Bolton chairman Anderson criticises ‘disappointing’ player strike

Bolton chairman Ken Anderson has expressed his disappointment at the players’ decision to go on strike after their wages were not paid on time for a second successive month.

Anderson hit out after the playing squad at the troubled Sky Bet Championship club opted not to train amid growing uncertainty, with Wanderers due at the High Court on Wednesday to answer a winding-up petition issued by HMRC over an unpaid £1.2million tax bill.

Anderson, who insists he is close to selling Bolton, addressed the issue in a message to supporters on the club’s official website.

Bolton fans protest against chairman Ken Anderson

Bolton fans protest against chairman Ken Anderson (Martin Rickett/PA)

He said: “Obviously, the players’ decision to go on strike is very disappointing and once again, I would reiterate that in my three years at the club, the staff have only been paid late once and yesterday was only the second time.

“Likewise, the players have also only been paid late three times. The reality is that they have always been paid.

“We are not the only club to have paid players late and there are many precedents of this happening.

“Indeed, I was told yesterday that at least at one club, the players were buying their own food and doing their own laundry for many weeks, but to the best of my knowledge, none of the players at those clubs went on strike and let’s remember, yesterday was only April 1, so it is not as if it is weeks late, is it?

“However, I accept that two wrongs don’t make a right and everyone should be paid on time.”

Anderson, who apologised to non-playing staff for the delay, said wages could not be paid until Wednesday for “legal reasons”, and revealed he had pumped £1.5million into the club in recent months to prevent it from entering administration.

Wanderers, who won 2-1 at QPR on Saturday, are currently five points from safety with seven games remaining and, while Anderson accepts that the row over salaries has not helped, he aimed a further barb at the players.

He said: “I have read that the players and management staff have said that being paid late does not actually motivate them to go out and perform on the pitch.

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“That is fully understandable, but perhaps they could also explain why the results up to Christmas were not exactly impressive either?”

Meanwhile, Anderson revealed he hopes to sell his shareholding in the club “shortly” after confirming he has agreed a price lower than the one he paid for it with an as yet unidentified buyer.

He said: “For the record, talks are ongoing with buyers and whilst completion is taking longer than anticipated, for legal reasons, I am still unable to identify the buyers or the price they are paying.

“The parties involved have assured me and their advisors that they are in a position that will enable completion to take place shortly.”

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