WANDERERS have announced they will not be closing the upper tiers of the University of Bolton Stadium for home matches, for the foreseeable future.

More than 150 season ticket holders turned out to make their feelings known at a consultation with owner Football Ventures last week, with many more voicing their displeasure with emails to the club’s hierarchy.

Many were in favour of closing the upper tiers, arguing that – though there was almost no financial benefit to closing them – it could create a more compact, louder matchday atmosphere.

Reader Steven Battersby got in touch to offer his views on the consultation process involved in the club reaching a decision.

He said: "On February 12 the club held a consultation meeting with upper-tier season ticket holders to discuss whether those sections of the stadium should remain open or be closed in part, or in full.

Emma Beaugeard (chief executive), Daniel Scott (ticket sales manager) and Paul Holliday (marketing manager), represented the club. Approximately 200 supporters attended, although I understand many more who could not attend had communicated their views directly to the club as requested.

Of the 7,837 season ticket holders we currently have, 2,279 are seated in the Upper Tiers. Details kindly made available to us on the night by Daniel. This represents just under 30 per cent of the total number of season ticket holders, a sizeable proportion in my opinion.

All of us paying a premium price for a seat of our choice. The evening was hosted by Jack Dearden, which was great to see after his recent illness, and all those who wished to do so were allowed to ask questions or make statements and these were responded to and taken on board by the panel.

Emma had opened the meeting by clearly stating this decision was NOT a financial one and she repeated that on numerous occasions throughout the evening.

This meeting was, in my opinion, about gauging how we would react were there to be partial or full closure. Atmosphere was however spoken about at some length and the overriding response from attendees was atmosphere means different things to different groups of fans. Some of us prefer not to sit in close to proximity to those who wish to chant and sing for 90 minutes. Yes, it might be an age thing but what is wrong with that? Others take their children and grandchildren and prefer a less noisy atmosphere and a better view without the risk of younger and more boisterous fans jumping up and down regularly and obstructing their view (as we all of course endure at every away game). And many just prefer the panoramic view that you get from higher up.

The overriding message to the club was this is where we choose to sit. This is where we wish to remain and in some cases it was made crystal clear that taking away the opportunity to sit up in the “Gods” would mean non-renewal of season tickets and the attendant loss of revenue.

The club also suggested that were a full closure to be implemented then those of us with many years of 'service' as a season ticket holder (49 consecutive seasons in my case), then in order to reflect fairness, one possible option would be to give them priority in selecting seats in the lower tier ahead of season ticket holders situated there but with many years less as season ticket holders. That would not have sat well with many I would suggest but would at least have been a just option.

In the announcement Emma Beaugeard clearly reflects her understanding of the goodwill and support that could have been lost had this decision not been made to keep all upper-tier sections open. She and her colleagues are to be massively congratulated and I hope that they are rewarded with a successful 2020-21 season and promotion back to League One at the first attempt."

Here’s how you reacted on social media and in the comments section on theboltonnews.co.uk:

Was at the consultation evening and fans said if it was going to save the clubs lots of money they’d be willing to move. CEO said it was purely atmospheric and not cost driven so right decision to not upset 2000 ST holders – some of whom have been there for 20+ years


I think they should have put an incentive in there to close them to the people who sit there now, close the top tier and next season the season ticket holders would get X amount off their season ticket for next season and when we promote they get first choice of having their seat back on the upper tier. I would rather not see a tier close but id rather see the bottom tiers filled for a better atmosphere


Not a decision I agree with but more than offset by the club dealing with the issue in the right way so I’m happy now to move on


When was the last time the stadium was full? I like that FV have spoken to season ticket holders of the upper stands and can only imagine that they have decided to keep them open as they are going to reduce ticket prices and do more deals to get more people in. Or they are going to give away teams more tickets as it will be huge games for league 2 teams


See both sides but would be wrong to penalise long-standing fans ie ST holders to possibly force something that depends far more on playing success than seating arrangements


I’m in West Stand Lower so whatever happened didn’t directly impact me but very pleased to see diplomacy rather than dictatorship in the decision making - well done FV

The Bolton No 10 Shirt

I don’t agree but at least they took it to consultation... shame those in the upper tiers wouldn’t come down for a season though


That’s great news.That’s our 4 seats sorted for next season. Keep the faith things will get better


I’d have liked FV to come out with facts and figures to show just how much more (or not) it costs to open/run top tiers then could decide whether this is a cost or atmosphere issue. Costs are black and white, atmosphere is subjective and open to debate. At least they listened


5,000 fans spread across a 28,000 seat stadium! The place will be rockin’. At least the master tacticians will have their birds-eye view in order that they can provide Mr Hill with their detailed analysis of the error of his ways

bwfc smurf

Regardless of the outcome consulting with the fans is a breath of fresh air – long may it continue


Selfish selfish idiots, these are probably the same losers who sit down at an away match. Better off without them in the lower tiers more likely to dampen the atmosphere than improve it.