ENGLAND had just lifted the World Cup at Wembley, Beatlemania was about to go psychedelic and Wanderers were nearing a decade-long league slump.

It was August 1966 and though a new wave of national pride reverberated through the game thanks to Bobby Moore and Co, traditional powerhouses like Bolton were starting to struggle.

Attendances at Burnden Park were half what they had been at the turn of the 1960s, when Nat Lofthouse, Tommy Banks, Roy Hartle and Eddie Hopkinson had ruled the roost.

New, younger heroes had started to emerge in John Byrom, Francis Lee and Gordon Taylor but it would not be long before the man who presided over the fifties glory days, Bill Ridding, stepped down and financial realities began to set in.

Football and fashion had started to mix freely in the First Division, where some of England’s biggest clubs were now winning European trophies alongside domestic competitions. Bolton had dropped out of the top-flight in 1964 and, in line with other provincial mill towns, found their desirability lessened by abolition of the maximum wage.

Had the Whites not been pipped to promotion by Northampton Town in 1965, things may have been different. But out of the limelight and tasked with replacing an ageing side, a steady decline which would end in relegation to the third tier for the first time in the club’s history in 1971 had already set in.

All that said, Wanderers began the 1966/67 season impressively. Another terrace favourite, the muscular number nine Wyn Davies, scored five goals in the opening six games, including a hat-trick against Carlisle United.

Charlton, Derby, Huddersfield and Cardiff were also despatched as Bolton briefly topped the table in October, only for inconsistency to plague them at the turn of the New Year.

But it was a result sandwiched between that early season form which will resonate with Wanderers fans heading to the New York Stadium this weekend.

By the end of August and even though John Lennon was eating humble pie after comparing the Beatles’ popularity with Jesus, the Fab Four still topped the UK charts with Yellow Submarine, soon to be accompanied by its innovative animated film, and a double A-side in Eleanor Rigby.

The band played their final live gig at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29. A day later, and some 5,000 miles away, Bolton travelled to Millmoor to play Rotherham for the second time in six days.

After fighting out a 2-2 draw at Burnden, Wanderers travelled over the Pennines for the return game just six days later. This time, Gordon Taylor scored the only goal to give his side a third victory in four attempts.

Little did anyone know at the time but that would be the last time a Wanderers side would beat Rotherham on their own turf in 16 attempts, stretching out a further 53 years.

Just a few weeks after their victory in South Yorkshire, Wyn Davies was sold to Newcastle United and the torch was passed on to Byrom and Lee. Wanderers had won seven games in the first three months of the season and would win just seven more by mid-May, their promotion chances disappearing by Easter.

Rotherham remained barren territory as the two clubs traded blows in three different divisions and over six different decades. In fact, if Keith Hill’s men fail to claim victory on Saturday it will mean only Liverpool have proved less hospitable league hosts.

Bolton last league win at Anfield was in January 1954, some 18 attempts ago.



LIVERPOOL – 18 (games) Wanderers’ last league win at Anfield was in January 1954. Dennis Stevens and Willie Moir were on target for Bill Ridding’s side, who finished fifth in Division One that season, beating the Reds on three occasions, including the FA Cup.

ARSENAL – 17 You have to go back to January 1962 for Wanderers’ last league win at Gunners’ HQ. Dougie Holden and Dennis Stevens scored in a 2-1 victory at Highbury in the first season without the great Nat Lofthouse.

FULHAM – 17 Craven Cottage has not been a happy hunting ground for Bolton in the last couple of decades. Their last league win was in November 1992, just as Bruce Rioch’s promotion-bound side were starting to find their feet in the old Division Two. Andy Walker scored twice, with David Lee and Alan Stubbs getting the others.

ROTHERHAM – 16 The last time a Bolton team beat the Millers on their own turf in the league was August 1966 – a month after England had lifted the World Cup. Gordon Taylor scored the only goal at Millmoor.

DERBY COUNTY – 15 The Baseball Ground and Pride Park have been equally difficult away days for Bolton in league football and you have to go all the way back to September 1981 for their last win. Chris Thompson and Gerry McElhinney scored the goals on that day.