University of Bolton Stadium
Exterior view of the stadium, March 2009
|Full name||University of Bolton Stadium|
|Former names||Macron Stadium (2014–18)|
Reebok Stadium (1997–2014)
|Location||Burnden Way |
|Public transit||Horwich Parkway|
|Operator||Bolton Wanderers (1997–present)|
|Capacity||28,723 (sports) |
|Field size||110 x 72 yards (100.6 x 65.8 metres)|
Opening in 1997, it was named the Reebok Stadium, after club sponsors Reebok. In 2014, Bolton Wanderers signed a naming rights deal with Italian sportswear company Macron. It was renamed the University of Bolton Stadium in 2018.
A hotel forms part of the stadium and some of the rooms offer views of the pitch.
Burnden Park, which at its peak had held up to 60,000 spectators, was becoming increasingly dilapidated by the 1980s, and a section of terracing was sold off for redevelopment as a supermarket to help pay off the club's rising debts. Bolton Wanderers had dropped into the Third Division in 1983 and later spent a season in the Fourth Division. In January 1990, the Taylor Report required all clubs in the first and second tiers of the English league to have an all-seater stadium by the 1994-95 season. Bolton were still in the Third Division at this stage, but were aiming for promotion - which was finally achieved in 1993. By this stage, the club's owners had decided to relocate to a new all-seater stadium away from Burnden Park, and by 1995 had identified a location at Horwich as the preferred site of a new stadium.
The lead consultant/architect of the project was Lobb Sports, while local firm Bradshaw Gass & Hope acted as planning supervisors and quantity surveyors, the contractor was Birse Construction, and Deakin Callard & Partners provided structural engineering services. The value of the contract was £25 million (US$42.1 million). The stadium is noted for its distinct gabled architecture, first pioneered by the John Smith's Stadium.
The stadium consists of four stands: The Carrs Pasties (North) Stand at one end; the South Stand (Franking Sense and also the away end) at the other end; the West Stand at one side of the pitch; and the Nat Lofthouse (east) Stand at the other side.
When the stadium was named after long-time team sponsor Reebok in 1997, fans considered the title impersonal and believed that too much emphasis was being placed on financial considerations. This opposition considerably lessened after the stadium was built, as fans grew accustomed to the name and were bolstered by Reebok's status as a local company.
The Macron title was applied in July 2014 after the Bolton Wanderers club finalised a partnership with the large Italian sportswear brand. In April 2014, long-serving club chairman Phil Gartside stated that he was "proud" to be associated with Macron and had "been very impressed with their [Macron's] passion for football". A four-year duration was negotiated for the Macron deal and the club had the option to extend at completion.
When the deal with Macron came to an end in August 2018 the stadium was again renamed, this time as the University of Bolton Stadium.
- The first competitive – and Premier League – match at the stadium was a 0–0 draw between Bolton and Everton on Monday 1 September 1997. Bolton's Gerry Taggart had a header that crossed the line wrongly ruled out, and the points it would have won would have saved Bolton from relegation at Everton's expense.
- The first player to score at the stadium was Alan Thompson, a penalty in the 1–1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, on 23 September. Chris Armstrong, who later in his career had a short spell with Wanderers, got the equaliser.
- On 6 September 2002, it hosted its first international, a friendly between England under-21 and Yugoslavia under-21. It ended in a 1–1 draw with 10,531 in attendance. Visitor Danko Lazović scored the first goal and Shaun Wright-Phillips equalised.
- Lokomotiv Plovdiv were the visitors in the first UEFA Cup match at the stadium, on 15 September 2005. Boban Janchevski scored first for the visitors, but late goals from El Hadji Diouf and Jared Borgetti secured a 2–1 home victory in the first competitive European match in Bolton's history.
The stadium also hosted the UK Open Darts Championship, boxing matches with local boxer Amir Khan and in 2011 Premiership rugby union, when Sale Sharks lost to London Irish. It will also host group matches and the quarter-final of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
The stadium has also hosted six rugby league matches.
Rugby League Test Matches
|1||7 November 1998||New Zealand def. Great Britain 36–16||27,486||1998 Great Britain vs New Zealand series|
|1||18 November 2000||New Zealand def. England 49–6||16,032||2000 Rugby League World Cup semi-final|
|3||17 November 2001||Australia def. Great Britain 40–12||22,152||2001 Ashes series|
|4||30 October 2021||England v France||2021 Rugby League World Cup Group A|
World Club Challenge
|1||26 January 2001||St. Helens def. Brisbane Broncos 20–18||16,041||2001 World Club Challenge|
|2||14 February 2003||Sydney Roosters def. St. Helens 38–0||19,807||2003 World Club Challenge|
|3||23 February 2007||St. Helens def. Brisbane Broncos 18–14||23,207||2007 World Club Challenge|
Bolton Wanderers Free School
In 2014, the club established Bolton Wanderers Free School at the stadium. It was a sixth form centre offering sports and related courses for 16- to 19-year-olds, and utilised the facilities of the stadium for most of its teaching and learning. However, this closed in 2017 due to low pupil numbers which made it 'not financially viable'.
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Lowest attendance for a competitive match: 1,540 v Everton U23s, 30 August 2016 Football League Trophy, Northern Group Stage, Game One
Lowest Premier League attendance: 17,014 v Derby County, 2 January 2008
|Season||Division||League Average||European Average||FA Cup Average||League Cup Average||EFL Trophy Average|
Nat Lofthouse Statue
Bolton Wanderers unveiled a bronze statue of their most famous player, Nat Lofthouse, prior to a game against Queens Park Rangers on 24 August 2013. The statue, which cost £100,000 due to the generosity of public donations and sponsors, is situated near to the south-west corner of the stadium and was officially revealed by club owner Eddie Davies in a special ceremony.
Club chaplain Phil Mason, chairman Phil Gartside and the son of Nat Lofthouse – Jeff Lofthouse, also took part in the ceremony as did sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn. Hedges-Quinn had taken 18 months overall to complete the project having worked successfully on the statues such as that of Bob Stokoe at The Stadium of Light, Ted Bates at St Mary's Stadium and Sir Bobby Robson and Alf Ramsey at Portman Road.
The stadium's West Stand lies about 200 metres from Horwich Parkway railway station. The station lies between Lostock and Blackrod on the Manchester to Preston Line. Football specials operate to and from this station on matchdays. Bus services are laid on by the club from across the borough when the Wanderers are at home.
On non-matchdays Horwich Parkway is served by three services an hour in each direction, operated by Northern or TransPennine Express. Numerous routes serve bus stops near or at the ground, operated by Arriva North West and First Greater Manchester.
- To check the stadium's full postal address, go to the Royal Mail address finder and type: BL6 6JW. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
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- Rugby League Project
- "Semi Final Venues Announced". rugby-league.co.uk. 30 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
- "Bolton Wanderers Free School 'not financially viable'". bwfc.co.uk. 7 March 2017. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Premier League 2001/2002 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
- "Championship 2012/2013 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
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