WELL, it’s Saturday, March 28, 1964. And it’s 8.30 am. I awake after a rare lie in. No cough – Tick. No fever – Tick. So far so good.

Then the old memory starts to click in and I remember that today is exactly 56 years since I attended my first ever Bolton Wanderers game with my late dad, Dennis. Aged seven years and nine months I was taken to Burnden Park that Saturday afternoon to have my first 90 minutes glimpse of a football team that was to become a far larger part of my life than it perhaps should have done.

We were playing Aston Villa, one of the giants of English football, in the old First Division (now known as The Premier League). Sitting in the Wing Stand, which was the cheaper bit of the Manchester Road Stand at the Great Lever End, I was completely transfixed. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with diminutive winger Jimmy Davison scoring our goal. It was to be his only goal in a Bolton shirt but one forever etched in my memory.

And from there I was hooked. This was going to be my hobby, my passion, my raison d’etre.

For the next seven years I went with my dad as often as he was able to take me. Then in the summer of 1971, along with two school friends, I bought my first ever season ticket. A Junior Ticket for Seat C93 in the Burnden Stand. It cost me £5 for the 23 home games plus entry to all Reserve matches. £5 in total that is and to this day I have in my possession every season ticket for the 49 consecutive seasons since.

With time on our hands right now, I decided yesterday to check back through the records and see how many games since that day in 1964 had actually been played on a Saturday. In total there have only been 6. Today would have been the seventh. Of those six I have seen only three, of which two were draws and one was a defeat. The three that I missed produced two wins and 1 draw. The 28th of March is maybe not my luckiest date!

Today was going to be a good day. Early start. Drive to Lytham. Picnic lunch. Walk along the sea front. My wife, Margaret, was coming along and would have enjoyed an invigorating afternoon in Thornton Cleveleys, whilst I watched the game at Highbury. Then off for an evening meal with friends on the way home.

However, sometimes football is placed into context and Covid19 has certainly achieved that. Hopefully the game will be played in the weeks or months ahead and we can have that day at the seaside as life returns to normal, as it will.


Steven Battersby


Do you have a favourite player, game or Wanderers team you’d like to write about?

Can you recall your first Bolton game and what got you hooked on the club?

We’d love to hear from you.

Email marc.iles@nqnw.co.uk with the subject title ‘Wanderers Memories’ and we’ll do our best to find some pictures to go with your story.