BOLTON WANDERERS

 

Initially being formed as Christ Church Sunday School team, the team originally were known as "The Reds" because they wore red and white quartered shirts and later white shirts with red spots on, which were supposed to make them look bigger. They should have just used that silky effect material that was so popular in the 1980's, which certainly was snug fitting and made even the thinnest player look large.

After a disagreement with the local vicar in 1877, they broke away from the church and wandered in the wilderness without a permanent home for 18 years before settling in at Burnden Park. During this homeless period, one of their pitches was adjacent to a piggery and clearances were forever ending up amongst the slurry in the pig-pens, with players trotting off to retrieve the ball; attracting a new nickname in the process. Burnden Park was originally used as a dump for barrels and cotton bales from the local industry, but was covered with earth and used as a football pitch, even though a railway ran alongside the place in 1895. Within six years, it was to stage a historic FA Cup final replay, when Tottenham Hotspur overcame Sheffield United 3-1. The match holds the record for the lowest attendance at an FA Cup final (surprising after the first match attracted 110,000 at Crystal Palace). The day that the match was held became known as "Pie Saturday", stemming from the over-estimation by the caterers at the club of the number of meat pies required , leaving them with many surplus, which had to be handed out free after the match. To this day, Tottenham Hotspur still send a case-load of meat pies to the poor and needy in the town to celebrate the great day in their history.

"Professionalism" was a thorny topic in the 1880's and Bolton were at the forefront of the debate, eventually winning the right to overturn the ban on professional players. Then, in 1888, the club became a founder member of the Football League.

On the pitch, the club spent almost 90 years in the top two divisions league-wise, while in the FA Cup they were finalists in 1894 and 1904, but had to wait until the 1920's before they tasted cup success. Only 17 men were used to win the trophy three times in 1923, 1926 and 1929. The first of those victories came in the very first Wembley FA Cup final against West Ham United, when approximately 250,000 people (many climbing walls to enter free of charge) packed into the stadium and a Policeman on a white horse called Billy (that's the horse, not the policeman) calmed the crowd and cleared the pitch. The game kicked off 45 minutes late and despite the ball bouncing off the fans alongside the pitch, the match continued with Bolton coming out on top 2-0 before receiving the cup from King George V.

In 1928, David Jack became the first player to be transferred for 10,000, when he left Bolton to join Arsenal.

Another large crowd saw an altogether blacker day in the club's history, when in 1946 at a FA Cup quarter-final, 85,000 gathered to see the home side take on Stanley Matthew's Stoke City. Overcrowding occurred as fans got into the ground without paying and a gate was opened for someone to get out, but many fans outside stormed in. The mass of people led to two crash barriers in one corner of the ground giving way and causing a crush which led to 33 people losing their lives. However, most of the crowd (including a young Kenneth Wolstenholme) were oblivious to the tragedy as the match continued, despite the bodies being carried out from the terracing. Extensive changes were carried out at Burnden Park as a result of the disaster and a report produced after the event recommended licensing of grounds and limitation on crowd sizes.

The club then went for a few years without any any achievement of note, before they reached the memorable 1953 FA Cup final losing out to Blackpool, but were more successful in 1958 beating Manchester United, with Nat Lofthouse scoring both goals. The second caused great controversy, as he bundled the ball and the goalkeeper, Ray Wood, into the net. It was thought that a foul would have been given, but none was awarded and following that incident, Bolton thrust forward, really making Wood work.

Bolton Wanderers have mainly resided in the middle reaches of the Football League since the late 60's, despite a recent flirtation with the Premier League, but their new Reebok stadium deserves a team to match the brave new future the club dreams of. 1999-2000 should have been one to remember, but defeats in the semi-finals of both domestic competitions made it a nearly season for the Trotters, especially when they went and lost the play-off semi-final (in controversial style - two men sent off and three penalties given against them) too .  Sam Allardyce stuck at his task and the very next season, fortune shined on the Trotters who beat local rivals Preston to take their berth in the Premiership via the play-offs.  

Sam will be hoping to avoid the yo-yo nature of the club's recent past, but will have to have more than the shoestring budget he has been used to in doing so.  Some more shrewd purchases of players who seemed to have seen better days saw Bolton trot into Europe and make a good fist of their UEFA Cup campaign.

Since then, Allardyce has come and gone, along with a couple of others, before Owen Coyle crossed the Red Sea ... well from Burnley anyway and took the club on a new way, which lead to a poor start to the 2011-12 season as the club were plunged into early relegation fears.

FAMOUS PLAYERS :- David Jack, Teddy Vizard, Nat Lofthouse, Tommy Banks, Eddie Hopkinson, Francis Lee, Peter Reid, Herbert Nutson, Stanford Gimblett.

FAMOUS FANS : - Fred Dibnah (Demolition expert), Emma Forbes (TV presenter), Paul Nicholls (Actor - TV EastEnders), Vernon Kay (TV Presenter - UKPlay, Boys and Girls, Family Fortunes), Peter Kay (Comedian), Stu Francis (Former Crackerjack presenter), Kenneth Wolstenholme (Former Football commentator)

 

Club Records 

Formed 1874
Turned Professional 1880
Became a Limited Company 1895
Former names Christ Church FC = 1874-77
Former grounds - Park Lane Recreation Ground and Cockle's Field
- Pike's Lane 1881-95
- Burnden Park   1895-1997
Nickname "The TROTTERS" 
Club Colours HOME : Shirts - White
Shorts - White
Socks - White

AWAY : Shirts - Red with navy blue sleeves 
Shorts - Red
Socks - Red

Record Football League Win 8-0  .v. Barnsley 
Division 2     06.10.1934   
Record Football League Defeat 1-9  .v.   Preston North End    FA Cup R2   10.12.1887
Record Premier League Win 5-0  v    Leicester City
Away        18.8.2001
Record Premier League Defeat 0-6  v    Manchester United   Away    
Record Cup Win 13-0  .v.  Sheffield United   FA Cup R2 1.02.1890   
Record Fee Paid 11,000,000 to Toulouse (France) for Johan ELMANDER (June 2008)
Record Fee Received 4,500,000 from Liverpool for Jason McATEER  (September 1995)
Record Football League Appearances 519  -  Eddie HOPKINSON (1956/70) 
Record total goals in a League season 96  -  Division 2  (1934-35)
Record goalscorer in a League season 38  -  Joe SMITH  
(1920/21)   Division 4  
Record all-time goalscorer  255  -  Nat LOFTHOUSE (1946/61)
Most Goals in a match 5  -  Tony CALDWELL  v  Walsall  Division 3  10.9.1983
Record Home Attendance (all-time) 69,912 .v. Manchester City 18.02.1933  
Record Match Receipts 289,784  v  West Ham United  Premier League   21.2.1998
Record  League points total 2 pts for a win - 61  Division 3  (1972-73)

3 pts for a win - 98  Division 1   (1996-97)

Most capped player while at club 33  -  Nat LOFTHOUSE  (England)

 

Stadium details

Address :  Reebok Stadium, Burnden Way, Lostock, Bolton  BL6 6JW 
Telephone :  01204 673673
 01204 673601 (Ticket Office)
01204 673601  (Credit Card Bookings)
09068 121 164  (News)
Fax :  01204 673773

Capacity :  25,000
Away Allocation : 3,000
Pitch size : 114 yards  x 74 yards


Official website :  http://
www.bwfc.co.uk
Unofficial websites : This is Bolton (Bolton Evening News site)
Bolton Wanderers - A brief history 
Unofficial Bolton Wanderers FC

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