The Sound of Football: Bolton Wanderers (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Bolton Wanderers

Nickname: The Trotters

Ground: The Reebok Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 28,100

Song: Just Can’t Get Enough

In March 2011, Bolton Wanderers started blasting out ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode over the speakers every time a goal was scored to try and improve the atmosphere around the stands of The Reebok Stadium.

The club had used a similar trick to improve atmosphere on the club’s return to the Premier League with James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’.

Owen Coyle, then Bolton manager, explained that the decision was part of Bolton’s efforts to improve the match day experience for fans.

The important thing is that we try and build an atmosphere, and that it gets better” he told The Bolton News, before he added: “It’s not my personal favourite but it might prove to be if we keep using it because it means we’ve scored goals.”

It’s fair to say that Owen Coyle never became a fan of Depeche Mode. He left the club in 2012 after Bolton was relegated from the Premiership after failing to score enough goals to stay up. Recent years have seen the club fall further and be threatened with winding up due to unpaid debts.

It’s surprising that Bolton’s Reebok Stadium lacks atmosphere, as, according to a survey by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Boltonians are the friendliest people in Britain. This friendliness is not reflected in the stadium design. Rather than walk onto the pitch together, teams emerge from separate tunnels on either side of the halfway line. Also, the away fans are seated in the lower tiers not covered by the Reebok stadium’s roof. Visiting fans are advised to bring waterproofs if it looks like it might rain.

The club is proud of its history. In 1939 every member of the team volunteered to fight the Nazis. In front of a 23,000 strong crowd, the Bolton skipper gave a rousing speech before leading the entire team to sign up at a local Territorial Army hall.

For the next six years, the players faced some of the heaviest fighting of the war in France, North Africa and Italy, while also establishing themselves as a formidable regimental football team. They were even pulled off the front line to play King Farouk’s side in Cairo. Incredibly, after six years of fighting, all but one of the team survived the war.

Before moving to The Reebok Stadium in 1997, the club played for over 100 years at Burnden Park. Its most famous song relates to the older stadium and is sung to the tune of ‘The Blaydon Races’, a famous Geordie folk song (see Newcastle United).

The original is considered to be the unofficial anthem of Tyneside and is frequently sung by supporters of both Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons rugby club. The song is used by a number of sides (Walsall, Blackburn, Berwick Rangers and Portadown) by changing the geographical references and dialect. The lyrics are changed to suit the club but the tune remains the same.

Aw went to Blaydon Races, ’twas on the ninth of Joon,

Eiteen hundred an’ sixty-two, on a summer’s efternoon;

Aw tyuk the ‘bus frae Balmbra’s, an’ she wis heavy laden,

Away we went alang Collingwood Street, that’s on the road to Blaydon.

(Source: trad.)

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