Tag: Bolton Wanderers

Remembering The Burnden Park Disaster

As Bolton Wanderers and Stoke City take the pitch for their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium this afternoon, we could perhaps be forgiven for believing that there is a slight chill in the air. These are two sides whose continued presence in the game are a solid link with the past, but they are both clubs that have changed with the times. Perhaps the most significant change in the recent history of either has been their departure from their historical homes. Stoke City left the Victoria Ground for The Britannia Stadium after one hundred and nineteen years in 1997, whilst Bolton Wanderers departed from Burnden Park for The Reebok Stadium after one hundred and two years at the same time. That these two clubs should be meeting in this competition, however, should also grant us pause for thought at another of football’s tragedies, The Burnden Park Disaster of 1946. Attendances for football matches had been increasing rapidly in the years up to the start of the Second World War, and the resumption of FA Cup football after the war (the Football League did not resume until the 1946/47 season) was one of the key signifiers that the world might actually, albeit with tiny steps, be returning to normal. With the war in Europe having ended in May of 1945, there was no time to set up a league...

Read More

Where Burnley are Going Right, And Bolton Are Going Wrong

The contrast was stark, like a particularly uncompetitive episode of the BBC’s Bargain Hunt (you can tell I don’t have a proper day job), magnified a million times. Bolton Wanderers’ parent company Burnden Leisure Plc lost £35.4m, partly because they picked up manager Owen Coyle. Burnley Football Club made record profits of £14.4m, despite losing manager Owen Coyle. On-field experiences didn’t contrast so greatly. But the consequence of Burnley’s 18th place to Bolton’s 14th widened the financial gap to the proverbial Grand Canyon. But that’s for future accounts to reflect. For now, Burnley and Bolton seem like football finance good and evil – the difference being £50m at today’s exchange rates. Burnley have been generally lauded for their fiscal responsibility in recent years. And it is generally accepted that, as a result, they will be able to cope with relegation rather better than, say, Hull City, who were relegated with them last spring. Bolton, meanwhile, could be done for if they ever go down, with their heavy reliance on the “benefactor model” of football business and the “blow the broadcast rights money on players’ wages model” of football business – both popular models in the modern game. So, what did Burnley do right? And what did Bolton do wrong? Well, Burnley beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the 2008/2009 Football League Championship play-off final, which qualified them for a Premier...

Read More

The Premier League Previews 2010/11 Part 6: Bolton Wanderers – Time To Turn Those Frowns Around?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling as if every season is likely to be a struggle for Bolton Wanderers, but their recent Premier League history doesn’t really bear this out. After they returned to the Premier League in 2001 they struggled for a couple of seasons but, broadly speaking, they have had a decent record since then, managing four consecutive finishes in the top eight during the middle of the decade. Even last season, they pulled clear of the relegation places during the second half of the season and ended up nine points clear of the relegation places, in fourteenth place in the table. Bolton Wanderers supporters will probably be looking for a season of consolidation and improvement over the coming nine months, and there is nothing to suggest that their team won’t be capable of exactly this. To this extent, their appointment of Burnley’s Owen Coyle in January can be seen as something of a success. His signing of Jack Wilshere on loan from Arsenal was a particularly inspired choice, but Wilshere will be an Arsenal player again this season and Bolton’s attempts to sign him on a permanent deal at the start of the summer had the resigned feel of a club that felt as if they didn’t properly expect to tempt him away from The Emirates Stadium in the first place. This needn’t...

Read More

Football’s Latest Pointless Rule: The 25-Man Squad List

Arsene Wenger is today being quoted as stating that the new Premier League rule reducing squad sizes to 25, as being “a disastrous decision for football and for the players”. When the rule was introduced, the rules stating that Premier League clubs had to have a “Squad List” of just 25, with eight of these being “Home Grown”, it was seen as a great thing for the England football team. The idea was sound in principle, as those sides seen as being full of foreign players, and those teams that were seen to be stockpiling players would have to start to develop more English players, and wouldn’t be able to hoard players. In practice, the reality is very different, and for all the hype behind the introduction of the rule, it’s relatively toothless. In fact as rules go, it’s the on pitch equivalent of the Fit and Proper Persons Test. For a start, it seems to be aimed at the larger clubs, in terms of keeping their squad sizes down. However, the larger clubs are already used to the rule, as a very similar rule has been in force for the Champions League and the UEFA Cup/Europa League for over a decade. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and all the other regulars have been used to dealing with these limits for longer than the Premier League have even been...

Read More