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Looking back at Bolton Wanderers’ now defunct former home Burnden Park

Next up in our look at former homes of football clubs, it’s Burnden Park of Bolton Wanderers.

It was the home of Bolton Wanderers who played their matches there between 1895 and 1997.

During those years, it has hosted the FA Cup Final replay which saw Tottenham beat Sheffield United 3-1 in 1901, but also Rugby Football League tournaments.

The ground was also the scene for the tragic disaster in 1946 which saw 33 people die and around 400 injured due to overcrowding, which let to a stampede. 85,000 were in the 60,000 capacity stadium.

Because of this, lawyer and politician Moelwyn Hughes, who lead the official inquiry into the disaster, recommended limitations on crowd sizes in his report.

The opening match at Burnden Park was a benefit match against Preston North End, with the first competitive League match being against Everton, attracting a crowd of 15,000.

The ground used to be able to hold 70,000, but due to a new legislation and changes on and off the pitch, the attendances rapidly dropped until the 1980s.

After the club’s directors came to a decision in 1992 that it would be too difficult to turn the ground into an all-seater, they started to look into building a new stadium, if they wanted to get promoted to Division One and the Premier League, it was a requirement that needed to be met.

The final ever Bolton Wanderers match to be played at the ground, came in 1997 against Charlton Athletic. Bolton, who were Division One champions, came back from 1-0 down to beat Charlton 4–1. John McGinlay scored the last goal before Bolton lifted the trophy.

A new multi million pound 25,000-seater stadium, the Reebok Stadium, was built and the club moved to in 1997, bringing an end to 102 years of football at Burnden Park.


For more classic photos and many memories of the ground from supporters, click onto the next page.

You can also get your nostalgic football fix by visiting the Fan Banter Store, there is a wide variety of Bolton Wanderers vintage shirts and matchday programmes.


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