As I sat at home last Tuesday night, (20/08/2019) scrolling through Twitter, I should have been watching my beloved Bolton taking on Doncaster Rovers in their 2nd home game of the season.
As if missing out on a chance to go to the match wasn’t bad enough there were news outlets reporting all sorts of negative stories on Wanderers. Will the deal go through? Wont it? Should they have called the game off? Shouldn’t they? The bad news just keeps on coming at the moment when you’re a Bolton fan.
It’s relentless or that’s how it feels.
Then news came through that a certain man with a mega phone was outside the stadium to address the fans.
This was something I wanted no part of.
I did however see the pictures of him stood alongside the statue of our hero Nat Lofthouse and my heart sank.
That statue is a monument to the great man and a symbol of what he means and represents to the fans and the club.
It got me thinking.
Nat guided the club through its darkest days up until now. Famously pleading with fans in the late 70’s to help with club finances by setting up the Lifeline Society which still runs to this day.
To my family he meant so much. He was my Grandpa’s favourite player, an icon to my Dad who heard stories of Nat playing from his Dad and watched him in a number of roles at BWFC over the years.
I too have my special memory of Nat.
I was 10 years old and doing a school project on BWFC.
I wrote to the club simply see if they could send me any information that would help me with the project.
Rather quickly, through the post I received an information pack with a brief history of the club and a photocopied sheet of the signatures of all the players that season(94/95). We had a decent team that year you’ll remember. Just a shame the signatures were all photocopies.
On the 4th Dec 1994 I received another letter, not from the club but from Nat himself asking if I would like to come down to Burnden Park and interview him for my school project!!
I still have the letter to this day, safely stored away with programs and ticket stubs from seasons past.
My Dad and I went down to Burnden on the 20th Dec that year, sat and had a cup of tea and a chat with Bolton’s all-time great.
He even signed my Grandpa’s 1958 FA Cup Final program for him.
What a fantastic thing to do for a young fan.
There was no way he had to take the time out to be interviewed by a 10 year old boy doing a school project but he did and I have no doubt he did this for one reason and one reason only, to try and pass that love and passion on down to the next generation. Well Nat, you succeeded in this case.
I wont go into details on the interview. Suffice to say the questions were hardly ‘Paxmanesque’.
This to me is a truly wonderful memory to treasure.
I’m sure we’ve all got our favourite memories of BWFC, great matches, meeting players, making friends on the terraces.
I’m sure that more great memories are to come but it might be worth thinking about some of the old ones the next time the name of Bolton Wanderers is being dragged through the mud again.
We’re a special club for so many reasons but what makes this club better is what we can achieve when we’re all in it together.
We’re a community, a family, we’re…. Bolton Wanderers.