The Macron Stadium is magnificent. It is nothing like Burnden Park which from the twenty years I went there, was nothing but an open-air toilet. But it was our ground and we loved it. Not the structure, not even the bricks and mortar, it was what happened on the pitch that gave Burnden Park its magic.
Of course that was in the early days and towards its demise- there was a lot of dross in between. It's about time we took our rose tinted spectacles off. We are not going back to Burnden Park, the Macron Stadium is our home. It is up to us Wanderers fans to put the atmosphere there. As vocal supporters we are among the quietest in the country. The Macron Stadium is Bolton's third ground following on from Burnden and Pikes Lane. How did Bolton fans in the 1890's deal with the move from Pikes lane to the new "atmospheric" ground in the Burnden area of the town? Well not very well according to all accounts, and remember, this was the 1890's and the club didn't lay on subsidised transport from all over the borough. If you lived in Deane, you probably would have had to walk to Burnden.
I'm not surmising all of this. It's in a book called "The Babel of Burnden" and was released by the club in the fifties. It tells of a character known as Greybeard who stands behind the goal, takes a look around and proclaims "We could see better than this at Pikes Lane." Greybeard goes on to wax lyrical about the virtues of Pikes Lane over the new Burnden Stadium. After a while an exasperated bystander demands "Where the hell is Pikes Lane?" Sorrowfully the old man regards him gently and says, "T'last where t'Wanderers 'ad a proper team". Sound familiar? Well..one hundred and twenty years later and Bolton supporters are still moaning.
Another extract from the book also proves the point that nothing ever changes. It goes on to say, "Burnden Park is the only place in Bolton where 30,000 folk gather to watch 22 people do something they couldn't do themselves and then they tell them exactly how to do it. In victory they are triumphant but in defeat they are anything but sympathetic."
As for the quality of the players, have they always been so bad? Well apparently so! Listen to what was said about some of Burnden's favourites.
"He ne'er were any good, and he ne'er will be cos e's got too much round't backside and too little in t'yed." - "I don't blame 'im, I blame t'directors for payin 'im." If any of this sounds familiar, it's depressing isn't it, to know that supporters are a set of moaners, always have been and from what I have heard from the Macron, always will be. And when in the end after supporters have blamed everything they can think of, they turn on themselves!
Another quote from the old Burndenites: "It's not t'players fault, it's not t'directors fault, it's crowds fault, they should've brought a machine gun long sin."
So watch out Dougie or the moaning will stop and the shooting will begin!
Author: The Unknown Wanderer (Extracts courtesy of "The Babel of Burnden")