the ground for the next two home games.

In a statement, an EFL spokesman said: "Whilst disappointed, the EFL understands the rationale for the position taken by the safety advisory group at this time.

"However, we still hope the fixtures will take place as planned. We will work with the club and offer them any practical assistance that is available to us in an attempt to find a successful and timely resolution to the issue."

Bolton Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson has seen his team struggle on the pitch. Credit: PA

Bolton are currently 23rd in the Sky Bet Championship, five points from safety and in dire financial straits.

Writing on the club's website, Mr Anderson said: "There has been a great deal of speculation over the last few weeks about the identity of the purchasers of my shares, a great deal of which is pure unfounded speculation, likewise on the price of my shares.

"For the record, I have accepted an offer of less than what I paid, so I am not holding out for a big profit as is continuously and incorrectly bandied around in the media and on social media."