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Match of my Youth: Bolton v Liverpool, FA Cup 1993

Chris takes a toot down memory lane and looks back at a classic match what he did attend as a nipper

I was a young lad of 9, just making my way in the world of football supporting fandom-ism. My Salford-born dad and my uncle would take me, on occasion, to watch Manchester United. I saw some great games at United as a child, watching the likes of Paul Gascoigne for Tottenham Hotspur in particular.

My uncle on my mum's side however, along with the rest of her Farnworth-born clan encouraged me to watch Bolton Wanderers matches whenever I could. So it would be that on alternate weeks I would either be at Old Trafford with my dad's side of the family, or at Burnden Park with my mum's side.

Ultimately I would choose Bolton - but it was touch and go until the Play Off Final vs Reading at Wembley.

In that time, I would often be taken to Burnden Park by my mum's dad, and we would walk what felt like MILES from their house on Cambridge Close, Farnworth (just off Plodder Lane for Farnworthian experts). I have just checked Google Maps and it's a mere 1.8 miles, but I was 9 and it felt like at least twenty.

We would walk through past the hospital, over Orlando Bridge and down Manchester Road to Burnden, taking our place in the Manny Road terrace. I used to enjoy going with my grandad as he'd let me stand up, whereas going to games with my mum meant sitting in the Lever End with the rest of the kids. Being in the Manny Road stand made me feel like a proper supporter!

So it was a regular Saturday and I had been to my nan's house for breakfast when my grandad announced that he'd sorted tickets through Wanderers to go and watch the FA Cup game against Liverpool. He had played for Bolton in the olden days, and had refereed to a high level too and would often get freebies from the club or from friends of his in the Bolton FA.

We set off on that cold winter's afternoon and arrived at Burnden Park in time to get a pie from the shop next to the ground, which we would share in what was our match-going tradition.

That day saw 21,502 squeeze into the old ground - not a huge number by modern standards, but considering that our next home gate after Liverpool this drew a meagre 8,256 supporters then over 21,000 was quite the achievement. This number was boosted by a large Liverpudlian contingent but all the same it was a great crowd and one of the largest that I had ever seen at Bolton.

My grandad was unimpressed. He was a survivor of the Burnden Disaster and had been around to see the days of 50,000 spectators at the famous old ground.

I was in awe of Liverpool and their shiny bright red kits. I had no idea that their manager was Graeme Souness, but I had heard of the young winger Steve McManaman, of Welsh striker Ian Rush and England's exciting attacker John Barnes.

I can't say I remember too much of the game itself, but the elation of my favourite player John McGinlay scoring the opener on 6min was multiplied tenfold just 15min later when central defender Mark Seagraves nodded in at the far post to make it 2-0 to the Whites. McGinlay and fellow strike partner Andy Walker would both spurn decent chances to extend Bolton's lead.

Liverpool would earn a replay though, scoring twice in the second half through a Seagraves own goal and an 82nd minute Ian Rush strike - but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the day and of the occasion.

What happened in the replay has been written a thousand times, but for my own reasons I'll always remember the first game and the start of a proper love affair between myself and my football club.

The Managers

Bruce Rioch - Bolton Wanderers

'I am satisfied and delighted with the way we played and I know the players enjoyed it,' he said. 'But that feeling is tinged with a little disappointment and, if you feel that way after facing Liverpool, you know you
have competed well.

'At the break I felt we had a good chance of winning but we conceded a couple of unfortunate goals through an own goal and a misdirected back pass. We were not able to keep the momentum going but it has been a good day for us.

'I suppose Liverpool will be thinking they have done the hard work now but we will look forward to the replay and who knows what might happen if we create as many chances at Anfield?'

Graeme Souness - Liverpool

"We were looking at going out after 45 minutes. But you need a bit of luck in cup competitions. We thoroughly deserved a draw in the end. It was a very entertaining Cup tie, with goals and nearly goals on a tricky pitch'.

Midfielder John Barnes agreed:

'We could have been four goals down at half-time,'


Bolton Wanderers

Keith Branagan

Phil Brown

David Burke

David Lee

Mark Seagraves

Mark Winstanley

Scott Green

Tony Kelly

Andy Walker

John McGinlay

Mark Patterson


Mike Hooper

Mike Marsh

Rob Jones

Steve Nicol

Torben Piechnik

Stig-Inge Bjornebye

Steve McManaman

Don Hutchinson

Ian Rush

John Barnes

Michael Thomas