Even though few people around the Reebok refer to the club by their traditional nickname of the Trotters these days, there is certain symmetry about it, And with a bit of luck, it will trigger a comeback for the club’s old monicker.
I’m all for calling them Wanderers or the Whites, that’s fine, but Trotters conjures up a lovely time-honoured image of a club with a real history.
Bolton are not the only club to have shed their nickname – Aston Villa sadly don’t get referred to as the Villains any more, likewise Manchester United, who rarely get called the Red Devils.
Coincidentally, did you know that another club in the Football League share that nickname? Crawley Town. And they didn’t pinch it from a rugby league team.
Every club’s nickname has a story behind it too, which lends to the air of nostalgia.
Norwich are known as the canaries because of the tradition of canary breeding in the area, West Brom the Baggies because of the baggy shorts the team used to wear and Charlton’s Addicks is actually “Haddocks” – based on the local fish and chip shop – but corrupted because of the local London accent. Newcastle are known as the Toon for a similar reason.
Bury’s nickname The Shakers is believed to originate from a pre-match brag from a former chairman that they would “shake” Blackburn in a cup tie.
Bolton’s nickname, however, is shrouded in mystery.
Many believe it came from the fact that the old Pikes Lane ground resided next to a piggery – and that’s where a lot of the clearances used to end up.
Others reckons the word trotter was local dialect for a joker, while others just point to the fact that pig’s trotters are a local delicacy in this area of Lancashire.
Of the three, I think I prefer the second one. Some clubs appear to be embracing their nickname. Hull City, for example, are trying to drop the City bit and let themselves be known as Hull Tigers.
But you wouldn’t want that to catch on. The idea of Wycombe Chairboys taking on the Northampton Town Cobblers is a bit too American football.