Two straight relegations pulled Bolton Wanderers down to the bottom rung of the Football League ladder in 2020. For them, it wasn’t a drawn-out affair; the Trotters soaring straight back up into League One. Not that it’s necessarily where they want to be. After all, it’s not that long since Premier League football was a regular fixture at the Reebok Stadium (yes, we know it has changed name since). Of course, that descent to League Two did mean a historic first encounter with Boro’. Silver linings don’t come any bigger or brighter.
Anyway, the Trotters completed a clean sweep of points against us as they secured their promotion back up into League One. They’re also a club with clear designs on returning to the Championship; playoff heartache the only reason they’ll be entering the 2023-4 campaign in the third tier. What it does mean, however, is that we get a chance to lay a glove on them after Boro’ made our return to League One in time for that very same campaign. If you want to know if we do manage to do that, you’ll be able to find out on this club profile…
Bolton Wanderers: The Facts
University of Bolton Stadium
Burnden Way, Bolton, BL6 6JW
In this particular case, we’re dealing with one of the country’s most historic clubs. It’s just that they don’t bang on about it like others do. Established in 1874, Bolton Wanderers are very much a part of the English football furniture. OK, so recent times aren’t necessarily the most iconic in their long story. But they do at least have plenty of accolades to look back on – even if the memories of which are like dusty fingerprints on an abandoned handrail.
Did you know that Bolton are a club that spent more time in the top division than any other side without winning it? A quick, groggy scan of their league placings suggests that third is as good as it’s ever been for them in Division One. Of course, there have been title wins in the second and third tiers. But never the top. Mind you, let’s not overlook an impressive haul of four FA Cup wins – even if the most recent to date was back in 1958. And the club has given us some iconic names in English football too.
In the 1990s, the Trotters were one of a few teams with a rep for yo-yoing between the Premier League and Division One as it was then known. As we all well know, however, promotion back to the top flight in 2001 ushered in a slightly dulled golden era under gaffer Sam Allardyce in which Bolton lasted 11 years; sometimes tickling the European qualification places, others surviving late in the day. It was, however, a battle lost in 2012 – and the club soon found themselves struggling to maintain even second tier status.
In 2016, the Trotters found themselves in the third tier for the first time since 1992. While they did climb back up into the Championship, successive relegations in 2019 and 2020 saw them relegated to League Two. Not since 1988 had they played in the lowest division of the Football League. It was only the second time since World War Two of being at that level too. Luckily, it was short-lived. And now the battle rages for the Trotters to get back up into the second tier; a battle that failed at the playoff stage in 2023.
How to get to Bolton Wanderers – Travel Information – Distance: 193 miles
At the time we looked at this, Google told us that using the A1 was the best route for a trip to Bolton. This is despite the fact that going via the M6 is shorter and faster. Well, it should be. Our guess is that using the A1 doesn’t take much longer and will skip the M6 Toll if that’s important to you. We’ll give you both options anyway.
Go north on the A1(M) and A1 for quite a long time. At Ferrybridge, use the left two lanes and exit the A1(M) for the westbound M62. Stay on here for about 48 miles. Take care at the junction with the M1 and M621 that you don’t get in the wrong lane. We doubt you will.
Continue onto the M60 for just under four miles; leaving at Junction 15 for the M61. At the Worsley Braided Interchange, stay on the M61 and follow the signs for Preston. Next, at Junction 6, come off for the A6027. Take the third exit at the roundabout and then the first exit at the next one.
After heading north on the M1 and M6, use the Toll road to skip around Birmingham and keep going. At Junction 19, leave for the A556 exit towards Manchester Airport and take the third option at the roundabout. Join the M56 and continue on when this becomes the A5103. Up the road, stay in the left lane for the M60 towards Liverpool and Bolton.
Junction 15 is what you want here. It’s about 10.5 miles further on; leaving for the M61 in the direction of Preston. Then, your instructions are as above. Head for Junction 6 and leave for the A6027; taking the third exit at the roundabout.
The stadium has a number of car parks – but not all are available to away fans. We’ll get to that bit in a sec. All places are available on a first-come, first-served basis; costing £7 per car or £12 per minibus. Now, for the car parks you need to look for.
Car Park A is the one that you want. It’s to the south of the stadium and you can get to it by following the driving guide above. It’s also clearly signposted from the motorway – you can’t miss it.
Station: HORWICH PARKWAY
Services to: MANCHESTER PICCADILLY (for Leeds)
The nearest station to the ground is Horwich Parkway, which you can get to from here with either two or three changes – depending on whether you go via Leeds or London Euston.
It’ll be quite obvious when you arrive what you’ll need to do to get to the ground. Leave the station and walk up Arena Approach; Bolton Arena on your left. Next, you’ll get to Burnden Way. We don’t need to tell you what to do here. But, if you’re in any doubt, cross the road.
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