Twelve months ago Bolton Wanderers defeated Blackburn Rovers thanks to Emile Heskey's hilarious debut substitute goal. With a trip to Rotherham United on Saturday looking like our biggest fixture of the season so far, we take a look back at Wanderers' history of Boxing Day football down the years.
In total Bolton have played 112 times on, or close to, Boxing Day, with 40 of those clashes at home and 72 away. 35 of these festive fixtures have resulted in a Bolton win, with 32 draws and 45 defeats.
The early years
As one of the 12 founding members of the Football League when it started up back in 1888, Wanderers have been involved in the league throughout the entirety of its existence. Teams played on Boxing Day from the very first season of the league, and Bolton's festive clashes were dominated by visits to Derby County.
Bolton visited Derby on Boxing Day for the first nine years of the old First Division, and their first trip saw their only victory in that near decade. Two goals from Kenny Davenport and one from James Brogan were enough to defeat Derby 3-2, despite two goals for the home side by Alex Higgins.
Derby won the following season and Wanderers earned a draw a year later, and that sequence then repeated itself twice. The most demoralising defeat in that series was a 6-1 defeat on Boxing Day of 1893, in which John Goodall and John Stuart McMillan both scored hat-tricks.
Wanderers lost the final two of their festive clashes at Derby, before facing another six years of Boxing Day away days. They won just one of those travels but in some style, with a 6-1 thrashing of Barnsley on Boxing Day 1899. Six days later Bolton played on the first day of the new century, beating Brighton New Tower 2-1 on 1 January 1900.
In 1902, Wanderers suffered their heaviest ever Boxing Day defeat on the wrong end of a 7-1 hammering at Sheffield United. They also lost 5-1 at Liverpool the day before (yes, they used to play on Christmas Day back then) and, unsurprisingly based on these results, suffered relegation for the first time during this season.
Wanderers only stayed down in the Second Division for two years and won both their Boxing Day fixtures, 4-0 at home to Chesterfield and 2-0 at home to Lincoln City.
Upon return to the top tier, playing festive games against Liverpool became somewhat of a tradition. In total Wanderers have played Liverpool six times on Boxing Day - their second most frequent festive opponent, tied with West Bromwich Albion, behind Derby, who we've taken on 12 times - and have only ever been victorious once, with a 2-0 at home in 1906.
The final year of Football League fixtures before the 1st World War saw Wanderers record their biggest Boxing Day victory, with a 7-1 away thrashing of Aston Villa in 1914. In the second season after the league resumed Bolton were involved in another eight goal thriller, this time defeating Sunderland 6-2 at home in 1920.
in 1922 Wanderers lost 5-0 at Arsenal on Boxing Day having defeated the Gunners 4-1 at home on Christmas Day, in the season in which they first lifted the FA Cup. Wanderers then went undefeated on Boxing Day (or Christmas Day) between 1926 and 1933, when they recorded a 4-1 victory over Bradford Park Avenue. Their final festive match before the 2nd World War was a 4-2 defeat at, you guessed it, Derby.
Wanderers' first Boxing Day match after the war was a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, having drawn 2-2 at home on Christmas Day. Six years later Wanderers were involved in their highest scoring festive match, as they were defeated 6-4 at home by Arsenal on Christmas Day 1952.
During this period, Bolton set in stone the path towards a terrible run that gave their fans very little to cheer at Christmas time for decades. They recorded just three victories on Boxing Day in 15 attempts between 1950 and 1967, 3-1 at home to Charlton in 1953, 1-0 at home to Manchester City in 1956 and 2-1 at home to Wolves in 1959.
Minimal 70s, 80s and 90s success
Things didn't get much better for Wanderers in the 1970s, with just two festive wins all decade - both by a 2-0 scoreline, at Sheffield Wednesday in 1974 and at home to Notts County in 1977.
The Christmas period also wasn't particularly cheery in the '80s, as Wanderers' festive form reflected their four year slump into the Fourth Division with just two wins again in the decade - 1-0 at home to Carlisle in 1982 and 2-0 at home to Blackpool in 1989.
Moving into the '90s Wanderers may have risen back up to the Second Division, following successive promotions in 1989 and 1990, but they still struggled to enjoy success at Christmas time. They again only won two matches on Boxing Day throughout the entire decade - a 2-0 home win over Wigan Athletic thanks to an Andy Walker brace and a 2-1 win over Grimsby Town thanks to Gerry Taggart and Nathan Blake - but drew six of their Boxing Day clashes.
Premier League and modern day
Wanderers' first taste of the festive period in the Premier League saw them fall to a 2-0 home defeat against Leeds in 1995, with goals from Tomas Brolin and David Wetherall, but the 2000's saw them face some really tough festive tests. These included a 3-0 defeat by Leeds again in 2001, thanks to a Robbie Fowler hat-trick, 3-1 and 2-0 defeats to Liverpool, and a 2-0 defeat to Man United thanks to Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Bolton did have some success at Christmas though, including a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday during the promotion season of 2000, and two Premier League victories over Newcastle. The stand out of these was Wanderers winning a seven-goal thriller 4-3 in 2002 at the Reebok Stadium. Bolton took a fifth minute lead through Jay-Jay Okocha, were immediately pegged by back by now-Bolton man Shola Ameobi but were in the lead again a minute later through Ricardo Gardner. A brace from super Michael Ricketts had Bolton in a comfortable 4-1 lead but in true Trotters style they tried to throw it away by conceding two late goals to Alan Shearer.
Wanderers have enjoyed better festive form in recent years, winning three of their last five Boxing Day fixtures. In addition to last year's defeat of Blackburn, Bolton also beat Barnsley 1-0 away thanks to a Neil Danns goal.
They had lost their previous two Boxing Day games, 1-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday and 2-0 at home to Newcastle in their final Premier League season, but beat West Brom 2-0 at home in 2010 with goals from Matty Taylor and Johan Elmander.
Wanderers have only won twice away from home on Boxing Day since 1996, and have only won four away days on this date since 1974. But recent form in the festive period suggests an upsurge in form, so lets hope for more of the same on Saturday.
A full list of Wanderers' Boxing Day results since 1888 is below, and you'll see that scorer info for Bolton is, at best, a little patchy down the years.
|Year||Result||Opponent||Home or Away||League||Additional Info|
|1888||Won 3-2||Derby County||Away||First Division||Kenny Davenport (2), James Brogan; Alex Higgins (2)|
|1889||Lost 3-2||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1890||Drew 1-1||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1891||Lost 3-2||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1892||Drew 1-1||Derby County||Away||First Division||Drew 1-1 at Aston Villa on Xmas Day|
|1893||Lost 6-1||Derby County||Away||First Division||John Goodall (3), John Stuart McMillan (3). Drew 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday on Xmas Day|
|1894||Drew 2-2||Derby County||Away||First Division||Won 1-0 at home to Liverpool on Xmas Day|
|1895||Lost 2-1||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1896||Lost 1-0||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1897 (Xmas Day)||Lost 2-0||Liverpool||Away||First Division|
|1898||Drew 1-1||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1899||Won 6-1||Barnsley||Away||First Division||Won 2-1 at home to Brighton New Tower on 1st Jan 1900|
|1900||Lost 3-0||Aston Villa||Away||First Division||Also lost 3-0 at Forest on Xmas Day|
|1901 (on 28th)||Drew 0-0||Sunderland||Away||First Division|
|1902||Lost 7-1||Sheffield United||Away||First Division|
|1903||Won 4-0||Chesterfield||Home||Second Division||Won 5-1 at home to Barnsley on Xmas Day|
|1904||Won 2-0||Lincoln City||Away||Second Division|
|1905||Drew 1-1||Aston Villa||Away||First Division||Drew 2-2 at Liverpool on Xmas Day|
|1906||Won 2-0||Liverpool||Away||First Division|
|1907||Lost 1-0||Manchester City||Away||First Division||Lost 2-0 at Preston on Xmas Day|
|1908||Won 2-1||Leeds City||Home||Second Division|
|1909 (Xmas Day)||Lost 3-0||Liverpool||Away||First Division|
|1910||Lost 2-0||West Brom||Away||First Division||Won 5-1 at Birmingham on Xmas Eve|
|1911 (Xmas Day)||Lost 1-0||Liverpool||Away||First Division|
|1912||Won 2-0||Sheffield United||Away||First Division|
|1913 (on 27th)||Lost 2-0||Oldham Athletic||Away||First Division|
|1914||Won 7-1||Aston Villa||Away||First Division||Lost 1-0 away to Liverpool on Xmas Day|
|1919||Drew 1-1||Preston North End||Away||First Division||Beat Preston 4-1 at home on Xmas Day, beat Blackburn 2-1 at home on 27th|
|1920||Won 6-2||Sunderland||Home||First Division||Drew 0-0 at Sunderland on 27th|
|1921||Drew 0-0||Oldham Athletic||Away||First Division|
|1922||Lost 5-0||Arsenal||Away||First Division||Beat Arsenal 4-1 at home on Xmas Day|
|1923||Won 5-0||West Brom||Away||First Division||Beat West Brom 2-0 at home on Xmas Day|
|1924||Drew 1-1||Nottingham Forest||Away||First Division||Beat Forest 1-0 at home on Xmas Day, and Spurs 3-0 on 27th|
|1925 (Xmas Day)||Lost 2-1||Manchester United||Away||First Division|
|1926 (Xmas Day)||Won 3-1||Derby County||Home||First Division||And beat them 2-0 on 27th|
|1927||Won 4-1||Tottenham Hotspur||Away||First Division|
|1928||Won 6-2||Birmingham City||Home||First Division||And beat them 2-0 away on Xmas Day|
|1929||Drew 2-2||Burnley"]">Burnley||Away||First Division||Drew 1-1 with Burnley at home on Xmas Day|
|1930||Drew 1-1||Manchester United||Away||First Division||Middlesbrough on 27th"]">Beat United 3-1 at home on Xmas Day, lost 3-0 at Middlesbrough on 27th|
|1931||Won 3-1||Leicester City||Away||First Division||Beat Leicester 1-0 at home on Xmas Day|
|1932||Won 2-1||Huddersfield Town||Home||First Division|
|1933 (Xmas Day)||Won 4-1||Bradford Park Avenue||Away||Second Division|
|1934 (Xmas Day)||Lost 2-1||Burnley||Away||Second Division|
|1935||Drew 3-3||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Away||First Division||Lost 3-0 to Wolves on Xmas Day|
|1936||Drew 2-2||Brentford||Home||First Division|
|1937||Lost 4-2||Derby County||Away||First Division|
|1946||Lost 1-0||Manchester United||Away||First Division|
|1947 (Xmas Day)||Lost 2-1||Sheffield United||Away||First Division||Lost to them 3-2 at home on 27th|
|1948 (Xmas Day)||Drew 1-1||Sheffield United||Away||First Division||Beat them 6-1 at home on 27th|
|1949||Won 3-0||West Brom||Home||First Division||Lost to West Brom away on 27th|
|1950||Lost 1-0||Fulham||Home||First Division||Beat Fulham 1-0 away on Xmas Day|
|1951||Lost 3-1||West Brom||Away||First Division||Beat West Brom 3-2 at home on Xmas Day|
|1952 (Xmas Day)||Lost 6-4||Arsenal||Home||First Division|
|1953||Won 3-1||Charlton||Home||First Division|
|1954 (Xmas Day)||Lost 2-1||Tottenham Hotspur||Home||First Division||Lost 2-0 to Spurs on 27th|
|1955||Lost 3-1||Manchester City||Home||First Division||And lost 2-0 away to City the next day|
|1956||Won 1-0||Manchester City||Home||First Division|
|1957||Lost 5-1||Everton||Home||First Division|
|1958||Lost 1-0||Everton||Away||First Division||And lost 3-0 at home to Everton on 28th|
|1959||Won 2-1||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Home||First Division|
|1960||Lost 2-0||Leicester City||Away||First Division|
|1961||Lost 1-0||Everton||Away||First Division|
|1963||Lost 3-0||Sheffield Wednesday||Away||First Division||Then beat Wednesday 3-0 on 28th|
|1964||Drew 0-0||Northampton Town||Home||Second Division|
|1966||Drew 1-1||Bristol City||Away||Second Division|
|1967||Won 2-0||Middlesbrough||Home||Second Division|
|1968||Lost 1-0||Carlisle United||Home||Second Division|
|1969||Won 3-1||Preston North End||Away||Second Division|
|1970||Lost 1-0||Carlisle United||Away||Second Division|
|1971||Drew 0-0||Barnsley||Away||Third Division|
|1972||Drew 1-1||Tranmere Rovers||Away||Third Division|
|1973||Drew 1-1||Blackpool||Home||Second Division|
|1974||Won 2-0||Sheffield Wednesday||Away||Second Division|
|1975||Lost 2-1||Oldham Athletic||Away||Second Division|
|1976 (on 27th)||Drew 1-1||Nottingham Forest||Home||Second Division|
|1977||Won 2-0||Notts County||Home||Second Division|
|1978||Drew 1-1||Middlesbrough||Away||First Division|
|1979||Drew 1-1||Everton||Home||First Division|
|1980||Won 1-0||Wrexham||Away||Second Division|
|1981 (on 28th)||Drew 2-2||Blackburn Rovers||Home||Second Division|
|1982||Won 1-0||Carlisle United||Home||Second Division|
|1983||Lost 1-0||Wigan Athletic||Away||Third Division|
|1984||Lost 1-0||Wigan Athletic||Away||Fourth Division|
|1985||Drew 1-1||Blackpool||Away||Fourth Division|
|1986||Lost 3-2||Bury||Home||Fourth Division|
|1987||Drew 0-0||Hartlepool United||Away||Fourth Division|
|1988||Lost 3-1||Preston North End||Away||Third Division|
|1989||Won 2-0||Blackpool||Home||Second Division|
|1990||Drew 1-1||Southend United||Away||Second Division||Scott Green|
|1991||Lost 2-1||Leyton Orient||Away||Second Division||Scott Green|
|1992||Won 2-0||Wigan Athletic||Home||Second Division||Andy Walker (2)|
|1993||Drew 0-0||Sunderland||Home||First Division|
|1994||Drew 1-1||Sunderland||Home||Championship||Mixu Paatelainen. Beat Tranmere 1-0 on 27th|
|1995 (on 27th)||Lost 2-0||Leeds United||Home||Premier League||Tomas Brolin, David Wetherall|
|1996||Won 2-1||Grimsby||Away||Championship||Gerry Taggart, Nathan Blake|
|1997||Drew 1-1||Barnsley||Home||Championship||Gudni Bergsson; Georgi Hristov|
|1999||Drew 1-1||West Brom||Home||Championship||Claus Jensen|
|2000||Won 2-0||Sheffield Wednesday||Home||Championship||Dean Holdsworth, Colin Hendry|
|2001||Lost 3-0||Leeds United||Home||Premier League||Robbie Fowler (3)|
|2002||Won 4-3||Newcastle United||Away||Premier League||Jay-Jay Okocha, Ricardo Gardner, Michael Ricketts (2); Alan Shearer (2) Shola Ameobi|
|2003||Lost 3-1||Liverpool||Away||Premier League||Sami Hyypia, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, Vladimir Smicer; Henrik Pedersen|
|2004||Lost 2-0||Manchester United||Away||Premier League||Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes|
|2005||Drew 0-0||Sunderland||Away||Premier League|
|2006||Won 2-1||Newcastle United||Home||Premier League||Peter Ramage (og), Nicolas Anelka; Kieron Dyer|
|2007||Lost 2-0||Everton||Away||Premier League||Phil Neville, Tim Cahill|
|2008||Lost 3-0||Liverpool||Away||Premier League||Albert Riera, Robbie Keane (2)|
|2009||Drew 1-1||Burnley||Away||Premier League||David Nugent; Matt Taylor|
|2010||Won 2-0||West Brom||Home||Premier League||Matt Taylor, Johan Elmander|
|2011||Lost 2-0||Newcastle United||Home||Premier League||Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba|
|2012||Lost 1-0||Sheffield Wednesday||Home||Championship||Mamady Sidibé|
|2013||Won 1-0||Barnsley||Away||Championship||Neil Danns|
|2014||Won 2-1||Blackburn Rovers||Home||Championship||Josh King; Emile Heskey, Darren Pratley|