BWFCST is by the fans and for the fans. The Trust will be democratically run by an elected board. The Trust has been founded to provide the BWFC supporters with a real say in the running of their Club, both in the short term and long term.
The idea of forming a Supporters' Trust for the fans of Bolton Wanderers had been suggested some years ago. However, the idea of a trust did not gain any momentum due to insufficient numbers of supporters being interested and the lack of any realistic encouragement from the Club. Instead, it was agreed that the supporters involved at that time would concentrate efforts on revitalising the Supporters Association. It should be pointed out that at this time, the Club was resident in the Premier League, having enjoyed a fair degree of success and experienced European football for the first time in the Club's history.
Fast forward a few years. The latter end of 2015 sees our Club planted firmly at the foot of the Championship and reporting a debt of approaching £180m, a dramatic reversal of fortunes by any standards. The Club had been openly for sale for a period of time, but with little reported interest. Several times, sketchy reports surfaced of a potential deal with another new party expressing a level of interest in buying the Club. Nothing ever materialised. No reasons were given for the breakdown of any potential takeover. All the while, the Club was descending into further debt, fuelled by lack of success on the field, falling gates and unaffordable running expenses. New owners were still being sought, but with little success. Supporters were becoming increasingly disconnected from their Club.
It was in this environment that several interested and concerned fans independently contacted Supporters Direct to investigate what was actually involved in setting up a Supporters' Trust. Genuine concern for their beloved Club's current plight, allied to the deteriorating situations both on and off the field, moved these concerned supporters to take some action. The individual supporters who made contact with Supporters Direct were put in touch with each other. A preliminary meeting was held with Supporters Direct and the wheels were put in motion to move things forward. At the time, the idea of a Supporters' Trust was little more than that, an idea. The first step towards gaining the BWFC supporters a voice was to organise an open meeting to assess whether there was a fans desire to move forwards with a trust. Bearing in mind the failed attempt of some years previous, it was very much an unknown as to whether a mandate would be gained to move forwards.
This time, however, circumstances were different. The worsening situation both on and off the field, fuelled by a winding up petition issued by HMRC in December 2015, led to an outpouring of emotion. On 6th January 2016, an open meeting was held in the Premier Suite in the Macron Stadium. Approaching 1,000 gathered on that eventful night to vote unanimously for the formation of a Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Trust. The nucleus of supporters who had organised the meeting then undertook to take the first steps to bringing the BWFCST into being. In association with Supporters Direct, the Trust registration procedure was commenced on 7th January 2016. On 11th January 2016, the revamped BWFCST website went live. Pledges were then taken online to allow the supporters to register their membership commitment. Within a week, membership pledges were approaching 4,000.
On 15 January 2016, the Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Trust formally came into being, when registration documents were issued by the FCA. Club legends Kevin Davies and John McGinlay pledged their support and helped with the membership drive at the Eastleigh FA Cup replay on 19th January 2016. This amazing support from the BWFC Supermen pushed membership pledges past an incredible 5,000. At the time of writing, numbers continue to grow towards the 6,000 mark.