Bolton Wanderers

Founded in 1874 as Christ Church Football Club, the name change to Bolton Wanderers came about three years later and the club were founder members of the Football League in 1888.

Four time FA Cup winners (their last time they won it was in 1958) Bolton have, in their history, spent 73 seasons in the top flight but never won the title.

From 1895 and for the next 102 years the club played their home games at Burnden Park, moving to their current home in 1997.

In recent years the club has been beset by financial problems and went into administration in May 2019. The sale of the club to new owners went through in August of that year but, in a season that was terminated early because of the pandemic Bolton, who were bottom of League One at the time, were relegated to League Two.

They bounced back at the first attempt, though, and were promoted back to League One at the end of the 2020/21 season. Last time around they finished in ninth place with 73 points.

Although the clubs had met three times in the FA Cup and had registered one draw and a win apiece, it wasn’t until 1968/69 that they met in league action.

The first of the 30 league games between the sides to date took place at Eastville in October 1971 when Rovers were 2-1 winners and the clubs then played out a goalless draw in the return fixture in February 1972.

Our last meetings came in 2019/20 when Bolton were 2-0 winners at the Mem on October 22nd 2019 while there was a 1-1 draw in the return fixture in January 2020.

Players to have turned out for both clubs include Tom Eaves, Mark Little, Trevor Morgan and Erhun Oztumer.

Former Rovers manager Martin Dobson began his career with Bolton, but never made a first team appearance for the club. Similarly, former Rovers loanee Cian Bolger started out with Bolton, but never made a first team appearance for them.

Goalkeeper Matt Glennon, who made just one appearance for Rovers, spent four years with Bolton without making a first team appearance. Another goalkeeper, Martyn Margetson, appeared in three games for Rovers but during a loan spell with Bolton didn’t make a first team appearance. Margetson is the current England goalkeeping coach.

Loanee Ricky Shakes appeared in one league game for Rovers and although he appeared in an FA Cup tie for Bolton, he never made a league appearance for them.

Former Rovers midfielder Ali Gibb (64 league appearances) is currently Bolton’s Senior Academy Physiotherapist.

Rovers players who have made their league debut against Bolton include Martyn Britten (1974/75), Paul Lewis (1975/76), Vaughan Jones (1976/77), Tom McAllister (1980/81), Mark O’Connor (1984/85), Wayne Noble (1985/86), Robbie Turner (1986/87) and Marcus Browning (1989/90).

Rovers will travel to the University of Bolton Stadium on 8th December with the return fixture taking place at the Mem on 6th May 2023, our final league game of the season.

A round trip to see the game, from the Mem, takes in 346 miles, via the M5 and M6.

Bolton Wanderers FC

University of Bolton Stadium

Burnden Way



Keith Brookman

(images courtesy of Keith Brookman)