THE latest instalment of our Wanderers podcast The Buff features a debate about whether the Whites made the correct decision to keep the UniBol top tiers open.

Chief football writer Marc Iles and fan Tom Molloy discussed what they thought was the right thing to do to improve atmosphere in the stadium.

Here’s a taste of what was said as part of our ‘Alright or Barry Knight’ feature.

Tom Molloy: I’ve sat in the upper tiers in recent years. I was sat in the North Stand upper. I sat there for quite a few years and it was alright. It’s nice for the kids, they’ve got a couple of Playstations up there with copies of FIFA that are about five years out of date!

The view from being behind the goal and high up means it is sometimes hard to see which way the ball is going. I’ve sat in the upper tiers of every bit of the ground apart from the South Stand. I’ve sat in the West Stand posh seats and I’ve also sat in the East Stand for the press box.

I think it’s a great view from up there, however, I do think there’s the argument to be had in terms of atmosphere. I think it’s shown when everyone is closer together, it seems to create the illusion of more noise. As you’ve said, the best way to improve atmosphere is by on the pitch results.

Some fans have said that they wouldn’t have renewed their season tickets if they got moved. I think that might be a little petty. I don’t know how sentimental those seats are, they might have very strong reasons why they don’t want to move. For me, keeping the upper tiers open, it’s Barry Knight I’m afraid.

Marc Iles: If you’ve had your season ticket there from 1997 then I think it’s a big alright.

TM: The thing that wasn’t really talked about is what it would’ve meant for the rest of the ground. There’s only so many spare seats and if you’re sat in a big group, it’s going to cause problems in that regard.

MI: There’s 2,000 people there so you’re just placing somebody somewhere.

It would have caused all sorts of issues, too many for my liking. I think the best way of doing it is of course getting results, everybody says yes when we condense them all together, but when did they do that? In cup games against Walsall when they won 5-2.

Basically, just games against lower-league opposition or higher-league opposition and it’s all been nice and compact. It’s a different atmosphere with cup football. I don’t think that necessarily translates.

If you’re playing pants, it doesn’t matter how condensed you are, as a fanbase you’re going to be unhappy. I just think they should concentrate on filling the empty spaces rather than making fans shrink.

TM: I think it will just look quite sad next season when there’s so much emptiness just scattered around.

MI: There was 4,500 at Burnden Park and nobody says how sad that looked. That was just the situation. I think maybe average something along the lines of 10,000 next season, historically it’s a lot lower, but I think that’s probably where they’d be aiming at.

Yes, it will look sad. Yes, it is very sad to be in the ‘fourth division’ for the second time in the club’s history, but if you’re winning games, I think that’ll soon get forgotten about and that’s a big if. If they’re not winning games then not only have they got that problem, but they’ve got a lot of others.

TM: Obviously, it’ll be interesting to see in terms of season-ticket prices.

MI: That’s a big one, that is a massive one. I think if they can get the pricing point right and they really do need to make a grand gesture in my point of view, they really do need to make an effort to get those, I wouldn’t say fans back, but make sure it’s attractive again. They really do have to work hard this summer on that front.

Not listened to the latest episode of The Buff podcast? It’s available on Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud and via The Bolton News website every Thursday