It is 23 years to the day since Wanderers played their final match at Burnden Park, a 4-1 win against Charlton Athletic in 1997. With 102 years of football played at the famous old ground, we asked you for your favourite Burnden Park memories. We've collaborated the responses together into an article for your reading pleasure.
Name: Simon Brown
Years as a Wanderers fan: Whole life
First Game at Burnden: It was a game against Man City in the mid 90s and we won 4-2. Well that's what I can remember but I can't find a record of it online.
The first ones I really remember were a pre-season friendly against Liverpool, they wore a gold strip and the fans were making fun of John Barnes, and when we beat Wimbledon 1-0 in the Prem in '96 when they had a guy sent off, was never a yellow then he got a second yellow for dissent.
Favourite Game at Burnden: I didn't go to many but each one I did I just loved going to the game with my dad. I'd sit on the railings while he stood in the stand with a bovril.
Your Burnden XI: Branagan, Cox, Bergsson, Stubbs, Phillips, McAteer, Lee, Thompson, Kelly, McGinlay, Walker.
Name: Paul Dingsdale
Years as a Wanderers fan: I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember (now from afar in Los Angeles).
First Game at Burnden: I'm not sure of my first game at Burnden, but the first one I clearly remember was a 4-3 defeat at home to Carlisle in 1977. I don’t remember much about the game, but I do remember that Carlisle placed a mangy old stuffed fox in the centre circle while they warmed up.
Favourite Game at Burnden: Bolton 8 Walsall 1 in the early 80s – 5 goals from Tony Caldwell and his moustache.
Your Burnden XI: (3-1-3-3 formation to account for the lack of any decent left back!)… Keith Branagan; Paul Jones, Sam Allardyce, Gudni Bergsson; Alan Stubbs; Alan Thompson, Peter Reid, Sasa Curcic; Andy Walker, John McGinlay, Nathan Blake.
Name: Martyn Davies
Years as a Wanderers fan: 28 years as a fan.
First Game at Burnden: vs Preston 8th May 1993. Wanderers won 1-0 McGinlay scored to send the Whites to Division 1 and Preston to Division 3. Unbelievable scenes at the whistle, being 7 years old at the time, I’d never seen anything like it, fans invading the pitch in celebration, I was completely hooked!
Favourite Game at Burnden: Amongst many! Had to be the famous Battle of Burnden!! The old enemy Wolverhampton Wanderers! I feel this doesn’t need an explanation but I will anyway. The result, the infamous brawl, sitting in the seat behind Wolves defender John De Wolfe and winding him up all game.
Your Burnden XI: Branagan, Brown, Taggart, Bergsson, Phillips, McAteer, Thompson, Curcic, Lee, McGinlay, Blake.
Name: Chris McKeown
Years as a Wanderers fan: I’ve been a Bolton Wanderers supporter since I was a kid, back in the mid eighties.
First Game at Burnden: My first match was against Darlington in the old fourth Division!
Here's my special Burnden Park memory: I did work experience at Burnden in 1995, whilst studying leisure and tourism at college.
I went through all the various departments in my 2 weeks there, met some fantastic people that made the club tick and have always appreciated the chance to see the inner workings of the club I love, I certainly picked an amazing season to do it!
One particular day, on the morning of the League Cup Semi-Final against Swindon, I remember being given a broom by the groundsman to sweep the snow off the terraces to help out the rest of the staff and make sure the match went ahead, it was freezing but I didn’t care, I wanted to do my bit and see the super whites play! (I would later see myself on Granada news, brush in hand working away in the background whilst an interview was happening at the side of the pitch with our manager - an extra bonus!)
In the afternoon I was answering phone calls in the office from concerned away fans asking if the game was still on, I was told to say that no pitch inspection was planned but to keep calling back to check- I got some choice words from the Swindon supporters who wanted guarantees - it was my first taste of customer service!
That night I stood on the Burnden terrace and watched a famous win, one of many at Burnden that I’m sure fans will never forget.
The morning after the famous cup win the atmosphere around the club was buzzing
(Although the home dressing room looked like it needed a bit of TLC after Rioch was reported to have given the riot act to the players to gee them up at HT!)
That’s just a quick synopsis of a great time I had ‘Behind the Scenes’ at Burnden Park, but what made it extra special was how everyone made me feel so welcome, the office staff, the Groundsmen, the players and the manager and Des McBain.
I also received a fantastic reference from the office manager, which i went on to proudly show potential employers!
Perhaps though, the biggest privilege of them all, was meeting the legend himself, Nat Lofthouse - a true gentleman.
It was certainly a special time I won’t forget!
So it wasn’t one just one of the many wonderful games at Burnden that I remember so fondly - it was also the short time I was part of the BWFC family, because that’s what it is, the club will always be an important part of the local community and that’s what makes out great support fall in love with this fantastic club.. let’s hope the ‘Reebok’ stadium goes on to have the same experiences in the years to come for future fans - like Burnden Park before it!
Always a Wanderer!
Name: Michael Cregan
Years as a Wanderers fan: I've been a supporter for 58 years.
First Game at Burnden: Blackpool 1962 0-0.
Favourite Game at Burnden: Hard to pick one out but the 3-0 win over Manchester City in 1966 in the League Cup when we were Division 3 and they were Division 1; QPR 6-4 in 1969 on a frozen pitch vs Rodney Marsh & co; and the 3-0 win over Manchester United in 1978 would be up there as early memories.
Your Burnden XI: Again not easy - so many good players miss out: Hoppy & Branagan in goal, Allardyce, Dunne, & more at the back, Curcic, Sellars, Morgan, Thompson, Worthington, Byrom the list is endless but gone for (3-5-2).
Name: Shane Stopforth
Years as a Wanderers fan: I've been going home and away for 26 years.
First Game at Burnden: It was in 1994 against Bristol City with Junior Whites. We lost 2-0.
Favourite Game at Burnden: It would have to be the last game vs Charlton. A fairytale ending with SJM getting the final goal.
Your Burnden XI:
Name: Dave Newton
Years as a Wanderers fan: I first went to Burnden as a 10 yearr old (I’m 66 now) with your very own John Walsh who we lived near at that time, he on Clarence Street and me on Vernon Street.
First Game at Burnden: He took me to a reserve game and we stood on the embankment. There were only four on that huge, open terrace but John and I got beaten up by the other two! It’s a wonder I ever went back but within a couple of years I was a regular.
I was then a Policeman in the town when I started my working life and worked irregular hours so couldn’t get there as often as I liked, but always went when I could (and as often as possible when I was working I would wangle duty in the ground).
Then, when Bruce Rioch's team was tearing the league up, me and my mate got a first season ticket each and we still go together at the UniBol even now and have both bought our season tickets for 28 consecutive years. We have no intentions of stopping any time soon.
The memory I want to mention though is of that Arsenal cup game, the one that we drew 2-2 and the one with the microlite.
I took my 14 Year old daughter to that (She fancied Jason McAteer) for her first game and we had seats in the Manny Road upper stand, posh as it got.
Just before kickoff she had to visit the loo and she got stuck in the cubical, poor girl. The door was stuck fast on her and we missed the first 20 minutes of the game trying to get her out. Terminal embarrassment for a 14yr old girl.
I was also on Burnden for the Manchester United v Leeds Semi, in amongst the reds on the embankment. I went to watch Leeds really as I had a sneaky liking for Don Revie's team. Glad I saw them but I kept very quiet that day!
I was also there for the Everton Semi-Final, so two huge crowds, the two biggest in my lifetime!