Bolton Wanderers Football Club is in such serious financial difficulties it is unable to settle a £600,000 tax bill and has been served a winding up petition by HMRC. This has obvious ramifications for the club but our first thoughts must be with those who are ordinary workers at the club – the members of staff who now face an uncertain future.
Two weeks ago the club announced that its first team were not going to be paid but that ordinary employees with bills to pay and mouths to feed would not be affected.
It is now looking increasingly likely that wages for all staff may not be paid before Christmas.
I came to hear of the plight of the workers at the club through my fellow lifelong Bolton Wanderers’ fan, Gavin Clements.
Mr Clements has set up a fund to help ordinary employees of the club, most of whom are not high earners and could be facing a bleak Christmas without being paid this month.
He said: ‘I am a season ticket holder and love our club. I know thousands of others who feel the same way so I hope we can now support the fantastic loyal staff this Christmas.’
He added: ‘The best news would be for a buyer to come in and make sure the staff are paid. If that happens the money raised will go to local Bolton charities.’
I contacted the Conservative MP for Bolton West, Chris Green, and he has also pledged his support for the hardworking staff at the club, which is at the heart of his constituency.
Chris Green said: ‘It’s great that fans are coming together to support ordinary workers. I’ve written to both the FA and Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch MP and working to make sure the staff are paid this month. I’m grateful to the Conservative Trade Unionists for giving their support too.’
I shall continue to work with Gavin and Chris to make sure the ordinary members of staff get a fair deal and bright future as employees of the football club.
It is easy to dismiss large football clubs as being full of high paid celebrity types but anyone who knows football will know that the heart and soul of any club are the hardworking staff.
The groundworkers, caterers, cleaners, technicians, and office workers are not high earners and I’m pleased that the Conservative Trade Unionists group is able to raise awareness of and fully support Gavin Clements’ campaign.
Richard Short is the Northern Coordinator for the Conservative Trade Unionists and a Bolton Wanderers fan.
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