Wanderers Make It A Happy Anniversary

Wanderers hosted a memorable night as former players and fans came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the club’s move to the University of Bolton (Reebok) Stadium.

More than 250 guests were in the Premier Suite to see manager Colin Todd re-united with his team of 1996/97 which left Burnden Park as Championship winners.

Keith Branagan, Gudni Bergsson, Gerry Taggart, Chris Fairclough, Simon Coleman, Scott Green, Jimmy Phillips, Michael Johansen, David Lee, Alan Thompson, John Sheridan, Nathan Blake and John McGinlay were all present to re-live a special time in Wanderers’ history.

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“What we achieved that season was incredible. I think the supporters played a part in that as well,” said Colin in an interview in the event programme as he returned to the stadium for the first time in 23 years.

“They were very appreciative of the way we played, which was an important factor.

“And to win it like we did – and to get promoted with five games to go – was fantastic.

“The other thing that was really fitting was that we got our promotion at Burnden and that we were leaving there on a high and we were going to have a new stadium to come to as a Premier League club.”

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The players all shared their special memories as they were interviewed by compere and club stadium announcer Phil Heys after supporters enjoyed a highlights package of the 1996/97 promotion success and early days in Wanderers’ new home.   

The Whites played their first competitive fixture in the Reebok Stadium on 1 September, 1997 after years of planning and an initial 12-month build at the Lostock site.

Gordon Hargreaves, club chairman at the time who headed a magnificent team of people behind the project, was among the former officials warmly welcomed back for the dinner.

And current board member Michael James – along with Chief Executive Officer Neil Hart – presented specially made ties to the players and former directors to mark the occasion and thank them for their contribution to a key chapter in the Wanderers’ story.

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“It was a magnificent night and thanks to so many people for their efforts in making it happen,” said Neil.

“It was great to see Colin Todd and Gordon Hargreaves back at the club, along with so many former players.

“Thanks to John McGinlay for his work in getting the team back together and I know how much the supporters enjoyed seeing and hearing from them again.

“Embracing and celebrating our past is very important to us as a club and its owners, as we also enjoy the present and keep building for a positive future.”

Funds were also raised on the night to support work around mental health projects being carried out by the club’s charitable arm Bolton Wanderers in the Community.

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