It seems already as though this weekend’s fixture against Sheffield Wednesday will be an indicator of how far both clubs can go this season. Wednesday, many people’s favourites to go up automatically after the heartbreak of a playoff semi-final defeat last year, have started the season well. Tuesday’s loss to Peterborough will be a tough one to take for a side with big expectations. They’ll be hoping to bounce back with a statement victory.
Wanderers have had a similarly impressive start. A gritty draw at Ipswich set the tone, but the walloping of Wycombe already has many fans dreaming of bigger and better this year. With just one goal conceded in the league so far, the White Army can dare to dream. Tuesday’s win over Morecambe was exactly the sort of game where points were dropped last year - an inferior opponent sitting back and daring us to draw a blank. But we ground out a win and three points. Another home win this weekend, and the Bright Side of the Road seems one step closer.
So do it. Dream big. Allow yourself to imagine a future where Bolton Wanderers are back in the ascendancy. Dream - because you lived the nightmare.
Music is one of the few things on this earth that transports you to another time and another place. Van Morrison’s Bright Side of the Road will always remind me of that scorching day at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2001. Farrelly. Ricketts. Gardner. The Premier League once more.
It also reminds me of getting blind drunk in 2017 after another 3-0 win, this time over Peterborough to ensure another promotion to the Championship in 2017. Walking down the middle of the road, belting out every line in the wee hours of the morning. At the end of the day, that’s what football fandom is all about. Those rare, beautiful days where the world is a better place because your team is the best thing that ever happened to it.
But that song is also a reminder to me of what we’ve suffered as a fan base. We’ve walked the Dark End of the Street. Jim White and Sky Sports counting down the minutes to our demise. Failing to fulfill League fixtures as senior players went on strike. Ken Anderson. Keith Hill. League Two. The trapdoor of existence.
Just look at us now. Not only are we still here, we’re thriving. Sharon Brittan. Ian Evatt. A thriving Fanzone before the match. Scintillating football on the pitch. The buzz is back. It’s going to be a hell of a ride - let’s enjoy it while we can.
Wednesday always travel in outstanding numbers. Over 21,000 fans are expected to descend on the UniBol, all of them expecting a barnstormer. It’s time to start dreaming of what this club can be.
Let’s do our bit from the sidelines. Life is pretty shite for almost all of us at the minute. Let Ian Evatt’s team fleetingly help us forget about it all with 90 minutes of League One football.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be listening to Van Morrison once again come the season’s end?