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My Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool Memories

In anticipation of Bolton's FA Cup clash with Liverpool, Dan takes a look at how the Merseyside team moulded him as a football fan.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

As much as I love to laugh and poke fun at Liverpool's many, many, MANY failings (the Gerrard slip is the funniest moment in football history), I would be lying if I said Liverpool didn't have a massive effect on me as a football fan.

Because they did.

Many years ago when I was only a wee 'un, I was never particularly interested in football. I obviously still ran around the rough, dusty excuse of a football pitch that was my primary school play ground - like a recently decapitated Turkey - every break time. But that was largely due to the fact all my friends were playing, so what else was I going to do?

So despite my Manchester United supporting father's best efforts, I was much more inclined to watch Scooby-Doo and build mediocre structures with magnetics.

So where do Liverpool fit in to this. Well, when I started to get older and actually started liking football there was a bit of a three way power struggle as to who would win my never-weary loyalty. As mentioned, my father was (he pretty much supports Bolton now) a United fan, many of my friends supported Bolton, but my neighbour, however, was a Liverpool fan.

Thankfully, or sadly depending on how you look at it, Bolton were the ones who won that power struggle, but Liverpool still had a massive effect on me, and nearly won it themselves.

The first football match I ever wilfully attended featured Liverpool, although I was sat in the Burnley stand at Turf Moor. It was that historic game in which Djimi Traore scored one of the greatest own-goals of all time, as he displayed some elegant skill to flick the ball into his own net.

I was still undecided on which team I'd support at that point, so I just went by as a United fan (blasphemy!) due to the rest of my family supporting them.

A DVD of Liverpool's 2005 Champions League win nearly swung me. I was obsessed by that whole champaign and watched the video countless times. The triumph they merged to achieve, despite the impossible odds, was genuinely fairytale like to this young boy.

It was also the prestige and mystique of the club that nearly won me other. Gerrard was still world class, Carragher was passion and commitment personified, I loved the Spanish contingent of Luis Garcia (absolute fave), Xabi Alonso and Fernando Morientes, and the club had a rich vain of fascinating history.

I finally made the decision as to who I'd support after I wilfully attended my first Bolton game, when the Trotters beat Tottenham 2-0, thanks to a forty-yard rocket from Ivan Campo and a typical Kevin Davies header. It was the game that made me fall in love with Campo, Davies, and most of all, Bolton Wanderers.

Alas, I didn't have a season ticket.

I was firmly a Wanderers fan at this point, but that didn't deter my afore mentioned neighbour, who continued to buy me Liverpool shirts at every appropriate opportunity to try and swing my fandom.

Then, to my young, ecstatic delight, my parents bought me a half Bolton season ticket as an early Christmas present. Who was my first game as a Bolton season ticket holder against? No other than Liverpool.

Bolton again won 2-0, this time due to a daisy-cutter free kick from the late, but ever great, Gary Speed, after Pepe Reina was adjudged to catch the ball outside of the area - he didn't. And then a second half Ivan Campo header. Looking back, it's easy to tell why Campo is my favourite ever player.

I've been a permanent fixture in West stand lower ever since, and as such, I've seen Bolton face Liverpool on a number of occasions.

Most of them feature excruciating late winners for Liverpool, or them just completely steam rolling us. For instance, on 29th August 2009, Bolton were just edged out 3-2 by the Scousers, after Bolton went ahead twice through goals from Kevin Davies and Tamir Cohen. Bolton were playing uncharacteristically well since they'd lost their two previous games in the Premier League.

This performance was largely down to Fabrice Muamba doing an excellent job on Steven Gerrard, who was having no influence on the game in the slightest. That all fell apart, however, when the cheating shite that is Lucas Leiva got Sean Davis sent off on the edge of half time.

Although Bolton did manage to retake the lead a couple of minutes in to the second half, Liverpool were dominating the proceedings due to the fact Muamba could no longer concentrate on Gerrard. And of course, it would be Gerrard who came up with the late winner for Liverpool, to see them win the game 3-2.

The following season Bolton would again be defeated due to a last minute winner, this time an 86th minute goal from Maxi Rodriguez, who poked home from close range to send the Liverpool fans sat in my stand into raptures but unfortunately not close enough to being thrown down the stairs.

Bolton were equal with Liverpool throughout the game, matching them across the pitch and creating just as many opportunities, but we lost at the death again.

It would be the same story yet again on the return fixture, on New Years Day, 2011. As Liverpool scored yet ANOTHER last minute winner to deny Bolton a deserved share of the points. This time a goal in the 91st minute from Joe Cole.

It was at this point I'd started to grow a little less fond of Liverpool.

The last time I watched Bolton face Liverpool went a little bit better, however, as the Whites bloody well battered them with an energetic and deadly performance. We went ahead with in five minutes, Mark Davies picked up the ball 35 yards from goal and drove into space, just like we've become so accustomed to seeing, before firing past a hapless Pepe Reina.

The second goal came after good work from Chris Eagles and captain Nigel Reo-Coker finished well. Bolton were unphased when Craig Bellamy beat the offside trap and cooly shot past Adam Bogdan, and five minutes into the second have restored their two goal lead.

A corner was swung in and after being headed back into the area, Gretar Steinnson hit the ball on the volley and it flew into the net. Bolton saw out the game and we won 3-1.

So there you have it, my memorises of Liverpool football club. They're a team who've had a massive influence on me as a football fan, and hopefully they can give me one more unforgettable memory on the weekend - by losing.