AS Andrew Taylor walked into Hartlepool’s Starbucks he received a message in a group chat with his former team-mates at Bolton Wanderers. “It looks like it could be done,” the relief in his voice was tinged with slight scepticism. He has been here before.

A few hours later on Wednesday, it was confirmed. Bolton’s long and protracted battle for survival had ended with confirmation that Football Ventures (Whites Limited) had completed its takeover of the 145-year-old club.

Administrators had worked on a deal for months and it arrived a day after the English Football League had issued Bolton with a 14-day deadline to complete or face expulsion from the competition. Lancashire neighbours Bury were not so lucky, having become the first from the EFL to be expelled in 27 years after a late takeover fell through.

For Taylor, Bolton’s survival should mean he finally gets paid, having heard false dawns and unfulfilled promises for months as one of the players at the University of Bolton Stadium who have not had wages drop into their bank accounts since February.

“Last December, we didn’t get paid our November money, we got that two or three weeks late, just before Christmas and that was when the real alarm bells started to ring. Probably since the turn of the year, January onwards, it’s been a nightmare,” said Taylor, who is still a free agent after leaving at the end of his contract on June 30.

“You try to switch off from it. It is impossible. Even though I have left, Bolton Wanderers still consumes my life. It’s all I ever talk about with people, it’s all me and my wife talk about.

“I have the group chat with the lads, any news has dropped in there. The sooner that book is closed with the takeover, I can close that chapter, take out the nice experiences I want to remember, and forget about the other rubbish, I can then get on with my life.”

Taylor has had a decent career. He is 33 now and, after starting his career at Middlesbrough, he has gone on to have spells, mainly in the Championship, with Cardiff, Wigan, Reading and, since May 2017, Bolton.

He has earned good money, more than your average worker, and tried to be sensible to set his young family – wife, Jay, four-year-old Mason and Preston, nearly two – up for a life after his playing career has stopped. The whole experience of what has happened at Bolton has left him wondering whether it is time to call it a day now.

“It’s quite a big decision admitting you will stop playing football,” said Taylor, who has had offers and attracted interest from hometown club Hartlepool, who he has been going to watch.

“In my head I know what my gut is telling me, but to actually commit to saying that is me done is tough. Me and my agent have said we will give it until the first week of September, see what is there and if it excites me.

“One of the biggest indicators to me that maybe I am ready to move on, when I think about football – and I love football, love watching it – signing for another club, I don’t get anything. When I think about the rest of my life, I do get excited and that is telling me something.”

Given the events of the last nine months it is understandable he thinks that way. Taylor was appointed by his team-mates as Bolton’s Professional Footballers’ Association representative during the dark times, so he knows exactly how the situation affected everyone.

Bolton were forced to start this season with a 12-point deduction and last week’s League One game with Doncaster was called off amid welfare concerns for younger players. The Trotters were beaten 5-0 at home to Ipswich in front of a record low crowd of 5,454 last weekend.

“Certainly at the start, people would say ‘it’s alright, don’t worry about the players, it’s the rest of the staff I feel sorry for’. But at the end of the day, let’s take away jobs, titles, we are all human beings,” said Taylor.

“We all have our own issues, lifestyles, our own families, nobody knows everyone’s circumstances. To disregard players by saying ‘they’ll be alright because they are footballers’ got my back up. Granted, certain players might have had financial security behind them, but even those with money might still not have been able to use that money right now.

“I know a player had re-mortgaged properties, with higher mortgage payments to get those paid off earlier. Then suddenly he wasn’t being paid to cover those payments through no fault of his own.

“How does he pay those mortgages? All he is doing is trying to give himself a solid foundation for later in life.

“One lad was evicted from where he was staying because he couldn’t pay the rent. Another young lad in the Under-23s couldn’t even afford his train ticket from Liverpool to training and games. He will have been on £300 a week maybe, and he wasn’t being paid, and had a young child. He couldn’t afford his train ticket … it’s ridiculous.

“The staff, the hotel manager, there was a period where they weren’t being paid and some couldn’t afford nappies for their kids, there was food banks set up for the players and staff. Ridiculous. As a club, like Bolton, it should never have got to that stage.”

Bolton and Bury have had their time in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, Hartlepool came close to liquidation not so long ago. The list of the clubs finding it harder is growing, and it would be no surprise to see more have to rise again as a phoenix club like Darlington have had to do since 2012.

Taylor, who is about to complete a degree as he looks towards becoming a sporting director, believes things have to change to avoid regular repeats of what has happened at Bolton and Bury.

“I don’t think it is necessarily a short-term problem. A lot of club’s issues go way back, to years of mismanagement,” said Taylor.

“If you look at Bolton, they were paying hefty wages when Eddie Davies was bankrolling it himself (to help the Premier League dream). When he took a step back, how is that sustainable? It’s not.

“A lot of clubs are bubbling under the surface. It may come to a point, even though it is the best football pyramid in the world, where it needs to be restructured. The Premier League, Championship, League One, Two, there are too many teams all chasing the dream.

“In an ideal world you look to be a sustainable club. If you are a sustainable club, you are going to be paying less wages, signing less players, you are not going to be as successful. I remember reading about a club like Salford, they are having to write off something like £3m-a-year, that’s great if they have wealthy owners, but what happens if one day those owners say they are not interested any more? Walk away?

“Then that club will be in trouble because it is not sustainable. Clubs who are trying to be sustainable are never going to be able to progress because there are others who are not sustainable and spending money. Do we introduce a wage cap in League One, Two?

“Clubs need to be sustainable and build from down over, maybe restructure the pyramid so there aren’t as many teams.”

Then there are those individuals who are allowed to take over clubs too easily, like Ken Anderson was at Bolton and Steve Dale at Bury.

Taylor said: “This fit and proper test I think needs to be stricter. The problem with it, for instance clubs like Bolton, who are in that much of a mess, so close to going out of business, it is difficult for the EFL not to pass somebody, even if they are a little unsure of someone.

“The EFL know that that someone could help that club survive in that short term when there’s a crisis. They will hope things don’t go wrong. Obviously with that Steve Dale guy at Bury, things have gone wrong in a big way. If they were stricter rules then that guy wouldn’t have passed the test and Bury would have gone out of existence before in 2018 or whenever it was. It’s difficult.”

Taylor feels like he has had a weight lifted off his shoulders since leaving Bolton at the end of last season, even more so now that the takeover has concluded. The challenge is on to ensure other players don’t have to go through the same problems.

He said: “Regardless of what went on last season, at this stage of my life I would have naturally started to look at my options. With the mental strain, the whole burden of everything that has gone on, it does make you question whether I want to continue.

“I thought when the season started I would get itchy feet and really miss it. I am not. It feels almost like there has been a weight lifted from my shoulders, and that could be after what went on at Bolton ... it has been a tough couple of years.”