Bolton Wanderers

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Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers crest
Basic data
Surname Bolton Wanderers Football Club
Seat Bolton
founding 1874 as Christ Church FC
First soccer team
Head coach Ian Evatt
Venue University of Bolton Stadium ,
Horwich , Bolton
Places 28,723
league EFL League Two
2019/20   23rd place ( EFL League One )

The Bolton Wanderers (officially: Bolton Wanderers Football Club ) - also known as The Trotters - are a football club from Bolton , located in the English region of North West England . The home ground has been the University of Bolton Stadium in Horwich since 1997 , after the club had previously played in Burnden Park . The Wanderers belonged to the top English league for 73 seasons, most recently in 2012, and in 2020 the club will only play fourth-rate for the second time in the club's history.


Early days

The Bolton Wanderers were founded in 1874 under the original name Christ Church Football Club and were originally intended as a dedicated recreational division of the Anglican Christ Church Sunday School . After a dispute with the parish priest, the association renounced its ecclesiastical origins and from then on frequently changed its sporting home in Bolton, which gave rise to the name "Wanderers", which is still valid today.

With widespread support within the workforce in Bolton and other nearby towns - such as Atherton and Leigh - the Wanderers were ultimately one of the twelve founding members of the Football League, which was launched for the 1888/89 season . As early as the beginning of the 1880s, the club had strengthened itself by Welsh and Scottish players who had been discovered by an early scouting system as part of "sighting trips".

Bolton was on March 31, 1894 and April 23, 1904 in the final of the FA Cup and lost in the first case with 1: 4 against Notts County in Goodison Park and again in 1904 in the Crystal Palace National Sports Center against local rivals Manchester City with 0: 1. In the English championship at the beginning of the 20th century, however, the club mostly only shuttled between the first division and the second class Second Division and could not celebrate any notable successes.

After the First World War , the club experienced soaring and won the FA Cup final against West Ham United, which was played for the first time at Wembley Stadium on April 28, 1923 after a goal by center forward David Jack and a goal by Jack Smith with 2 : 0 - this game went down in history as the "White Horse Final". As the most successful English cup club of the 1920s, the Trotters repeated this victory in 1926 and 1929. The club's first successful coach was Charles Foweraker , who coached the team for 25 years and trained a famous duo on the left with Joe Smith and Ted Vizard .

Until the outbreak of the Second World War , the club did not win any more trophies, in 1933 even had to go into the second division for two years and a large part of the team then went to war. Shortly after the game was resumed on March 9, 1946, in the second leg of the sixth round of the FA Cup against Stoke City, a disaster occurred in Burnden Park (known as the Bolton Disaster ), when the stadium was overcrowded with 85,000 spectators - the site only had a capacity for 65,000 people - 33 followers of the Bolton Wanderers perished.

The period between 1935 and 1964, in which the Bolton Wanderers continuously belonged to the English top division, is regarded as the "golden era" of the club, which is mostly associated with the name Nat Lofthouse - arguably the club's most famous player. The club reached the respective FA Cup final again in 1953 and 1958. In the duel known as the " Matthews Final" in 1953, the Trotters lost 3: 4 after a 3-1 lead after goals shortly before the end of the game. Although the club had a successful second attempt five years later with a 2-0 final victory - after two goals from Lofthouse - this success against Manchester United in front of 100,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium was overshadowed by the Munich plane disaster. Numerous players from Manchester had an accident at this, so that there was no longer any question of a regular competition in the FA Cup final and the sympathies were clearly in favor of the remaining "Busby Babes" from Manchester. At the same time, the success of 1958 was the last important title win for the Bolton Wanderers to date.

After going into the second division in 1964, the club hit a new sporting low point in 1971 when it was relegated to the third division . The club returned to the Second Division after only one year and worked their way back to the English House of Lords in 1978 , especially from 1974 under the new coach Ian Greaves - and later with the help of striker Frank Worthington . After two more years, however, the Greaves era was over and the renewed descent in 1980 initiated a dive through the entire English professional league system, which ended in 1987 in the fourth division Fourth Division . Financial difficulties up to the possible bankruptcy put additional strain on the club, so that they even converted part of the Burnden Park stadium into a supermarket.

Despite the first relegation to the fourth division, the club's management stuck to the then player-coach Phil Neal , who promptly succeeded in direct promotion back to the third division. Until 1992 Neal was responsible for the team until he was replaced by Bruce Rioch , who had previously celebrated two successes in a row with Middlesbrough FC .

The Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League

Under the leadership of Bruce Rioch, Bolton returned to excellence in 1995 and ensured this with a win in the play-off final against Reading FC . The Trotters were still 2-0 down at halftime and only managed to equalize in the last 15 minutes of regular time. After extra time , Bolton finally won 4-3, ending the 15-year absence from the first division and taking part in the new Premier League for the first time. Shortly before, the team at Wembley Stadium had lost the final in the 1994/95 League Cup against Liverpool 2-1.

When Rioch left the club for Arsenal, the club's management hired Derby County's coach Roy McFarland and Colin Todd, a co- coach with whom McFarland had previously worked. Despite numerous new signings, even within the season, the club consistently graced the bottom of the table. McFarland was fired for this reason on New Year's Day and was replaced by Todd. But even Todd was no longer able to reverse the trend and the Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League in 1995/96 . Since the performances had consolidated at the end of the season and Todd had scored 19 points in 16 games, the club management continued to hold on to him.

After just one year, Todd's team managed to return to the Premiership and won the second division championship with a spectacular 100 goals and 98 points (the 100-point mark was only reached on the last day of the game by a 2-2 draw at Tranmere Rovers just missed).

The second descent and the new return

At the end of the Premier League 1997/98 , the Bolton Wanderers had to relegate again to the second division, now called First Division, due to the worse goal difference, sharing this fate with the two other promoters of the previous year - Barnsley FC and Crystal Palace . In 1999 the club moved into the play-off final, but lost there to Watford FC . A short time later, Colin Todd resigned as a coach and was succeeded by Sam Allardyce , who had previously been active in Notts County .

Even under the new coach, the club had to accept some disappointments at the end of the 1999/2000 season, when they lost in the semi-finals of the League Cup, the FA Cup and finally in the promotion games. In the Football League First Division 2000/01 , however, the return to the Premier League succeeded when in the play-off final, the opponent Preston North End was defeated 3-0 after goals from Gareth Farrelly , Michael Ricketts and Ricardo Garner .

Consolidation in the Premier League

After three wins in the first three championship games, Bolton briefly led the table in the 2001/02 Premier League . However, this good form did not last further and the team was only able to secure relegation in the end with 16th place. However, this was the first non-relegation of the club in the top English division since 1979 or the Premier League relegation at all.

Bolton was also in constant danger of relegation in the 2002/03 season, but was able to do so at the expense of West Ham with a 2-1 win against Middlesbrough FC on the last day of the match - after goals from Per Frandsen and Jay Jay Okocha United turn away. Despite a very bad start to the 2003/04 Premier League - a 6-2 win against Manchester City, followed by two 4-0 defeats by Manchester United and newcomer Portsmouth FC - Bolton should play the best round in almost 50 years. In the end, the club took a surprising eighth place and clearly exceeded the expectations of many experts. Seventh place was only narrowly missed because of the 2-0 home defeat against Fulham FC on the last day of the game, which even led to a certain disappointment at the end of an extraordinary championship round among the supporters.

The journey to Europe

The positive trend continued in the 2004/05 Premier League and the sixth place in the final table - level on points with fifth place and Champions League winner Liverpool FC - guaranteed the Bolton Wanderers' qualification for the 2005/06 UEFA Cup for the first time . There the club defeated the Bulgarian representative Lokomotive Plovdiv in an elimination match before the group stage games against Fenerbahçe Istanbul , Vitória Guimarães , Zenit St. Petersburg and the eventual winners FC Sevilla , which Bolton completed without defeat. In the round of the last 32 teams, the team then lost to Olympique Marseille .

In August 2006, the club signed French striker Nicolas Anelka for the club's record £ 8 million transfer fee from Fenerbahçe Istanbul , reflecting the club's recently increased ambitions. On April 29, 2007, coach Sam Allardyce surprisingly submitted his resignation. He was replaced by Sammy Lee , who, as a former Liverpool FC player, had previously been Allardyce's assistant. Under Lee, the club reached seventh place in the championship at the end of the season and thus qualified again for the UEFA Cup. After a poor start to the 2007-08 season , Lee was replaced by Gary Megson in late October . In the 2007/08 UEFA Cup , the team reached the round of 16, although the team now trained by Megson had previously attracted attention with, among other things, a 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich . Temporary relegation fears could be eliminated by a 5-game series without defeat at the end of the season with the 16th place in the final table.

Another descent

The 2011/12 Premier League ended the Bolton Wanderers in 18th place in the table, which after eleven years of first class resulted in relegation from the Premier League. At the end of the 2015/16 season , the Wanderers were relegated from bottom of the table in the third- tier EFL League One .


After a failed takeover by Laurence Bassini, the former owner of Watford FC , who wanted to take over 94.5 percent of the shares, Bolton Wanderers faced bankruptcy in May 2019 because around 1.4 million euros in tax payments were not made. In mid-May, the club filed for bankruptcy and appointed two  administrators . After relegation from the 2018/19 EFL Championship, another setback for the Trotters . By filing for bankruptcy, the BWFC will start the season in EFL League One with a deduction of 12 points, according to the league regulations.


League affiliation

  • 1888–1899: Football League First Division
  • 1899–1900: Football League Second Division
  • 1900–1903: Football League First Division
  • 1903–1905: Football League Second Division
  • 1905-1908: Football League First Division
  • 1908–1909: Football League Second Division
  • 1909–1910: Football League First Division
  • 1910–1911: Football League Second Division
  • 1911-1933: Football League First Division
  • 1933-1935: Football League Second Division
  • 1935–1964: Football League First Division
  • 1964–1971: Football League Second Division
  • 1971–1973: Football League Third Division
  • 1973–1978: Football League Second Division
  • 1978–1980: Football League First Division
  • 1980–1983: Football League Second Division
  • 1983–1987: Football League Third Division
  • 1987–1988: Football League Fourth Division
  • 1988–1992: Football League Third Division
  • 1992–1993: Football League Second Division
  • 1993–1995: Football League First Division
  • 1995-1996: Premier League
  • 1996–1997: Football League First Division
  • 1997-1998: Premier League
  • 1998-2001: Football League First Division
  • 2001–2012: Premier League
  • 2012–2016: Football League Championship
  • 2016-2017: EFL League One
  • 2017–2019: EFL Championship
  • 2019-2020: EFL League One
  • 2020– 0000: EFL League Two

Web links

Commons : Bolton Wanderers  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bolton Wanderers have to go into bankruptcy: “Little or no choice”. In: ., May 8, 2019, accessed May 10, 2019 .
  2. Simon Stone: Bolton Wanderers: Laurence Bassini takeover on brink of collapse. In: BBC , May 7, 2019, accessed May 14, 2019 .
  3. ^ Statement on behalf of the administrators for Bolton Wanderers Football Club. In: Bolton Wanderers, May 13, 2019, accessed May 14, 2019 .
  4. Bolton Wanderers appoint administrators and face 12-point deduction. In: BBC , May 13, 2019, accessed May 14, 2019 .
  5. Wanderers have to file for bankruptcy. In: May 14, 2019, accessed May 14, 2019 .