Bolton Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson has played down the threat of a winding-up petition issued against the English Championship football club by celebrity chef Paul Heathcote.
Heathcote, the Bolton-based Michelin-starred chef, is pursuing the club for an unpaid bill of more than £100,000 (€112,000/$130,000) for food and drink services provided by his Special Catering Company and Heathcote & Co firms at the club’s University of Bolton Stadium, along with the associated hotel and hospitality areas.
The This is Lancashire website reports that the debt now amounts to around £200,000, with a winding-up petition filed against the Bolton Whites Hotel.
Anderson has been strongly critical of “loss-making” commercial contracts entered into by the club’s previous ownership. In a statement, he said he has instructed his accountants to pay the circa £100,000 bill, which if cleared, should avoid the need for court proceedings.
Anderson added: “Unfortunately, even though Paul Heathcote is a ‘lifelong supporter of the club’ he decided to issue a winding up notice against Bolton Whites Hotel Ltd only a few days after the amount would have been due. I doubt anyone would see that as the actions of ‘a lifelong supporter’!
“No doubt he pays all his suppliers weekly and on time as we have to! The winding up petition will now be dismissed but I would ask everyone to consider if they want to support SCC/Heathcote’s other businesses in the light of his aggressive actions against the club.
“I noted with particular interest Paul Heathcote’s comments about him being a lifelong supporter of the club. It is my impression that the club has been a longstanding financial supporter of SCC/Heathcote’s rather than the other way around.
“We inherited an agreement which I can honestly say I do not comprehend how it was ever signed off by the previous regime but fortunately we are entering the final straight and even in the worst case scenario, SCC/Heathcote’s will be gone soon and we can move on with another operator on commercial terms.”
This is Lancashire said Heathcote employs more than 200 staff in the hotel and stadium and has made assurances there will be no loss of jobs during the dispute.
Heathcote declined to comment on Anderson’s comments, but added: “I am sure a solution can be found and would be hopeful the debt is not allowed to escalate.”
Bolton opens its 2018-19 season with a trip to face West Bromwich Albion tomorrow (Saturday) and plays its first home match against Bristol City on August 11.
Image: University of Bolton