This Saturday Bolton Wanderers travel to my beloved home town. They travel to Alder House, to face Atherton’s biggest and best club, Atherton Collieries.
If you recall, they did the same thing last year, too, although that time it was just the receivers that made the short journey down the road. On Saturday July 2nd, Wanderers will take what remains of the first team to Atherton to play, at least, a half of football in what will be new manager Phil Parkinson’s first game in charge of the club.
If seeing the first team up close and personal in a setting that’s far more humanising than a giant stadium, or the prospect of seeing our brand new, highly touted new manager isn’t enough to entice you down to my ends for the game, then I’m here to tell you exactly why you should be heading down there this weekend.
Firstly, the match is cheap as chips, £6 for adults and £4 for u16s/over 60s. Click here for ticket information. You can’t really beat that but, better yet, the money is all going to benefit a great club massively. The funding that Colls got from the match, which was attended by 1,999 people, funded a complete refurbishment of the club house, and this summer further facilities and infrastructure are being improved. This has helped Colls meet the necessary requirements needed to meet ground standards to be promoted should they win the league this season and it just further helps develop a club that is only going in one direction. Upwards. By attending on Saturday you’ll further help that cause.
But you don’t really care about that, do ya? So aye, what actual benefit to you will going to the match on Saturday be? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a bloody cracking day out. If this game goes anything like last year then you’ll have a belting time.
Last year’s game between the two sides was probably my favourite game of the season, mostly because back then we were all so full of hope. The sun was shining, the beer was flowing, the football was entertaining and everybody was having a good time.
Seeing your team play in a ground so unfamiliar, even if it was just the reserves, makes the club feel closer and more connected to the fan base. So when, the then really liked, Neil Lennon turned up to watch, while a whirlwind of speculation in regards to his future was swirling, it was an incredibly galvanising sight for the fans and it did fill everyone up with excitement and hope for the season to come.
This year it won’t be Lennon but new man Parkinson, and he’ll actually be managing the side. I’ve said, and so have they in fairness, since the new owners came into the club that one of their main aims has to be reconnecting the fractured relationship between the fan base and the club. This Saturday doesn’t present a better opportunity for them to do so. With the new manager and the first team already in attendance, hopefully either Holdsworth or Anderson will come down, too, just to be around the fans, to shake hands, have photos and light conversation. It will humanise them greatly and further display the care and pride they have for the club.
This Saturday’s game may just be a pre-season friendly, but it could be the catalyst for finally getting Bolton Wanderers back on the right track. That’s why you should attend.
Plus we’re all getting pissed in the Rope after!