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Bolton Wanderers: Why Bother?



Let's be frank - supporting Bolton Wanderers is a pretty thankless task. We're not glamorous, we're not known for playing attractive tiki-taka style football and we don't have the best players in the world. We struggle to attract large crowds, we haven't won a trophy in donkeys years and we have a huge orange blob in the middle of our shirts that looks like an Oompa Loompa used it for toilet roll. Our stadium isn't in Bolton, we're currently in a slump that has lasted for two years and we are in debt.

So why bother?

Some might term it as a duty - with family 'forcing' new generations to don the shirt and head down to the matches.

Masochism - the reasons in the opening paragraph can often be reason enough. An old saying that I often heard whilst growing up was 'Bolton folk are never happier than when they've missed a bus'. Revelling in the misery of supporting someone like the club surely falls under some form of mental illness. We don't half like a good old moan.

Obsession - Football is the national game, and we're now used to having it shoved down our throats 24/7 by television, newspapers and the internet.

Mental illness - It really makes no sense. Fork out a ton of money to watch a load of rich boys boot around an inflated pigskin on grass for 90mins whilst sat in the rain and cold whilst not having an especially pleasant time.

Yet season after season approximately 20,000 of us turn up at the Reebok every other week to sit through the football. However all the above is immediately forgotten when we score a goal. That feeling of elation and happiness is incomparable no matter the context of the game. To celebrate and to hug the nearest stranger in a wild fashion would probably earn you a custodial sentence in any other walk of life.

To see your club rise from the depths of Division Four to the heights of the Allianz Arena, from your first game at home to Darlington to games against the giants of European football and your little club doing themselves proud in the process makes everything worthwhile. It makes the hours spent travelling worthwhile, it makes every pound spent worthwhile and it makes every single defeat worthwhile. It's a unique sport, and it provokes unique emotions in everybody and I wouldn't swap it for the world.

After all - what else are we going to do on a Saturday? Shopping with the wife? D.I.Y.? No chance.
The Journalist

Writer: Chris Manning Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 22 2013

Time: 9:49AM

Your Comments

I felt that way about football from about 1992-2002. Then Abramovich bought Chelsea, and it all turned to *****.
mkwanderer
It's disgraceful for Arsenal to charge £63 for away fans, but they do it because they know they'll pay it. Football is the modern day religion. Like Christians give money blindly to the church on the faith their generosity will be rewarded, us football fans give money blindly that our football team will give us the high BWFC gave me away at Liverpool in the cup, or Hull away in the league. Nice article.
bwfc75
Sod what I was going to say. What are all these blo*dy adverts that keep popping up? And why have I just spent the best part of an hour writing my thoughts for the whole lot to be wiped out by a malfunction? Not happy. Off to pour a large glass of red. Boll*cks.
FredMadagascar
tribal, our basic instinct minus Sharon Stone crossing her thighs, looks like our Fred is under pressure again, these poor teachers have it tough - 16 weeks paid holiday, 35 hours a week, days off when it sprinkles snowdrops, enough to turn you into a BWFC supporter
aussie mike
I think it was always likely that the European glory days were as good as it was going to get. We don't have fanbase for much more unfortunately, I must admit to losing perspective though and thinking why do fans of teams who never seem to win anything or get promotion etc. bother? Well now I remember, as you say every goal is great and every time we concede is like punch in the guts.
Boltongav
I think it was always likely that the European glory days were as good as it was going to get. We don't have fanbase for much more unfortunately, I must admit to losing perspective though and thinking why do fans of teams who never seem to win anything or get promotion etc. bother? Well now I remember, as you say every goal is great and every time we concede is like punch in the guts.
Boltongav
Good article man. Sometimes I wonder why I bother but like you said, every win makes it worthwhile!
Muur
Annette Dodd is a slag
TANGODANCER
many years ago, such as when Big Sam played centre back alongside the talented Paul Jones we had a team always difficult to beat, especialy at burnden park. With 15,000 supporters stood shoulder to shoulder on the terraces there was a true atmosphere and common tribal cause, every move good or bad was collectively embraced by roars of support or derision, supporters readily chatted and laughed with one another, comedians where born on the terraces, everyone would be caught up in anticipation of the battle out on the pitch. Today the game is sanitised, atmosphere is lost, fans and players alike are detached from each other, there is no common purpose, how can supporters relate with players who have no afiliation with the club who join for the huge money offered, unable or unwilling to perform at 100% or bust a gut in games, simply going through the motions. Supporters are really taken for a ride, the urge for instant success and the millions thrown into the game have been a blight. Whether the Bosman ruling kick started the decline ? I have my suspicions. We are circa £130 million in debt after a decade in which £300 million was given to us for free, it beggars belief, utterly perverse. Do supporters realise if £15 was reduced from the admission charge, making it much cheaper and affordable for every fan to attend games at the Reebok, it would cost the club about £5 million a year, or 12% of the Sky premiership revenue, that is what I call handing back something to the fans. Of course the club would rather give that money away on a single player that we have never heard off, I use that as an example of how club directors have lost touch with the supporters, choosing instead to line their own nests, protect their own financial interests, saddling the club with a millstone of debt, applying the same financial bad practice that brought our banks to ruin
aussie mike
Well put aussie mike I totally agree. Unfortunately ours like every other club is chasing that elusive success and only a handful have the resources to do so on a regular basis. I have to say that I am encouraged by the signings df seems to be looking at or has made for that reason. We would all love to be signing bug name players but it isn't going to do the club any long term good. Similarly I am glad to hear he is worried about the academy not producing, something many of us have thought for a while.
Boltongav
How dare you, Michael, I do a 32.5 hour week according to my payslip (reduced to 27.5 hours if you take out lunchtime and 26.25 hours without morning break). Money for jam really. Mind you, in child care terms, I do come very cheap at £0.85p per child per hour...and I educate them into the bargain! Not many childminders charge £5.55 per day!!
FredMadagascar
When my dad started dragging me down to Burnden we played in all white, BSA was a youth team player and we we heading meekly towards division 3 in front of 8,000 silent and disillusioned followers. I only remember seeing them wintwice in that period and the atmosphere is eerily similar to now. But then came jimmy arm field, blue shorts, Peter Thomson and a (3rd division albeit) championship winning team. Then the Ian Greaves era of agonising near misses and probably the high point of my time seeing them clinch promotion to Division 1 courtesy of Franky Worthy. Division 1 for a bit, then decline again but followed by the resurgence started by the sometimes underrated Phil Neal, brucite and the white hot years, 99 points 100 goals with Todd, loads of wembley finals and almost unimaginable longevity and nuisance value in the top flight agin with big Sam. Being able to get very p****d with thousands of success drunk Bolton fans in the square of a unesco town in Portugal, prior to seeing 44 players battle out a uefa draw was priceless. Having said all that it is a bit crap now, and both heartbreaking and scandalous that once again mismanagement of the club has left us where we are now, so ridiculously deep in debt and nearer the third tier than the first. But then again we could be fated to support some team like, Darlington for instance, and seen a lifetime of nothing much then followed by collapse. Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all and all that.
Skopelos Chris
Allardyce & Jones (or Mick Walsh) with Ritson & Nicholson (or Tony Dunne) at the back. Siddall as trusty net-minder. Any of Frank, Neil, Alan, Owen, Andy, John, Super John up front. Roy, Len, Ray, Willie, etc in midfield. Good memories.
FredMadagascar
Fred and Skopelos bring tears to my eyes for different reasons, in Freds case he does a terribly difficult job with a smile ( spelt difficult wrong ! - should be 'easy') as for Skop - I remember the Todd & Rioch era, Arsenal poached Bruce when we were soaring, then Todd junior smacked Phil Brown, broke his jaw ! Last week reminded me of the famous cup clash against Sunderland at Burnden in the early 80's, mid winter, closing minutes and a replay at Roker Park looming we took a corner from the embankment end in the dying seconds, Big Sam came roaring in, jumped about 10 ft in the air above 3 defenders on the 6 yard line to send a bullet header into the top corner !! As a kid I saw the most brutal full back ever to play for the Wanderers - Roy Hartle, he regularly sent the opposition wingers crashing down onto the running track when he tackled them, they never touched the ball or went near him again rarely got booked or sent off ! We bought Trevor Wharton from Wolves for a new british transfer fee record - £70,000 ! Yes, saw some magical players, Peter Thompson, Willy Morgan, Francis Lee, Wyn Davies, Roy Greaves, Johnny Byrom, Frank Worthington, etc, etc, Bet you don't remember Eddie Hopkinson, our goalie in the early 60's ex England. - I am convinced he used to light up and hava a fag during the games, years later we had Barry Sydall - built like a tank ! great memories, especially when Big Sam rebuilt the team, bringing in star names, Hiero, Doyrkiov - the French lad ! Campo, etc. Didn't realise how old I have become. As for now I fear Freedman is lacking confidence and experience, far too cautious for me, which has potentially cost us valuable points.
aussie mike
Could be worse we could support a team like Chelsea with scumbag players who kick ballboys, sleep with each others wives and shoot the youth players. Success would be nice but I would rather have an honest decent club to support and we have had some great times the last few years.
boltongav
I'd like to think Dougie could get us back on the right track but like aussiemike and some others I worry about his approach. On the one hand preparing for games with analysis of the opposition, sports science and having a fitness regime is good, and definitely an improvement from his predecessor. On the other hand endless tinkering with a squad already lacking in confidence as though we were Holland 1974 playing total football and with players able to drop effortlessly into any position, is a nice ambition, but just now I think a bad idea. Also I saw on a bbc page recently his record is something like W25 L25 D35 and finishing 17th & 20th plus a cup semi for Palace( and saving them from the drop initially). Which is about the same, or worse possibly, than OC. So given we are broke why not just stick with Jiminho & sammy lee, they may have done just as well and got us where we're going quicker? I don't want to do Douglas down and I really hope he turns it round, but just now it's all too patient and theoretical. We need a bit of blood and thunder to get us going and live up to those great teams, players and performances mentioned above. Then again I wasn't mad keen on the appointment of BSA when he first came...
Skopelos Chris
I'd like to think Dougie could get us back on the right track but like aussiemike and some others I worry about his approach. On the one hand preparing for games with analysis of the opposition, sports science and having a fitness regime is good, and definitely an improvement from his predecessor. On the other hand endless tinkering with a squad already lacking in confidence as though we were Holland 1974 playing total football and with players able to drop effortlessly into any position, is a nice ambition, but just now I think a bad idea. Also I saw on a bbc page recently his record is something like W25 L25 D35 and finishing 17th & 20th plus a cup semi for Palace( and saving them from the drop initially). Which is about the same, or worse possibly, than OC. So given we are broke why not just stick with Jiminho & sammy lee, they may have done just as well and got us where we're going quicker? I don't want to do Douglas down and I really hope he turns it round, but just now it's all too patient and theoretical. We need a bit of blood and thunder to get us going and live up to those great teams, players and performances mentioned above. Then again I wasn't mad keen on the appointment of BSA when he first came...
Skopelos Chris
Boltongav I agree. That's why I appreciate being a Bolton fan. Ive always thought it must be strange supporting United, Liverpool, arsenal etc where success is a given and half the home crowd comes to the game via a travel agent. I guess that's the total opposite of your Darlington's where nothing ever happens apart from the thrill of a goal or good win. I'm glad to have seen what I have with wanderers but want the passion back.
Skopelos Chris
I have for a number of weeks now been saying exactly that. The passion is missing and something needs to change. Well I like many was totally disenchanted but realised that the first thing I could change was my outlook and attitude to watching the whites and maybe try to spread that feeling.g in the ground and online. As I have said before we will be supporting the team long after these current players are gone so we have responsibility to our club to show our passion as to be honest how can a scottish ex palace
Boltongav
Legend or a bunch of guys who will leave us without a backwards glance have the passion we would like to see. I think the first step would be to get them enjoying their football again and then we might see some sort of commitment to the cause. After all how many of us give our all at a job where we are unhappy. DF was not my first choice and I agree about the tinkering, its time to go for it now, we have seen in flashes what works and he needs to stick with it.
Boltongav
the silence from Gartside is deafening, after sacking Coyle he publicly claimed the priority was promotion this season, nothing else mattered. Then he ignored the fans choice - Mick McCarthy, a proven vastly experienced no nonsense manager who has gone on to revive Ipswich, selecting a young inexperienced manager in Freedman whose success at Palace was down to the players rather than his leadership. Time has shown we are now burdened with a guy whose record is no better than Coyle's , statistically we gained twice as many points with better results under Philips & Lee. Gartside has messed up again big time, only now the last thing we are likely to ever see again is the big time.If the risk of missing promotion was so important and instrumental in Coyle,s dismissal, why has Gartside remained silent seeing that Freedman has failed to deliver the improvements needed and promotion has become a more remote pipe dream. I assume Gartside has no desire to admit to his continuing failures as Chairman, choosing instead to do a Nero and fiddle away in private while Rome burns.
aussie mike
 

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