Bolton Wanderers F.C.

Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Bolton Wanderers
Badge of Bolton Wanderers
Full name Bolton Wanderers Football Club
Nickname(s) The Trotters, The Wanderers, The Whites, The White Men
Founded 1874 (as Christ Church FC)
Ground Reebok Stadium
(Capacity: 28,101[1])
Owner Eddie Davies
Chairman Phil Gartside[2]
Manager Owen Coyle
League Premier League
2010–11 Premier League, 14th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

Bolton Wanderers Football Club is an English professional association football club based in the area of Horwich in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, Greater Manchester.[3] They began their current spell in the Premier League in 2001.

Founder members of the Football League, Bolton were a successful cup side in the 1920s, winning the FA Cup three times. The club won the cup a fourth time in 1958 thanks to two Nat Lofthouse goals. A leaner spell followed, reaching a nadir in 1987 when the club spent a season in the Fourth Division. The club regained top-flight status in 1995 after a 15-year absence; their current spell in the top division started in 2001. In 2005–06 they participated in European competition for the first time, reaching the last 32 of the UEFA Cup. Bolton qualified for the 2007–08 tournament by finishing 7th in the 2006–07 Premier League season and this time they managed to reach the last 16 of the competition. Bolton Wanderers moved to the Reebok Stadium in 1997. Their former home was Burnden Park, where they played for 102 years.

Bolton have spent the highest number of seasons in the top flight without winning the title (the 2010–11 season was their 72nd, non-consecutive, year in the top flight).[4] The highest position they have achieved in the top flight is third in the Football League First Division on three occasions (1891–92, 1920–21 and 1924–25).



Early history (1877–1929)

The club was founded by the Reverend Thomas Ogden, the schoolmaster at Christ Church in 1874 as Christ Church FC.[5] It was initially run from the church of the same name in Egerton, Bolton, but broke away following a dispute with the vicar. The club changed its name to Bolton Wanderers in 1877. The name was chosen as the club initially had a lot of difficulty finding a permanent ground to play on, having used three venues in its first four years of existence.[6]

In the 1887–88 FA Cup, Bolton Wanderers were involved in a protracted first round match against Everton. Welsh international Bob Roberts scored the only goal of the initial match played on 15 October 1887, but the result was declared invalid as Bolton had fielded an ineligible player, Robert Struthers.[7] There then followed two drawn matches (with Roberts again scoring in the first), before Everton won the second replay (the fourth match altogether) 2–1.[8] This time, however, Everton were disqualified for fielding two professional players who had been registered as amateurs,[9] and the match was awarded to Bolton, who were then defeated 9–1 by Preston North End.[7]

Bolton were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, which formed in 1888.[10] Having remained in the Football League since its formation, Bolton have spent more time in the top flight (Premier League/old First Division) than out of it.

Bolton won the celebrated 1923 FA Cup Final
Chart showing the progress of Bolton Wanderers F.C. through the English football league system from the inaugural season in 1888–89 to 2007–08 when Bolton came sixteenth in the Premier League.

In 1894 Bolton reached the final of football's oldest competition, the FA Cup, for the first time, but lost 4–1 to Notts County at Goodison Park.[11] A decade later they were runners-up a second time, losing 1–0 to local rivals Manchester City at Crystal Palace on 23 April 1904.[12] On 28 April 1923, Bolton won the cup at their third attempt to win their first major trophy, beating West Ham United 2–0 in the first ever Wembley final. The match, famously known as The White Horse Final was played in front of over 127,000 supporters. Bolton's centre-forward, David Jack scored the first ever goal at Wembley Stadium.[13] They became the most successful cup side of the twenties, also winning in 1926 and 1929, beating Manchester City[14] and Portsmouth respectively.[15]

Top flight run and cup success (1929–1958)

From 1935 to 1964, Bolton enjoyed an uninterrupted stay in the top flight – regarded by fans as a golden era – spearheaded in the 1950s by Nat Lofthouse. The years of the Second World War saw most of the Wanderers' playing staff see action on the front, a rare occurrence within elite football, as top sportsmen were generally assigned to physical training assignments, away from enemy fire. As it is, no less than 15 Bolton professionals, led by their captain Harry Goslin, volunteered for active service in 1939, and were enlisted in the 53rd Bolton Artillery regiment. By the end of the war, 32 of the 35 pre-war professionals saw action in the British forces. The sole fatality was Goslin, who had by then risen to the rank of Lieutenant and was killed by shrapnel on the Italian front shortly before Christmas 1943. 53rd Bolton Artillery took part in the battle of Dunkirk and also served in the campaigns of Egypt, Iraq and Italy. Remarkably, a number of these soldiers managed to carry on playing the game on these theatres of war, taking on as 'British XI' various scratch teams assembled by, among others, King Faruk of Egypt in Cairo and Polish forces in Baghdad.[16] Bolton, relegated in 1964, did not return to the top flight until 1978, where they lasted but two seasons before a period of further decline set in. In 1953 Bolton played in one of the most famous FA Cup finals of all time – The Stanley Matthews Final of 1953. Bolton lost the game to Blackpool 4–3 after gaining a 3–1 lead. Blackpool were victorious thanks to the skills of Matthews and the goals of Stan Mortensen.

Bolton Wanderers have not won a major trophy since 1958, when two Lofthouse goals saw them overcome Manchester United in the FA Cup final in front of a 100,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium. The closest they have come to winning a major trophy since then is finishing runners-up in the League Cup, first in 1995 and again in 2004.

Few highs and many lows (1958–1995)

Hopes were high at Burnden Park in May 1978 when Bolton sealed the Second Division title and gained promotion to the First Division. However, they only remained there for two seasons before being relegated.

Following relegation in 1980, Bolton signed former Manchester United European Cup winning striker Brian Kidd from Everton for £150,000 as they prepared to challenge for a quick return to the First Division. Kidd scored a hat-trick in his third game for Bolton, a 4–0 win over Newcastle United in the league, but the rest of the season was a struggle as Bolton failed to finish anywhere near the promotion places. Manager Stan Anderson was sacked at end of the season and replaced by coach George Mulhall. By the end of the 1981–82 season, Bolton were no closer to promotion and had lost several key players including Peter Reid and Neil Whatmore. There were then rumours that Brazilian legend Pele would be appointed to take over from George Mulhall as manager, but the job went to John McGovern (a European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest) who became Bolton's first player-manager.

However, the appointment of McGovern as manager was not the turning point that everyone at Burnden Park had hoped it would be, and in 1983 Bolton were relegated to the Third Division after losing 4–1 at Charlton Athletic on the final day of the season.[17]

McGovern remained in charge for the 1983–84 season, and for a while it looked as though he was the man to turn things around as his predominantly young team did well in the Third Division. An 8–1 win over Walsall that season was Bolton's best league win for 50 years, but in the end Bolton failed to win promotion. McGovern then made way for new manager Charlie Wright, who remained in charge until December 1985.[17]

At the end of the 1986–87 season, Bolton Wanderers suffered relegation to the Fourth Division for the first time in their history. But the board kept faith in manager Phil Neal (who was appointed in December 1985) and they won promotion back to the Third Division at the first attempt. The deciding goal was scored by Robbie Savage in a thrilling 1–0 win at Wrexham. Wrexham missed a penalty in the opening 30 minutes and both teams squandered a succession of chances. Bolton's Robbie Savage hit the post from a free kick before the referee blew the final whistle. It was during Neal's reign at manager that Nat Lofthouse was appointed lifetime President of the football club. Neal won the Sherpa Van Trophy in 1989 and remained in charge until the summer of 1992 when he made way for Bruce Rioch, who a few years earlier had won two successive promotions with Middlesbrough. His penultimate season (1990–91) saw Bolton pipped to the final automatic promotion place by Southend United and lose to Tranmere Rovers in the playoff final, but his final season saw them finish a disappointing 13th.[17]

In the early part of Rioch's tenure, Bolton gained a giantkilling reputation in cup competitions. In 1993 Bolton beat FA Cup holders Liverpool 2–0 in a third round replay at Anfield, thanks to goals from John McGinlay and Andy Walker. The club also defeated higher division opposition in the form of Wolves (2–1) that year before bowing out to Derby County (3–1). Bolton also secured promotion to the second tier for the first time since 1983. In 1994 Bolton beat FA Cup holders Arsenal 3–1 after extra time in a fourth round replay, and went on to reach the Quarter Finals, bowing out 1–0 at home to local rivals (and then Premier League) Oldham Athletic. Bolton also defeated top division opposition in the form of Everton (3–2) and Aston Villa (1–0) that year.

Colin Todd era (1995–1999)

Bolton reached the Premiership in 1995 under the management of Rioch, thanks to a victory over Reading in the Division One playoff final. Rioch, who also led Bolton to the League Cup Final in 1995, a 2–1 defeat by Liverpool, left to take charge at Arsenal after the promotion success and was replaced by Roy McFarland, who was joined by Rioch's assistant Colin Todd as joint manager. Bolton were bottom for virtually all of the 1995–96 Premiership campaign and Bolton dismissed McFarland on New Year's Day 1996 and appointed Todd in his place. Todd was unable to save Bolton from relegation as they lost their penultimate game 1–0 to Southampton, but the Bolton board kept faith in him. The Bolton board's loyalty in Todd was rewarded when they won promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt thanks to a season in which they achieved 98 league points and 100 goals in the process of securing the Division One championship, the first time since 1978 that they had finished top of any division. This season also marked the club's departure from Burnden Park to the Reebok Stadium, the last game at the stadium being a 4–1 win over Charlton Athletic.

Bolton were relegated on goal difference at the end of the 1997–98 Premiership campaign. Bolton reached the 1999 Division One playoff final but lost 2–0 to Watford. Todd resigned as manager the following autumn and was replaced by Sam Allardyce.

Sam Allardyce era (1999–2007)

Bolton reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, Worthington Cup and play-offs but lost to Aston Villa, Tranmere Rovers and Ipswich Town respectively. In 2000–01 Bolton were promoted back to the Premier League after beating Preston North End in the play-off final.

Bolton struggled in the following two seasons, but survived in the Premier League. The 2001–02 season began with a shock as they destroyed Leicester 5–0 at Filbert Street to go top of the table. They won their next two games, including a narrow victory over Liverpool, and were suddenly the Premiership's pace setters. Despite a memorable 2–1 win away at Manchester United, becoming the first team since the formation of the Premier League to come from behind and win a league game at Old Trafford, they went into an awful slump during the middle of the season and needed a Fredi Bobic hat-trick against Ipswich Town to survive. Despite losing the final three games, 16th place was secured. The arrivals of experienced international players Bobic and Youri Djorkaeff proved vital, as did the emergence of Kevin Nolan and Michael Ricketts.

In the 2002–03 season Bolton made a poor start and, despite another win away at Manchester United, they were bottom until a vital and spectacular 4–2 win against Leeds at Elland Road. Despite suffering from a lack of consistency, Bolton ground out the results needed and secured survival in a final day 2–1 victory over Middlesbrough. The star of the season, Jay-Jay Okocha, was another high profile signing and went on to be a legend at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton reached the League Cup final in 2004, but lost to Middlesbrough. Nevertheless, Bolton finished eighth in the league, at the time their highest finish in their Premiership history. In 2005 Bolton finished sixth in the league, thus earning qualification for the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history. The following season, they reached the last 32 but were eliminated by French team Marseille as they lost 2–1 on aggregate. In April 2007, towards the end of 2006–07 season, manager Allardyce resigned.[18] In his final four seasons at Bolton, Allardyce had recorded consecutive top ten finishes, a record of consistency bettered only by the big four of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. However, the style that the media branded Bolton as playing during this time led them to be voted the seventh most-hated club in English football in a 2008 poll.[19]

Gary Megson era (2007–2009)

Allardyce was replaced by his assistant Sammy Lee,[20] who secured Bolton's qualification for the 2007–08 UEFA Cup. After gaining only one league win in eleven matches, Lee left Bolton in October 2007[21] and was replaced by Gary Megson.[22] Megson set about making changes to the squad and accepted a £15 million bid from Chelsea for Nicolas Anelka, using the money to rebuild the squad signing Tamir Cohen, Grétar Steinsson, Matthew Taylor and Gary Cahill.

Megson guided Bolton to survival with a 16th place finish, their safety being confirmed on the final day of the season, as they went on an unbeaten run for their final five games, as well as taking them to the last sixteen of the UEFA Cup. During the European run, Bolton gained a famous draw at former European champions Bayern Munich as well as becoming the first British team to beat Red Star Belgrade in Belgrade. They also defeated Atlético Madrid on aggregate before being knocked out by Sporting Lisbon.

The new manager broke Bolton's record transfer fee with the signing of Johan Elmander from Toulouse on 27 June 2008, in a deal which cost the club a reported £8.2 million and saw Norwegian striker Daniel Braaten head in the opposite direction.[23][24] Bolton's season started slowly, winning their opening game against Stoke City 3–1 then going on a run of 5 games without a win. November was undoubtedly their best month with four wins from their five games losing only to Liverpool. January saw former fan favourite Kevin Nolan leave the club to relegation bound Newcastle United in a £4 million deal, with Mark Davies and Sébastien Puygrenier the only positive signings coming in. Tensions soon began to build between supporters and Megson after he branded them 'pathetic'.[25] This tension was key factor in his eventual sacking. Mixed results across the rest of the season left Bolton flirting with relegation but they finally finished 13th on 41 points.

Over the summer, Megson signed Sean Davis, Lee Chung-Yong, Zat Knight, Paul Robinson (on-loan from West Brom) and Ivan Klasnić (on loan from Nantes). The 2009–2010 season started where the last one was headed, with only four wins from their opening 18 fixtures, notable losses including a 0–2 home loss to Blackburn and a 1–5 drubbing at Aston Villa.

On 30 December 2009, Bolton announced that Megson had been sacked by the club due to a run of poor performances. His last game in charge, the night before his sacking, was a 2–2 draw at home to Hull City after letting slip a 2–0 lead.[26] On 8 January 2010, Owen Coyle was announced as Megson's replacement as manager.[27]

Owen Coyle era (2010–present)

Coyle marked his first game in charge with a 2–0 defeat to Arsenal, but won his next home match against former employers Burnley. During the January transfer window Coyle strengthened the squad with a free transfer for Stuart Holden from Houston Dynamo as well as loan signings in Jack Wilshere from Arsenal and Vladimír Weiss from Manchester City.[28][29] Coyle steered Bolton to survival as they finished 14th with 39 points, while his old club went down with 30 points. This secured a tenth successive top flight campaign for Bolton.[30]

During the summer, Coyle bolstered the ranks by signing Martin Petrov and Robbie Blake on free deals from Manchester City and Burnley respectively.[31] Also signed were Marcos Alonso for an undisclosed fee from Real Madrid,[32] Ivan Klasnić on a free transfer from FC Nantes,[33] Tom Eaves from Oldham for an undisclosed fee[34] and Rodrigo Moreno on loan from Benfica.[35]

On 10 November 2010, the club announced a loss of £35.4 million for the year ending 30 June 2010, with debt increasing to £93 million.[36]

During the January Transfer Window, Coyle signed David Wheater from Middlesbrough for £2.3 million, and Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea on loan until the end of the season.[37][38]

In the 2010–11 FA Cup, Bolton defeated York City, Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Birmingham City on the way to the semi-finals, but were beaten 5–0 by Stoke City at Wembley with the match being described as "a massive anti-climax".[39], Bolton gained revenge for this defeat when they beat Stoke 5-0 at home on 6 November.[40] The club spent most of the season in the top half of the table, but a run of five consecutive defeats at the end of the season resulted in them finishing in fourteenth place.

In the summer of 2011, Coyle released several players, including Johan Elmander, Tamir Cohen, Joey O'Brien and Jlloyd Samuel,[41] as well as selling Ali Al Habsi to Wigan Athletic for a fee believed to be £4 million.[42] Also, Danny Ward and Matthew Taylor were sold to Huddersfield Town and West Ham United respectively for undisclosed fees.[43][44] Coyle signed Darren Pratley and Nigel Reo-Coker on free transfers,[45][46] Chris Eagles and Tyrone Mears from his former club Burnley for a joint fee in the region of £3 million[47] and Tuncay Şanlı and Dedryck Boyata on loan from Wolfsburg and Manchester City respectively.[48][49] On transfer deadline day, Bolton completed the signing of David N'Gog from Liverpool,[50] and the loan of Gaël Kakuta from Chelsea.[51] However, Bolton started the season with just one win and six defeats, their worse start since the 1902-03 season when they were relegated.

Colours and badge

Bolton Wanderers' home colours are white shirts with navy patches and red trim, worn with navy shorts and white socks. Their current away kit colours follow the design of the home kit, but the colour is black with yellow trim following the navy blue patches on the home kit. Their third-choice kit is last[when?] season’s away kit. This consists of a blueprint with white trim and thermal orange piping. Bolton did not always wear the white kit they do today, in 1884 they wore white with red spots. Bolton's traditional colours are white shirts with navy blue shorts. The navy blue shorts were dispensed with in 2003, in favour of an all-white strip, but they returned in 2008. The club had previously experimented with an all-white kit in the 1970s.

The Bolton Wanderers club badge consists of the initials of the club in the shape of a ball, with red and blue ribbons beneath. The ribbons controversially replaced the Red Rose of Lancashire, coinciding with the club's move to the Reebok Stadium. The club's original badge was the town crest of Bolton.


As of 31 August 2011.[52][53]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Hungary GK Ádám Bogdán
2 Iceland DF Grétar Steinsson
3 Spain DF Marcos Alonso
4 England DF Paul Robinson
5 England DF Gary Cahill
6 England MF Fabrice Muamba
7 England MF Chris Eagles
8 United States MF Stuart Holden
9 Turkey FW Tuncay Şanlı (on loan from Wolfsburg)
10 Bulgaria MF Martin Petrov
11 Jamaica MF Ricardo Gardner
12 England DF Zat Knight
14 England FW Kevin Davies (captain)
15 England DF Tyrone Mears
16 England MF Mark Davies
17 Croatia FW Ivan Klasnić
18 Wales DF Sam Ricketts
No. Position Player
19 England MF Nigel Reo-Coker
20 England FW Robbie Blake
21 England MF Darren Pratley
22 Finland GK Jussi Jääskeläinen
23 England MF Sean Davis
24 France FW David N'Gog
25 Belgium DF Dedryck Boyata (on loan from Manchester City)
26 England GK Robert Lainton
27 South Korea MF Chung-Yong Lee
28 France FW Gaël Kakuta (on loan from Chelsea)
31 England DF David Wheater
33 Republic of Ireland DF Mark Connolly
34 England FW Tom Eaves
36 Scotland FW Michael O'Halloran
37 England MF Josh Vela
38 England DF Adam Blakeman
39 England DF Joe Riley

On loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
35 England FW Tope Obadeyi (at Chesterfield until 26 December 2011)[54]
40 England DF Rhys Bennett (at Falkirk until 31 December 2011)[55]

Reserves and Academy squad

Former players

For details on former players, see List of Bolton Wanderers F.C. players and Category:Bolton Wanderers F.C. players.

In 2005, a list of "50 Wanderers Legends" was compiled by the club as the result of a fan survey: "Thousands of supporters....nominated their favourites with modern day heroes giving the old-timers a run for their money".[56]

Nat Lofthouse finished top of the list, with Jay Jay Okocha second and John McGinlay third.

Player records

Most appearances

Competitive matches only. To matches played 6 November 2011.

# Name Career Appearances
1 England Hopkinson, EddieEddie Hopkinson 1952–1970 578
2 England Greaves, RoyRoy Greaves 1965–1980 575
3 England Finney, AlexAlex Finney 1922–1937 530
4 England Rimmer, WarwickWarwick Rimmer 1960–1975 528
5 Finland Jääskeläinen, JussiJussi Jääskeläinen 1997–present 521
6 England Edwards, BryanBryan Edwards 1947–1965 518
7 Wales Vizard, TedTed Vizard 1910–1931 512
8 England Jones, PaulPaul Jones 1970–1983 506
9 England Lofthouse, NatNat Lofthouse 1946–1960 503
10 England Hartle, RoyRoy Hartle 1952–1966 499

Top goalscorers

Competitive matches only.

# Name Years Total
1 England Lofthouse, NatNat Lofthouse 1946–1960 285
2 England Smith, JoeJoe Smith 1908–1927 277
3 England Jack, DavidDavid Jack 1920–1928 161
4 England Milsom, JackJack Milsom 1930s 153
5 England Westwood, RayRay Westwood 1928–1947 144
6 Scotland Moir, WillieWillie Moir 1945–1955 134
7 England Byrom, JohnJohn Byrom 1966–1976 130
8 England Blackmore, HaroldHarold Blackmore 1927–1932 122
9 England Whatmore, NeilNeil Whatmore 1973–1981
10 Scotland McGinlay, JohnJohn McGinlay 1992–1997 118

Club officials

Role Name
Owner England Eddie Davies
Chairman England Phil Gartside
Manager Scotland Owen Coyle
Assistant manager Scotland Sandy Stewart
First team coach England Steve Davis
Goalkeeping coach England Fred Barber
Goalkeeping coach Northern Ireland Phil Hughes
Assistant goalkeeping coach Wales Neil Edwards
Development coach Scotland John Henry
Academy manager England Jimmy Phillips
Assistant academy manager England David Lee
Academy coach England Gavin McCann
Academy coach England Neil Pointon
Head physiotherapist England Andy Mitchell
Assistant physiotherapist England Mel Pejic
Assistant physiotherapist England Luke Bussey
Doctor England Jonathan Tobin
Strength and Conditioning coach England Michael Rawson
Chief Scout England Colin Harvey
Scout England Terry Darracott
Scout Scotland Joe McLaughlin
Scout England Ernie Tippett
Scout England Clive Richards
Scout England Colin Chambers
Kit manager Scotland Tony McGrory
Kit manager England James Barrow
Head of Recruitment England Cliff Roberts

Managerial history

Dates Name Notes
1874–1885 England Tom Rawthorne As secretary
1885–1886 England John Bentley As secretary
1886–1887 England William Struthers As secretary
1887 England Fitzroy Norris As secretary
1887–1895 England John Bentley As secretary
1895 England Harry Downs As secretary
1896–1898 England Frank Brettell As secretary
1898–1910 England John Somerville
1910–1915 England Will Settle
1915–1919 England Tom Mather
1919–1944 England Charles Foweraker Longest serving manager in club's history
1945–1950 England Walter Rowley
1951–1968 England Bill Ridding
1968–1970 England Nat Lofthouse
1970 Northern Ireland Jimmy McIlroy First manager from outside England
1970 England Jimmy Meadows
1971 England Nat Lofthouse
1971–1974 England Jimmy Armfield
1974–1980 England Ian Greaves
1980–1981 England Stan Anderson
1981–1982 Scotland George Mulhall
1982–1985 Scotland John McGovern
1985 England Charlie Wright
1985–1992 England Phil Neal
1992–1995 Scotland Bruce Rioch
1995–1996 England Roy McFarland
England Colin Todd
First co-managers in club's history
1996–1999 England Colin Todd
1999–2007 England Sam Allardyce
2007 England Sammy Lee
2007–2009 England Gary Megson
2010– Scotland Owen Coyle


The Reebok Stadium has been Bolton Wanderers' home since 1997

When the club was first founded, Christ Church had a nomadic existence, playing at a number of locations in the area. The club started playing regularly at Pike's Lane in 1881. Spending £150 on pitch improvements, season tickets cost a guinea. They played here for fourteen years until the tenancy expired and they moved to Burnden Park.[57]

Situated in the Burnden area of Bolton, approximately one mile from the centre of the town, the ground served as the home of the town's football team for 102 years. In its heyday, Burnden Park could hold up to 60,000 supporters but this figure was dramatically reduced during the final 20 years of its life, mainly because of new legislation which saw virtually all English stadia reduce their capacities for safety reasons. A section of The Embankment was sold off in 1986 to make way for a new Normid superstore. At this time, Bolton were in a dire position financially and were struggling in the Football League Third Division, so there was a low demand for tickets and the loss of part of the ground gave the Bolton directors good value for money.

By 1992 the club's directors had decided that it would be difficult to convert Burnden Park into an all-seater stadium for a club of Bolton's ambition. A decision was made to build an out of town stadium in the suburb of Horwich. The stadium opened in 1997.

It is a modern, all-seater stadium with a capacity of 28,723. In recognition of the club's former ground the stadium stands on "Burnden Way". It has four stands. The Reebok Stadium is named for long-time team sponsor, Reebok. This was initially unpopular with many fans, as it was considered impersonal, and that too much emphasis was being placed on financial considerations. This opposition has considerably lessened since the stadium was built.


Bolton have a rivalry with Blackburn Rovers. The two sides are separated by fifteen miles, and both were founder members of the Football League.[58] Manchester United are also regarded as rivals by some fans,[59] while some Wigan Athletic fans regard Bolton as local rivals.[60]


Reserves and Others
  • Football League War Cup Winners (1) – 1945
  • Football League War Cup North Winners (1) – 1945
  • FA Premier League Asia Trophy Winners (1) – 2005
  • Peace Cup Runners up (1) – 2007
  • Lancashire Cup Winners (11) – 1886, 1891, 1912, 1922, 1925, 1927, 1932, 1934, 1948, 1988, 1990
  • Central League Champions – 1955, 1995
  • Premier Reserve League North Champions – 2007

Shirt sponsors

  • 1874–1980: No sponsor.
  • 1980–1981: Knight Security.
  • 1981–1982: Bolton Evening News.
  • 1982–1983: TSB
  • 1983–1986: HB Electronics.
  • 1986–1990: Normid Superstore.
  • 1990–2009: Reebok.[61][62]
  • 2009–present: 188BET.[63][64]

Kit Manufacturer

  • 1874–1975: Unknown
  • 1975–1976: Bukta
  • 1976–1988: Umbro
  • 1988–1993: Matchwinner
  • 1993–present: Reebok

Supporters' Association

Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Association (or BWSA for short) is the official supporters' association of Bolton Wanderers Football Club. The Supporters' Association was formed in 1992, following an initiative by a fan, Peter Entwistle, who advertised in the Bolton Evening News, inviting all fans interested in forming a supporters' group to meet in the King William pub on Manchester Road, Bolton, opposite Burnden Park.[65]

From the forty or so fans who turned up, a Committee of eleven was formed, with Peter Entwistle as Chairman, and the association was born. It was decided that the organisation would be a non-profit making and that all committee work would be undertaken on a completely voluntary basis. The first members' meeting was held in the Executive Suite at Burnden Park on Thursday 7 May 1992. Later that year the Directors of the football club, satisfied that the Association had proven itself to be organised and responsible, officially recognised Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Association as the club's supporters' group.[65]

In 1997, shortly after the move from Burnden Park to the Reebok Stadium, the supporters association accepted the invitation from the football club to hold its monthly meetings at the new stadium. The Reebok Stadium has continued to be their venue ever since. They now have a membership numbering hundreds. Whilst the majority live locally in and around the town of Bolton, membership has spread across Europe and around the world.[65]

In the year 2000, the Association expanded even further when its invitation to affiliate was accepted, not only by Bolton Wanderers supporters groups in other parts of Britain, but also by groups around the world. All of these foreign groups have come on board to become independent, but integral, parts of the official Bolton Wanderers supporters' family. Indeed, requests for affiliated status continue to be received regularly from other places around the world where Wanderers fans find themselves gathered together.[65]


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