Bolton Wanderers have been handed a 14-day stay of execution after their hearing at the High Court in London on 22 February. The cash-strapped Lancashire club, who currently sit 23rd in the Championship and six points adrift of safety, were served by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) with a winding-up order in December 2015 over an unpaid tax bill believed to be worth £2.2m ($3.1m).
The Trotters were facing the immediate threat of administration and a 12-point deduction, but will now have until 7 March to complete the formalities of their proposed takeover by the Sports Shield Consortium led by former striker Dean Holdsworth. Holdsworth made over 150 league appearances for Bolton during a six-year stint between 1997-2003.
"Bolton Wanderers can announce that the club has today been given an adjournment of 14 days by the High Court in order to conclude a deal with the Sports Shield Consortium in taking ownership of the club," the four-time FA Cup winners confirmed in an statement released via their official website.
Advisor Trevor Birch added: "Whilst this continues to be a challenging time for everyone associated with the club, we are confident that this adjournment will give us the necessary time to conclude a transfer of ownership of the club, subject to approval from The Football League."
Subsequent reports from the BBC suggest that the necessary paperwork regarding that £7.5m takeover deal was filed just minutes before the latest court hearing. Bolton, who recently sold their Euxton training ground to Wigan Athletic in order to raise funds, return to action on 23 February with a trip to play-off hopefuls Birmingham City. A goal from prized academy product Zac Clough almost secured a vital victory over Queens Park Rangers at the weekend, only for a late stoppage-time equaliser from Matt Phillips.
Speaking to the Bolton News, Holdsworth said: "It is a great day and I'm absolutely honoured to be a part of this club again. More importantly it lets the people who have been at this club through thick and thin look forward to the future.
"I can't put into words what a tough process this has been. We shouldn't have been talking about saving a football club but to do it makes this a very special thing for us."