SeasideEssexXile previews the Reebok ahead of our trip to Bolton on Saturday.
The Reebok Stadium – Horwich Wanderers
Another Saturday in the Premiership invariably means a visit to a team we haven`t played for some years. Bolton v Blackpool. The greatest cup final ever, Matthews, Mortensen and Lofthouse. Some real legends from a legendary game and this weekend sees us renew our rivalry for the first time in 18 years. A trip to Burden was an experience not easily forgotten. I remember as a kid being refused entry in the U12’s so the old man simply walked us round and in to the home end. No fun watching Peter Reid score from their main stand. About as much fun as watching the bricks coming over your heads stood on the open away end and in later years watching Russell Coughlin’s penalty sail over the bar and attempt to clear the Normid co-op sign. Happy days they weren’t.
Bye bye Burden, 1997 saw the opening of the Reebok.
The move was unpopular with many fans. This was partly due to the new stadium being built out-of-town, and partly due to sentimental attachment to the old stadium and its history. In recognition of this, the street on which the ground stands is called Burnden Way.
The lead consultant/architect of the project was Lobb Sports, but the local firm of Bradshaw Gass & Hope acted as planning supervisors and quantity surveyors. The value of the contract was £25 million. The stadium was opened on 1 September 1997 by the Labour Party deputy prime minister John Prescott.
The Reebok Stadium is named for long-time sponsor, Reebok. Again, this was unpopular with many fans, as it was considered impersonal, and that too much emphasis was being placed on financial considerations.
With a 28723 capacity, rarely full but the sight of 5000 tangerines will add some colour and noise to the place.
How To Get There
M55, M6 south. Join the M61 Leave the 61 at junction 6 and take the exit from the sliproad roundabout onto the A6027 Mansell Way. The ground is literally there.
For the sat navvers – BL6 6JW
For the Virgin lovers amongst us – The Reebok Stadium is situated 4 miles west of Bolton town centre. The closest train station is Horwich Parkway, within 400 yards of the ground.
Where To drink
The Bromilow Arms is a recommended away friendly pub. It can be reached by passing the ground on the left, and turning right into Lostock Lane
The Barnstormers is also on Lostock Lane. Plod will steer us towards the BeeHive, only 250 yards from the ground. Ale is on sale within the ground, although they have been known not to serve it on the big games.
The Middlebrook retail park has plenty of restaurants but are bouncer led and you`ll do well to get in to one.
Plod & Stewards
Plod will have their hands full without Millwa*k being in Knobbersville on the same day as the EDL march. Stewards are reported as being very hands on. Should be fun, on ths occasion we won’t be everyone’s favourite second team.
Fear Factor Rating – 5.
For the younger of fans this will simply be another game, for the older of us forget Preston as the rivals for those of us there on that tragic day, Bolton will always be our most detested of rivals. Never forget.
Onwards + Upwards