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Why Bolton Wanderers v Burton Albion Should be Free to All

Bit revolutionary, but something has to be done

Charles Coates/Getty Images

I know, I know - it's never going to happen, but I'm firmly of the belief that the upcoming League Cup tie between Bolton Wanderers and Burton Albion should be free for everyone to attend.

That's free, Mr Chairman - as in 'costs nothing'.

Obviously this will mean the club losing out on some ticket money, but let's face it, this glamour tie was always likely to attract crowds of under 5,000 anyway.

The club have had sparse attendances in home League Cup games recently:

2008-9 - Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Northampton Town (attendance 7,136 - approx. 5,000 home fans)

2009-10 - Bolton Wanderers 3-1 West Ham United (attendance 8,050 - approx. 6,000 home fans)

2011-12 - Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Macclesfield Town (attendance 6,777 - approx. 5,000 home fans)

2014-15 Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Bury (attendance 9,249 - approx. 6,000 home fans)

Indeed it is almost a decade since our last home League Cup game with over 10,000 in attendance - when we faced Manchester City in 2007-08.

So what can be done to overcome such entrenched apathy among supporters?

Well, in my opinion, the game should be free for all to attend.

Starting with the away fans - Burton is around 90 miles south of Bolton. Given that they will be in the midst of a tough season in League One following their promotion as champions of English professional football's lowest tier in 2014/15, they will still likely be well up for a trip to the home of the greatest club in the world.

Imagine all those thirsty and hungry away supporters fresh off the coach, ready to come in and spend their spare cash - cash that they haven't laid out in ticket money. I know that if I had a freebie into the match I'd spend a few quid on drinks and grub because I'd feel like I had something 'up' on the club.

Now imagine that for the home fans too.

Dads would bring lads - lads who could form the next generation of Bolton fans, sinking their hard-earned into the club.

Lads would bring their mates - see above. A decent percentage of these first-timers would perhaps come back and revisit the club in the future.

Half-hearted fans such as myself would make the effort instead of sitting at home and doing nothing. At a tenner a ticket, for example, does anyone really want to watch Bolton play Burton Albion? If you say 'yes' to that then you're either a supermegafan, or you're kidding yourself.

So the ball is sort of passed to Bolton Wanderers - how's about we take this revolutionary step and make the game free for all to attend - you never know, it might generate an atmosphere, put some concession money in the coffers just might inspire the team with a few more thousand fans cheering them on.

Food for thought.