Bolton Wanderers

Bolton WanderersFresh from having survived a hug

A Football Report
Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers

Fresh from having survived a huge relegation scare last season, Bolton fans are optimistic that the side can rediscover some of the form that saw them qualify for Europe just the previous year. Their much maligned manager Gary Megson silenced some of his critics in helping the club to escape the drop but he will know as well as anyone that significant improvement is still required. Eyebrows were raised both inside and outside the Reebok Stadium when news filtered through that Megson had sealed the signing of talented striker Johan Elmander and fans will be hoping that the Swedish star can live up to his reputation and help propel the team back towards the heady heights they achieved during Sam Allardyce’s reign.

Reebok Stadium

A succession of new stadiums have been built in England over the past 10-15 years, with just about everyone from Liverpool to Darlington having either built a new ground or entered into discussions regarding one. Bolton were one of the first teams to start the trend and in 1997 the Reebok Stadium was opened for business. The ground has a capacity of 28,000 and took over from Burnden Park, the club's ground for the previous 102 years.

Some clubs have struggled upon completion of their new stadiums - Southampton, for example, have had a terrible time of things since they left The Dell. Bolton, however, have gone from strength to strength since the completion of the Reebok Stadium and, as well as seeing regular Premiership football, the ground has also witnessed big European ties against the likes of Atletico Madrid and Sporting Lisbon.



Tickets are split into four different price categories depending on the opposition - these are A+, A, B and C. All prices are in British pounds. A young person is classed as somebody who is between the ages of 16-21 at the start of the football season.

  • East and West stand (both upper) – Adult: 39, 36, 32, 29, Snr Citizen/Young person: 28, 25, 22, 20, Child: 21, 19, 16, 14.
  • East and West stand (lower) and B.E.N. (upper) – Adult: 36, 33, 28, 25, Snr Citizen/Young person: 26, 23, 20, 17, Child: 16, 14, 12, 10.
  • B.E.N. (lower) – Adult: 31, 28, 24, 21, Snr Citizen/Young person: 24, 22, 18, 16, Child: 16, 14, 12, 10.
  • Family stands (West Lower and B.E.N. Upper) – 1 adult and 1 child: 44, 39, 32, 26.

The Official Website is also currently offering a club membership scheme where, for £20 a season, you will save £5 off the cost of every single Premier League match.

How to buy

There are numerous ways to purchase tickets:

  • From the club's Official Website.
  • Via the ticket line on 0871 871 2932 (calls cost 10p per minute from a BT landline).
  • By fax on 0871 871 8183.
  • By post: Ticket and Membership Office, BWFC, The Reebok Stadium, Lostock, Bolton, BL6 6JW.

If you want to buy by fax or post. make sure you state which game you are buying for and the amount of tickets you want, the stand you wish to sit in, the ticket price and finally your name, address, contact number and credit card details.


  • By Car (from the North): Follow signs for the M61 towards Manchester/Bolton and leave at Junction 6.

Take the first exit off the roundabout onto the A6027, then at the next roundabout turn left onto Burnden Way.

  • By Car (from the South): Follow signs for the M61 towards Preston and leave at Junction 6. Take the third exit off the roundabout onto the A6027, then at the next roundabout turn left onto Burnden Way.

Parking can be found in the main Stadium car park at a cost of £6. This large car park is split into various sections and away supporters are advised to park in Car Park A.

  • By Train: The Reebok Stadium is actually situated just outside Bolton. This caused some controversy at the time of the move but does make it incredibly easy to get to if travelling by train. Simply take a train to Horwich Parkway, leave the station and looming large, directly in-front of you will be the Stadium.

First Team Squad

Nicky Hunt (2)

  • DOB: 03/09/1983
  • Appearances: 172
  • Goals: 1

Born and bred in Bolton, Nicky Hunt has been with the club for the whole of his professional life. The right back quickly progressed through the academy and made his debut back in 2001 against Sheffield United aged just 17. Since then, Hunt has made over 150 appearances for the club, featuring on a regular basis. He has played a key role in a defence that has been just as crucial to Wanderers' continuing presence in the Premiership as any of the numerous big name signings that Hunt has seen come and go.

Jlloyd Samuel (3)

  • DOB: 29/03/1981
  • Appearances: 25
  • Goals: 0

Jlloyd Samuel joined Bolton in the summer of 2007 from Aston Villa. He made 199 appearances at the Midlands club after progressing through the youth ranks and even earned a call up to the England squad back in March 2004. Since then Samuel's career has faltered a little and, after losing his first team place at the start of the 2006-07 season, decided that the time was right to move on. The attacking full back did enjoy a bit of a return to form last season, making 25 appearances, although he also missed a number of games due to a series of niggling injuries.

(c) Kevin Nolan (4)

  • DOB: 24/06/1982
  • Appearances: 323
  • Goals: 49

A real battler, Kevin Nolan has done extremely well for himself since being released from Liverpool as a school boy. Instead of just giving up after that disappointment, Nolan joined Bolton aged 14 and has been at the club ever since, amassing over 300 appearances and scoring 49 goals. He was awarded the captains armband by Sam Allardyce back in 2005 and has attracted the interest of numerous Premiership clubs with his dynamic displays in the centre of midfield. The 26 year old has yet to be capped by England but if he can inspire a return to form for Wanderer's this season, Fabio Capello will find it very difficult to leave him out any longer.

Gary Cahill (5)

  • DOB: 19/12/1985
  • Appearances: 17
  • Goals: 0

After breaking into the Aston Villa first team back in the 2005-06 season, Cahill's Villa Park future looked to be a bright one as a string of impressive performances saw him force himself into the manager's plans. However, despite making 30 appearances and quickly winning the fans over by scoring a goal of the season contender against bitter rivals Birmingham City, come 2007 he found himself out of the first team picture.

After spending three months on loan at Sheffield United Cahill moved to Bolton in January 2008 for around £4 million. The centre back went straight into the first team and impressed fans with a series of strong displays that helped to steer the club away from the drop.

Fabrice Muamba (6)

  • DOB: 06/04/1988
  • Appearances: n/a
  • Goals: n/a

England youth international Fabrice Muamba became Gary Megson's first signing of this season after joining from relegated Birmingham City for a fee of £5million. Muamba spent just one season at the blues after joining from Arsenal the previous summer and came away from the relegation relatively unscathed as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak season.

Matthew Taylor (7)

  • DOB: 27/11/1981
  • Appearances: 19
  • Goals: 3

One of Portsmouth's players of the season in 2006-07, it came as a real shock when Harry Redknapp allowed Matthew Taylor to join Bolton in January 2008. Admittedly he had struggled to get into the first team at the start of the following season, making just four starts, but nevertheless Taylor was a fan favourite at Fratton Park and impressed many during his spell there. The attacking left back is well known for his spectacular strikes and has scored many a goal of the season contender during his time in the Premiership.

Taylor made a strong start to his Bolton career and upon his arrival broke straight into the first team, making 19 appearances and scoring 3 goals.

Joey O'Brien (8)

  • DOB: 17/02/1986
  • Appearances: 62
  • Goals: 0

Central defender Joey O'Brien was one of a number of players that had a season to forget last year, struggling to tie down a first team spot after missing the whole of the previous campaign with a knee injury. Bolton fans will be hoping that next year the youngster will enjoy a return to the sort of form he demonstrated in the 2005-06 season where, after a successful loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, he burst onto the Premiership scene. O'Brien earned plenty of plaudits throughout that season and also won a first cap for the Republic of Ireland in the process.

Johan Elmander (9)

  • DOB: 27/05/1981
  • Appearances: n/a
  • Goals: n/a

In the summer of 2008, Swede Johan Elmander became Megson's first real big name signing as he joined from French club Toulouse for a club record £11 million. Elmander is the latest in a series of big name forwards to have played for Bolton in recent years and will be hoping to fill the sizeable gap left by the departure of Nicolas Anelka a few months previously.

Elmander comes highly rated, after finding the net regularly for both club and country since making his debut for Swedish club OIS in 1999. The striker particularly impressed during Euro 2008 qualifying and to date has 38 caps for his country, scoring 11 times.

Abdoulaye Meite (10)

  • DOB: 06/10/1980
  • Appearances: 70
  • Goals: 2

Ivory Coast international Abdoulaye Meite joined Bolton in summer 2006 from Marseille and has done reasonably well for the club, despite recently losing his first team place under new manager Gary Megson. Megson's obvious preference of Gary Cahill in central defence could mean Meite's career at Bolton will soon be drawing to a close but there should be no shortage of takers for the big defender.

Ricardo Gardner(11)

  • DOB: 25/09/1978
  • Appearances: 341
  • Goals: 18

Jamaican Ricardo Gardener is one of Bolton's longest serving players, having joined the club back in August 1998. The full back has made over 300 appearances for Wanderers and, despite missing much of 2006-07 season to a cruciate ligament injury, he still managed to force his way back into the first team reckoning, making a very respectable 30 appearances last season.

The 2005-06 Bolton player of the season is now approaching his 30th birthday and was awarded a new 3 year contract in July 2008. There is no doubt that the majority of Bolton fan's will be more than happy to see him at the club for a few more years yet.

Ian Walker (12)

  • DOB: 31/10/1971
  • Appearances: 8

There are few goalkeepers with more Premiership experience than Ian Walker. The veteran keeper has made over 400 top flight appearances after spending 10 seasons as Tottenham Hotspurs number one followed by a further four at Leicester City.

The former England international was bought in by Sam Allardyce in 2005 as number two keeper and, although Walker seems happy enough at the club, it is unlikely that he will ever progress beyond stand in keeper. Whether this will be Walker's last club remains to be seen but whatever happens he will be able look back at his career with a great deal of pride.

Kevin Davies (14)

DOB: 26/03/1977
Appearances: 205
Goals: 40

Since his move, Davies has been revered in equal measure by team-mates, fans and staff alike and, despite never scoring a huge amount of goals, it is true that the striker has enjoyed something of a resurgence at the Reebok. Davies first came to the public's attention after joining Blackburn Rovers for £7 million (a huge amount at the time) back in 1998, following impressive spells at Chesterfield and Southampton. However, the move proved to be a bit of a disaster for Davies, who struggled to cope with the pressure and after scoring just 5 goals in 30 appearances he moved back to Southampton in 2000. Again Davies struggled and it was something of a surprise when he was offered a Premiership reprieve by Bolton in 2003 after being released by the Saints.

Davies has since managed to reaffirm his status as a Premiership class player, starring as a lone striker at Bolton and he has become a real thorn in the side of central defenders up and down the country with his strength and persistence on the ball.

Gretar Rafn Steinsson (15)

  • DOB: 09/01/1982
  • Appearances: 16
  • Goals: 0

Icelandic defender Gretar Rafn Steinsson became one of Gary Megson's first signings in January 2008 and, despite a lack of Premiership experience, played a big part in helping the team avoid the drop, making 16 appearances.

Steinsson signed from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar where he enjoyed two and a half successful seasons, the team qualifying for and playing in the UEFA Cup on each occasion.

Heidar Helguson (18)

  • DOB: 22/08/1977
  • Appearances: 8
  • Goals: 2

It may be down to injuries or simply his age but whatever the reason, striker Heidar Helguson has suffered a major dip in form over the last couple of seasons. The Icelandic International earned a move to Fulham in 2005 after six impressive seasons at Watford, during which time he scored 64 goals. However, despite having a successful first season at Fulham, scoring 10 goals in 17 starts, the hard working forward soon found himself out of favour and joined Bolton in January 2008. Despite the club's precarious position and the sale of Nicolas Anelka, Helguson made just 3 league starts and with the summer arrival of Johan Elmander and rumours linking him with numerous different clubs he may not get a chance to add to that tally.

Gavin McCann (19)

  • DOB: 10/01/1978
  • Appearances: 41
  • Goals: 3

Blackpool born Gavin McCann joined Bolton for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2007 and was one of the few players to shine in a poor league campaign. McCann has long been known for his consistent displays in central midfield, having previously played in the Premiership for Everton and Sunderland as well as Villa and proved an apt replacement for the outgoing Gary Speed.

McCann made 41 appearances in total and played a major role in helping Wanderer's reach the UEFA Cup quarter final in only their second ever European campaign.

Ricardo Vaz Te (20)

  • DOB: 01/10/1986
  • Appearances: 76
  • Goals: 7

Perennial nearly man Ricardo Vaz Te has been on the cusp of the Bolton first team for what seems like an eternity. The tricky Portugese forward has been at the club since 2003 and, despite making 76 appearances for Wanderers, the vast majority have been from the substitutes bench.

Although pacey and exciting to watch, the striker has not been prolific enough in front of goal in the past few seasons. After being loaned out to Hull City last year the chances of him forcing his way into a discipline orientated Gary Megson team look rather slim.

Jussi Jaaskelainen (22)

  • DOB: 19/04/1975
  • Appearances: 388

Bolton legend Jussi Jaaskelainen has made nearly 400 appearances since joining the club from Finnish side VPS Vaasa in 1998 and is deservedly a firm fan favourite. Were it not for Jaaskelainen, it is unlikely that Bolton would have lasted two or three seasons in the top flight, let alone be starting 2008-09 in the Premiership for the eight consecutive season.

The Finnish international has won numerous player of the year awards whilst at the club and has shown a great loyalty, despite regular rumours linking him to a move with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal. It did look like his Bolton career would be coming to an end this summer after Jaaskelainen announced his decision to leave the club at the end of his contract, shortly after Sam Allardyce's departure. However, after the club's escape from relegation, the keeper had a change of heart and agreed a new four year contract in July 2008.

Blerim Dzemaili (23)

  • DOB: 12/04/1986
  • Appearances: 1
  • Goals: 0

Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili joined the club back in the summer of 2007 on a free transfer from FC Zurich. His first season at the club was a difficult one, as he arrived still in the process of recuperating from a cruciate ligament injury sustained just a few months before his arrival. Dzemaili eventually made his debut in January 2007 in the FA Cup Third Round but didn't feature again as Megson decided to go for experience over youth in the battle to avoid the drop. Nevertheless, the youngster is already a full international after enjoying four fruitful seasons in Zurich and Wanderers fans will be hoping that next year will see him repeat those sort of performances in the Premiership.

Tamir Cohen (25)

  • DOB: 04/03/1984
  • Appearances: 11
  • Goals: 1

Son of former Liverpool player Avi Cohen, Tamir was one of a number of players to arrive at Bolton in January 2008 as Gary Megson attempted to steer the club clear of the drop. Cohen didn't play quite as much as some of the other signings but the Israeli arrives with a good pedigree, having played for Maccabi Tel-Aviv for a number of years and will be hoping to make his mark on the Premiership this season.

Ali Al Habsi (26)

  • DOB: 20/12/1981
  • Appearances: 16

Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi joined Bolton from Lyn Oslo in January 2006 after an impressive few seasons with the Norwegian outfit that saw the 6ft 4'' stopper compared to a young David James amongst others. Although he is unlikely to displace Jussi Jaaskelainen as first choice keeper for the foreseeable future he does seem to have forced himself ahead of Ian Walker in the pecking order after a number of imposing performances whilst filling in for Jaaskelainen last season.

Jaroslaw Fojut (28)

  • DOB: 17/10/1987
  • Appearances: 4
  • Goals: 0

Young defender Jaroslaw Fojut moved to Bolton from his home country Poland at the age of just 16 and, although yet to really make his mark on the first team, is highly rated by the club's staff. Fojut has made 4 appearances for Bolton so far, with his debut coming in 2006 in the FA Cup Third Round during a 3-0 victory over Watford. Fojut was loaned out to League One side Luton Town last season in order to gain more first team appearances and the youngster impressed the Kenilworth Road crowd during his 5 month stint with a series of battling displays, as he made 21 appearances and scored 3 goals.

Andrew O'Brien (31)

  • DOB: 29/06/1979
  • Appearances: 42
  • Goals: 0

Irish defender Andy O'Brien made Bolton his fourth English club in the summer of 2007, signing from Portsmouth for an undisclosed fee. Like fellow signing Gavin McCann, O'Brien proved crucial in helping the club survive the drop. His experience and consistency providing a real calming influence at the heart of the Bolton defence. With 26 international caps to his name and still under 30, O'Brien will be hopeful that his impressive first season at the Reebok is a sign of things to come.

Riga Mustapha (-)

  • DOB: 10/10/1981
  • Appearances: n/a
  • Goals: n/a

Dutch winger Riga Mustapha is Bolton's most recent signing and should provide the team with some much needed width after the recent departures of Stelios Giannakopolous and El-Hadji Diouf. Mustapha joined from Spanish side Levante after their relegation last season and is a former Holland Under-21 international. He scored 28 goals in 104 appearances for the Spanish outfit and will be looking to transfer that sort of form to the Premiership.

Manager - Gary Megson

To say Bolton fans weren't exactly thrilled with the appointment of Gary Megson as the club's new manager would be a huge understatement. They were so disgruntled in fact that, instead of the usual air of optimism a new manager generally brings, all that could be heard at the Reebok during Megson's first home match in charge was a chorus of boo's.

It is not that Bolton fans had any personal vendetta against Megson but simply that he is one of those managers that seems to drift from club to club, always with some chairman willing to sign him up despite the fact that he's never had much success anywhere (think Bryan Robson). Bolton is Megson's eighth club and, to be fair to him, he has finally started to win some of his critics round after helping the team avoid relegation whilst also guiding them to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. However, something Megson has never experienced is sustained success as a manager and he will need to change that record quickly if this isn't to be his last chance managing a Premiership side.

Megson started his managerial career at Norwich in April 1995, where he took over from John Deehan with five games to go and the club battling for their top-flight lives. The team promptly picked up just one point from the five games and went down. Megson left that summer but returned just a few months later after Martin O'Neill's resignation in November. Unfortunately for all involved the second spell wasn't any better than the first. Norwich won just 5 games out of 27 and with Megson very nearly leading the club to a second successive relegation he was sacked in June.

Gary's next job was at second division Blackpool where he led the club to a creditable seventh place before showing loyalty was unlikely to be his strong point, as he resigned just a year later to take over at Stockport County. Megson lasted two years at County before being sacked for a second time after a poor 1998-99 season and allegations from his chairman that he had been applying for other jobs whilst at the club.

Next up for Megson was Stoke City, where he lasted just four months before being sacked again, this time in more unfortunate circumstances as the club was acquired by an Icelandic business consortium who wanted their own man in place, despite a decent start to the season. Gary quickly found himself back in work when he took the reigns at West Bromwich Albion in March 2000. There, Megson enjoyed his longest and arguably most successful spell at a club, leading the team to automatic promotion to the Premiership twice in 2001-02 and 2003-04. However, on the first occasion, the club went straight back down and on the second Megson was sacked mid-way through a season of struggle which also saw more complaints from his chairman over his apparent disloyalty.

Nottingham Forest was to be Megson's sixth club in January 2006 and just a few months later, he was to experience the familiar feeling of relegation as Forest dropped down to the third tier of English football for the first time in nearly 50 years. Megson survived the relegation but not League One and, after a poor first half of the season, left the club by mutual consent in February 2006.

What followed was Megson's longest spell out of management to date followed by a surprising return to the big time. In September 2007, he was given the Leicester job and just a month later and much to the disgust of their fans was offered and subsequently decided to take the vacant managerial position at Bolton Wanderers.

There has been a certain familiarity about Megson's spell at Bolton to date. There have been struggles, there have been various spats with players but for the first time since his West Brom days there has also been some success. Certainly some of the club's recent results (2-2 away to Bayern Munich springs to mind) suggest that both club and manager could be on the rise.

Chairman - Phil Gartside

Phil Gartside, an Irish Businessman, first joined the Bolton board of directors in 1988 before making the step up to chairman 11 years later in 1999. His first few years at the club were extremely successful - Sam Allardyce arrived the same year and it wasn't long before the team had been transformed from Division One hopefuls to a side not only capable of maintaining a Premiership spot but also challenging for a place in Europe.

Gartside has also been at the centre of a number of eyebrow raising deals that have seen a host of star names join the club. They may not have all been in their prime but there is no doubt that the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Nicolas Anelka have provided huge entertainment, and not just to Bolton fans.

Gartside has come under fire during the club's recent difficult spell and it's fair to say the supporters were less than impressed with the way he handled the departure of Sam Allardyce and subsequent managerial appointments. However, not even the most pessimistic fan can deny that Bolton haven't had it this good for quite some time.

Club Honours

  • Football League Division One Champions: 1996/97
  • Football League Division Two Champions: 1908/09, 1977/78
  • Football League Division Two Runners-up: 1899/1900, 1904/05, 1910/11, 1934/35, 1992/93
  • Football League Division Three Champions: 1972/73
  • FA Cup Winners: 1923, 1926, 1929, 1958
  • FA Cup Runners-up: 1894, 1904, 1953
  • Football League Cup Runners-up: 1995, 2004

Club Records

  • Record League Victory: 8-0 v Barnsley, Division Two, 6th October 1934
  • Record Cup Victory: 13-0 v Sheffield United, FA Cup 2nd rd, 1st February 1890
  • Record Defeat: 1-9 v Preston North End, FA Cup 2nd rd, 10th December 1887
  • Most League Goals: Nat Lofthouse, 255
  • Most Capped Player: Mark Fish, 34 (62), South Africa
  • Most League Appearances: Eddie Hopkinson, 519
  • Youngest League Player: Ray Parry, 15 years 267 days v Wolverhampton Wanderers, 13th October 1951
  • Record Transfer Fee Received: £15,000,000 from Chelsea for Nicholas Anelka, January 2008
  • Record Transfer Fee Paid: £11,000,000 to Toulouse for Johan Elmander, July 2008
  • Longest Sequence of League Wins: 11, 5/11/1904 - 2/1/1905
  • Longest Sequence of League Defeats: 11, 7/4/1902 - 18/10/1902
  • Longest Sequence of Unbeaten League Matches: 23, 13/10/1990 - 9/3/1991
  • Longest Sequence Without a League Win: 26, 7/4/1902 - 10/1/1903