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102 Years of Burnden Park: Part Two

Eddie continues to look at Wanderers' time at Burnden Park

Bolton Wanderers' 1958 FA Cup final team at Burnden

The 25th April 2017 marks twenty years since the last game at Burnden Park, the former home of Bolton Wanderers.

Many Wanderers fans will have begun their love affair with the club watching the likes of Nat Lofthouse, Frank Worthington or John McGinlay grace the Burnden turf.

For 102 years, Bolton Wanderers called Burnden home, so here's a look at the entire history of Burnden; from construction to demolition.

Here's part two.

Harry Goslin and the Wartime Wanderers

In April 1939, with the second world war seemingly inevitable, Bolton Wanderers captain Harry Goslin walked out onto the pitch after 2-1 win against Sunderland. In front of 23,000 people, Goslin gave a rousing speech, stating:

"We are facing a national emergency. But this danger can be met, if everybody keeps a cool head, and knows what to do. This is something you can't leave to the other fellow, everybody has a share to do."

Straight after, Goslin led the entire Wanderers team to sign up at the Territorial Army drill hall.

When English football ground to a halt in September 1939, the team swapped the football field for the battlefield, and for six years, the Wanderers first team found themselves in the midst of World War Two as gunners in the Royal Artillery.

Goslin was credited with destroying four enemy tanks during a Nazi attack of France and this resulted in him being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

Harry Goslin made the occasional appearance for England during the war.

Sadly, Goslin was the only Wanderers player not to return from the war, having been killed in action in Italy. He was hit in the back by shrapnel and wood and mortally wounded. He died 18th December 1943, aged just 34.

You can read the full story of Goslin and the rest of the Wanderers team in the book 'Wartime Wanderers'. There was due to be a film based on the book.

The Burnden Disaster


With attendances for football games limited to 15,000 during the Second World War, it's safe to say that people were excited for a little normality after the war.

It was the 9th March 1946, and there was a hotly anticipated FA Cup Quarter-Final tie against Stanley Matthews and Stoke City.

Parts of Burnden had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Supply and it had not yet been returned to normal use following the war. This meant that overcrowding occurred, with an estimated 85,000 people inside the ground.

When the turnstiles were closed before kick off, fans proceeded to climb in from the railway, climbing over the closed turnstiles and, when a locked gate was opened, entering through it.

As the crowd spilled onto the pitch, two barriers collapsed in the Embankment end and the crowd fell forward, crushing those underneath.

The thirty-three people who had sadly died and the injured were laid out on the pitch as players were ushered back to their dressing room. The severity and the scale of the disaster was not realised at the time and officials, fearing trouble if the game was called off, resumed play.

It was and still is the darkest day in the club's history. It's harrowing to think that thirty-three people went to a football game and never came home.

WILFRED ADDISON Moss Side, Manchester. WILFRED ALLISON (19) Leigh. FRED BATTERSBY (31) Atherton. JAMES BATTERSBY (33) Atherton. ROBERT BENTHAM (33) Atherton. HENRY BIMSON (59) Leigh. HENRY RATCLIFFE BIRTWISTLE (14) Blackburn. JOHN T BLACKSHAW Rochdale. W BRAIDWOOD (40) Hindley. FRED CAMPBELL (33) Bolton. FRED PRICE DEARDEN (67) Bolton. WILLIAM EVANS (33) Leigh. WINSTON FINCH Hazel Grove, Stockport. JOHN FLINDERS (32) Littleborough. ALBERT EDWARD HANRAHAN Winton, Eccles. EMILY HOSKINSON (40) Bolton. WILLIAM HUGHES (56) Poolstock, Wigan. FRANK JUBB Rochdale. JOHN LIVESEY (37) Bamber Bridge, Preston. JOHN THOMAS LUCAS (35) Leigh. HAROLD MCANDREW Wigan. WILLIAM MCKENZIE Bury. MORGAN MOONEY (32) Bolton. HARRY NEEDHAM (30) Bolton. DAVID PEARSON Rochdale. JOSEPH PLATT (43) Bolton. SIDNEY POTTER (36) Tyldesley. GRENVILLE ROBERTS Ashton-in-Makerfield. RICHARD ROBEY (35) Barnoldswick. THOMAS ROBEY (65) Billinge, Wigan. T SMITH (65) Rochdale. WALTER WILMOT (31) Bolton. JAMES WILSON Higher Openshaw, Manchester

The Lion of Vienna

With the war over, the legendary Nat Lofthouse was finally able to start his career officially. Lofthouse had made his Wanderers debut back in 1941 aged 15, scoring twice in a 5-1 win against Bury.

In 1943, Lofthouse became a bevin boy and worked as a miner in a local colliery.

Five years after making his debut and now aged 21, Lofthouse made his league debut in August 1946, scoring twice as Wanderers lost 4-3 at Chelsea. Lofty went on to score eighteen goals in forty games that season.

For the next fifteen years, Lofthouse was one of the greatest players in the English game. Mr Bolton Wanderers, Lofthouse would go on to lead the line for England as well as Wanderers, proving his worth on the international stage.

In 1953, despite losing the 'Stanley Matthews' FA Cup final 4-3 against Blackpool, Nat Lofthouse was named the Footballer of the Year.

Lofthouse's defining moment in a White shirt was without doubt the 1958 FA Cup final, where he scored both goals to give Wanderers a 2-0 win against Manchester United at Wembley. Wanderers' squad that day also featured fellow club legends Roy Hartle, Tommy Banks and Eddie Hopkinson, among many others.

Along the way, Wanderers faced then top of the table Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Quarter-Finals at Burnden Park. Here's the highlights from that game.

In 1960, Nat Lofthouse was forced to retire, having scored 285 goals in 503 games for Bolton. The Lion of Vienna went on to have spells as manager and chief scout of Wanderers before being named club president in 1986.

LOV founders Mark Yesilevskiy & Matilda Hankinson wrote a fantastic tribute to Sir Nat a few years back. You can read it by clicking here.

L.S Lowry's 'Going to the Match'

In 1953, Burnden Park became the subject of famous artist L.S Lowry's painting 'Going to the Match'. The painting depicted a busy match day at Burnden, with fans going to the match. In 1999, the painting was sold to the PFA for £1.9 million.

Light up, Light up

In 1957, Burnden Park entered a new era when floodlights were erected at the ground. Costing £25,000, Robert Watson & Co designed and built the floodlight towers, with work completed in August 1957.

The first time Burnden Park would play host to a game under the lights came on Monday 14th October 1957, when Scottish side Hearts were the visitors.

After the official switch on by the then Wanderers chairman Harry Warburton, a crowd of 21,058 saw Bolton and Hearts play out a 1-1 draw.

Wanderers' first win at Burnden under the lights came three weeks later, when nearly 35,000 people saw Bolton beat Russian Army side CDSA Moscow 3-1. Nat Lofthouse, Ray Parry and Ralph Gubbins got the goals for Bolton.