Bolton will begin next season in League One on -12 points after entering administration.
That is the fifth-largest deduction ever applied in the Football League, raising fears of a second successive relegation.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the previous English teams who have started a season on negative points, and how they fared.
Rotherham first to suffer
The Millers began their 2006-07 League One campaign on -10 points, the first English team to start a season at a disadvantage.
They were ultimately relegated, second bottom on 38 points – the extra 10 would not have saved them, but who knows whether they would have been more competitive in different circumstances?
Leeds live long in the memory
The Yorkshire giants’ financial tailspin saw them relegated from the Premier League in 2004 and eventually to the third tier, where administration hit and they were docked 15 points to start the 2007-08 season.
The club publicly chafed against the sanction, labelling page 15 of the season’s matchday programme “page -15” and printing a “Real League Table” without the deduction, which would have seen them promoted automatically. They lost the play-off final to Doncaster but were promoted 12 months later.
Chaos in League Two
A flurry of administrations meant the League Two table ahead of the 2008-09 season showed Bournemouth and Rotherham on -17 points and Luton a remarkable -30, having been found guilty of misconduct relating to agent payments and failed to exit administration via a creditors’ voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The Hatters won 13 games but propped up the division on 26 points, instead of finishing 16th, while Bournemouth finished 21st instead of 11th. Rotherham finished 14th and were prevented from reaching the play-offs – as were Darlington, by an in-season 10-point deduction.
End of the road for Chester
The original Chester City FC were placed into administration in 2009 after relegation from the Football League, having been a member since 1931.
They played the Conference season under a 25-point deduction and failed to get back into the black, on the balance sheet or league table, before being liquidated in March after failing to fulfil a fixture at Forest Green. The same fate befell Farsley Celtic that season in the Conference North.
The re-formed Chester FC won three promotions to return to the National League but have since been relegated to the National League North.
Coventry’s woes continue
FA Cup winners in 1987 and a top-flight club until 2002, Coventry have since fallen into the lower leagues amid a financial crisis which reached its nadir in 2013, when the club slipped into administration.
They were docked 10 points and finished 15th but were not out of the woods as their CVA was rejected, meaning a further 10-point sanction for the 2013-14 season which they spent playing home games in Northampton. Their ongoing stadium issue continues to “cast significant doubt on the (club)’s ability to continue as a going concern”, according to their accounts released in March.
History almost repeats for Aldershot
Aldershot Town, a club formed in 1992 after the winding-up of Aldershot FC and proudly wearing a phoenix on their badge, were relegated from the Football League in 2013 and entered administration.
The 10-point penalty was applied to their 2013-14 Conference season, making them the most recent team to start in red figures. They finished 19th in a season which saw Salisbury and Hereford demoted for financial irregularities – with Chester one of the clubs saved from relegation as a result.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.