WANDERERS’ mini-tour of Scotland in July was a trip of firsts for me – including the first time I had ever compiled a match report while facing a brick wall.

Battery failure on the way to Arbroath meant the only way I could use my laptop was if it was plugged into the mains. And as Gayfield Park didn’t really have a press box, let alone a socket, I spent the game doing shuttle runs from a control room at the back of the stand.

I’d never been to St Andrews, the home of golf, nor had I spent £7 on a bottle of beer. Both of these things were ticked off before the next friendly at Dundee.

We also got a first look at Sammy Ameobi as a bona fide Bolton player, along with Will Buckley, Mark Little and Stephen Darby.

The summer had kicked off with a kickabout at Chorley and on returning to England there were more extended training sessions at AFC Fylde, Stockport and Fleetwood Town before the big kick off.

Now I know a Tuesday night trip to Crewe ‘sounds’ glamorous to start the season’s away trips but August’s Carabao Cup excursion was anything but, especially when we turned up an hour before the doors opened.

If I had to guess, I’d say the BBC's Jack Dearden spends about 70 per cent of his life either looking for, or eating food. How he hasn’t joined me and Tower FM’s Chris Price at the heavier end of the press box spectrum is beyond me.

One of the joys of travelling with Jack is his nose for a pre-match café. He can sniff out a bacon barmcake within a 10-mile radius. On this occasion, however, Crewe’s array of takeaway joints were not to his liking as there was nowhere to sit down.

Watching him hike up and down the High Street in Crewe swearing at every kebab and curry house, I was starting to worry he could be detained by the local constabulary. But thankfully one thoughtful chippy owner had crammed a tiny two-person patio table and chairs outside his shop, giving the voice of Radio Manchester a place to park his backside.

And so, for the next 30 to 40 minutes, a procession of Wanderers fans were able to walk by, point and laugh at the two idiots eating pudding and chips, surrounded by radio equipment and laptops.

“Are you doing the game, then?” one particularly observant chap asked me, mid-swig of Red Stripe.

Millwall does not sound an appetising prospect, either, based on the club’s chequered history with fan behaviour, but my experience with the Lions has been almost entirely positive.

The staff at The Den are always pleasant, the press box is well positioned, food lovely and the wi-fi reliable. What more could you want – aside from the ground being 200 miles closer to Bolton?

I managed to swerve Wanderers’ trip to Birmingham City, with Mike Glendinning reluctantly taking on the reins and fearing another last-minute winner with the scores at 0-0. This time he was spared the frantic rush, more’s the pity.

My next trip was Hull. The game had been moved to a Friday night because one of the city’s rugby league clubs was playing at Wembley the next day, so I decided a stop-over was in order.

It is not often I get uppity about hotels, especially when the company are picking up the tab, but suffice to say the 4-0 hammering the Whites got at the KC Stadium was by no means the low point of my evening.

A sleepless night was spent listening to an Australian couple argue in the room to my left in unison with an Eastern European thrash metal enthusiast giving a lowdown of his greatest hits in the room to my right. I went down to reception to complain but the place was empty.

At 5am I walked across the road to the station hoping to get the first train out of Dodge, only to meet the die-hard Hull FC rugby league fans in full voice for the two-hour journey into Manchester.

Next up was Ipswich. I do like Portman Road despite the long trek to get there. The halls around the press and board rooms are packed with old newspaper articles and pictures of the glory days, giving a great sense of history. It disappoints me when clubs fail to acknowledge their past – and it was not long ago Wanderers were doing the same thing. Thankfully, there is a better balance under the current management and ownership.

Another new ground followed with a Carabao Cup trip to West Ham United. I had no real affinity with the Boleyn Ground, especially the vertigo-inducing sheer 20-foot drop off the front row of the press benches, but despite looking the part the London Stadium really was a let-down.

For all its luxurious façade, the ground is a real shell inside. Cavernous empty rooms not particularly suited to a football club make it feel more like an aircraft hangar. It does the job – just – but any trepidation one used to have about going to face the Hammers has now disappeared. I wouldn’t mind going back, if only to sample some of the New York delicatessens at the Stratford Shopping Centre.

At this stage, Wanderers’ poor start was beginning to wear. All the enthusiasm I’d had after promotion had long gone, and another midweek trek to Bristol City was not especially appetising.

Thankfully, Ashton Gate has been transformed in the last few years and is now a great place to work. It also gave me a chance to say hello to Dean Holden – the ex-Bolton defender now a very promising up-and-coming coach with the Robins.

Fil Morais’s harsh red card ended any chance of a result but we did get a first meeting with debutant Karl Henry in the mixed zone, the ex-Wolves midfielder becoming an instant press favourite with an intelligent and well-reasoned interview.

I’d already alerted an Uber to get back to my hotel when Mr Holden pulled up in his car and asked if I wanted a lift. Of course, I took him up on his offer without a) cancelling the cab I’d ordered, thus losing a star on my Uber rating, and b) informing Dean that Chris Price was hitching a lift too.

Dean already had a mate in the passenger seat and quite a bit of his own luggage in the back. Squashing me, a 6ft 5ins Tower FM commentator and all his radio kit into the back seat was quite some achievement.

It didn’t help that me, Chris, Dean, Dean’s passenger or Dean’s sat nav had no idea whatsoever where my hotel was, and so for 30 confusing minutes we weaved in and out of the streets around Bristol Temple Meads in a state of confusion.

Not many people would have had Dean’s patience, and so I thank him kindly.

Wanderers showed some signs of improvement at Aston Villa. I had the company of Steve Eyre, the former Manchester City youth team boss, and Mr Dearden. One talked eminent sense about the game, the other nonsense, but I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.

Like Villa, Fulham is a glorious old ground, possibly my favourite. I would like it even more if Wanderers could leave there with three points one day.

Sunderland’s Stadium of Light has a new press box, absolutely miles from the pitch. It takes ages to get up there but the view is incredible.

We meandered down after the game to speak with Phil Parkinson, as usual, but when we got to the tunnel it was immediately clear the Black Cats boss, Simon Grayson, had been sacked. I tweeted it out, absent-mindedly, and did the post-match interviews totally unaware I’d been the first to break the news.

A Halloween trip to Preston was remarkable only in that they have turned their press room into a refrigeration unit. I am yet to warm up two months on.

Wolves is another famous old ground with real character. Wanderers got hammered and we got boxed in over at the press car park. I took my frustration out on the offending vehicle, pushing it six yards clear so we could make our escape.

At time of writing, Forest was my last trip. Little about the afternoon was memorable, especially the result, but we did notice Zach Clough had a beard now.

A trip back with Wanderers’ maharishi of marketing, Paul Holliday, also took in a truly disappointing Burger King at Knutsford Services. The food was so poor, all who ate it are now seriously considering veganism.

And so we look forward to better fayre in 2018, hopefully with a few away wins thrown in for good measure.