University of Bolton Stadium

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University of Bolton Stadium
Reebok Stadium, South west side - - 1221260.jpg
Exterior view of the stadium, March 2009
University of Bolton Stadium
Full nameUniversity of Bolton Stadium
Former namesMacron Stadium (2014–18)
Reebok Stadium (1997–2014)
LocationBurnden Way
England [1]
Coordinates 53°34′50″N2°32′8″W / 53.58056°N 2.53556°W / 53.58056; -2.53556 Coordinates: 53°34′50″N2°32′8″W / 53.58056°N 2.53556°W / 53.58056; -2.53556
Public transit National Rail logo.svg Horwich Parkway
Owner Bolton Wanderers
Operator Bolton Wanderers (1997–present)
Capacity 28,723 (sports) [2]
40,000 (concerts)
Record attendance28,353
Field size110 x 72 yards (100.6 x 65.8 metres)
Surface Desso GrassMaster [3]
Opened1997;24 years ago (1997)
Construction cost£25m
Architect Populous [4]
Bolton Wanderers (1997–present)

The University of Bolton Stadium, more commonly known by it's former name the Reebok Stadium, is the home ground of Bolton Wanderers F.C. in Horwich, Greater Manchester, England.


Opening in 1997, it was named the Reebok Stadium, after club sponsors Reebok. In 2014, Bolton Wanderers signed a naming rights deal with Italian sportswear company Macron. [5] It was renamed the University of Bolton Stadium in 2018. [6]

A hotel forms part of the stadium and some of the rooms offer views of the pitch.


University of Bolton Stadium is an all-seater stadium with a capacity of almost 29,000 and was completed in 1997, replacing the club's old ground, Burnden Park.

Burnden Park, which at its peak had held up to 60,000 spectators, was becoming increasingly dilapidated by the 1980s, and a section of terracing was sold off for redevelopment as a supermarket to help pay off the club's rising debts. Bolton Wanderers had dropped into the Third Division in 1983 and later spent a season in the Fourth Division. In January 1990, the Taylor Report required all clubs in the first and second tiers of the English league to have an all-seater stadium by the 1994-95 season. Bolton were still in the Third Division at this stage, but were aiming for promotion - which was finally achieved in 1993. By this stage, the club's owners had decided to relocate to a new all-seater stadium away from Burnden Park, and by 1995 had identified a location at Horwich as the preferred site of a new stadium.

View at night in February 2005 ReebokStadium.jpg
View at night in February 2005

The lead consultant/architect of the project was Lobb Sports, while local firm Bradshaw Gass & Hope acted as planning supervisors and quantity surveyors, the contractor was Birse Construction, and Deakin Callard & Partners provided structural engineering services. The value of the contract was £25 million (US$42.1 million). [7] The stadium is noted for its distinct gabled architecture, first pioneered by the John Smith's Stadium.

The stadium was opened in 1997 by John Prescott, a Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time. [8]

The stadium consists of four stands: The Carrs Pasties (North) Stand at one end; the South Stand (Franking Sense and also the away end) at the other end; the West Stand at one side of the pitch; and the Nat Lofthouse (east) Stand at the other side.

When the stadium was named after long-time team sponsor Reebok in 1997, fans considered the title impersonal and believed that too much emphasis was being placed on financial considerations. This opposition considerably lessened after the stadium was built, as fans grew accustomed to the name and were bolstered by Reebok's status as a local company. [9]

The Macron title was applied in July 2014 after the Bolton Wanderers club finalised a partnership with the large Italian sportswear brand. In April 2014, long-serving club chairman Phil Gartside stated that he was "proud" to be associated with Macron and had "been very impressed with their [Macron's] passion for football". A four-year duration was negotiated for the Macron deal and the club had the option to extend at completion. [10]

When the deal with Macron came to an end in August 2018 the stadium was again renamed, this time as the University of Bolton Stadium. [11]

Footballing firsts

Interior view prior to a Bolton v Arsenal match, February 2007 Reebokstadium inside.jpg
Interior view prior to a Bolton v Arsenal match, February 2007

Other events

Field and grandstands view, August 2005 Reebokstadium01.JPG
Field and grandstands view, August 2005

The stadium has hosted concerts by Oasis, [17] Pink, Elton John, Coldplay, The Killers, Little Mix and Rod Stewart. [18]

The stadium also hosted the UK Open Darts Championship, boxing matches with local boxer Amir Khan and in 2011 Premiership rugby union, when Sale Sharks lost to London Irish. It will also host group matches and the quarter-final of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

The venue's Premier Suite is home to the UK's leading amateur mixed martial arts event, Full Contact Contender. [19] [20]

In August 2019, the stadium hosted a campaign rally by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. [21]

In March and April 2021 the stadium held Crown Court cases due to the large amount that had built up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic whilst the actual Courts were closed. [22] In the same year it was a venue for COVID-19 vaccinations. [23]

Rugby League

The stadium has also hosted seven rugby league matches. [24]

Rugby League Test Matches

17 November 1998Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 36–1627,486 1998 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
118 November 2000Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand def. Flag of England.svg  England 49–616,032 2000 Rugby League World Cup semi-final
317 November 2001Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 40–1222,152 2001 Ashes series
430 October 2021Flag of England.svg  England v Flag of France.svg  France 2021 Rugby League World Cup Group A

World Club Challenge

126 January 2001 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens def. Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 20–1816,041 2001 World Club Challenge
214 February 2003 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney Roosters def. Saintscolours.svg St. Helens 38–019,807 2003 World Club Challenge
323 February 2007 Saintscolours.svg St. Helens def. Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos 18–1423,207 2007 World Club Challenge

Challenge Cup

In 2018, the stadium hosted the first ever double-header semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, repeated in 2019. [25]

Bolton Wanderers Free School

In 2014, the club established Bolton Wanderers Free School at the stadium. It was a sixth form centre offering sports and related courses for 16- to 19-year-olds, and utilised the facilities of the stadium for most of its teaching and learning. However, this closed in 2017 due to low pupil numbers which made it 'not financially viable'. [26]


Record attendances

Record attendance: 28,353 v Leicester City, 28 December 2003 (FA Premier League)

Lowest attendance for a competitive match: 1,540 v Everton U23s, 30 August 2016 Football League Trophy, Northern Group Stage, Game One

Lowest Premier League attendance: 17,014 v Derby County, 2 January 2008

Record UEFA Cup attendance: 26,163 v Atlético Madrid, 14 February 2008 Last 32 1st leg

Record FA Cup attendance: 23,523 v Arsenal, 12 March 2005 quarter finals

Record League Cup Attendance: 18,037 v Tottenham Hotspur, 27 October 2004, Third round

Average attendances

SeasonDivisionLeague Average [27] [28] [29] European AverageFA Cup AverageLeague Cup AverageEFL Trophy Average
2000–01 First Division 14,96014,9824,957
2001–02 Premier League 25,0987,015
2012–13 Championship 18,03415,482 [30]
2013–1416,14111,965 [31]
2016–17 League One 15,1948,4531,565
2019–20League One12,0286,9925,839
2020–21 [lower-alpha 1] League Two N/AN/AN/AN/A
  1. All matches played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nat Lofthouse statue

Lofthouse's statue outside the stadium Nat Lofthouse statue.jpg
Lofthouse's statue outside the stadium

Bolton Wanderers unveiled a bronze statue of their most famous player, Nat Lofthouse, prior to a game against Queens Park Rangers on 24 August 2013. The statue, which cost £100,000 due to the generosity of public donations and sponsors, is situated near to the south-west corner of the stadium and was officially revealed by club owner Eddie Davies in a special ceremony.

Club chaplain Phil Mason, chairman Phil Gartside and the son of Nat Lofthouse – Jeff Lofthouse, also took part in the ceremony as did sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn. Hedges-Quinn had taken 18 months overall to complete the project having worked successfully on the statues such as that of Bob Stokoe at The Stadium of Light, Ted Bates at St Mary's Stadium and Sir Bobby Robson and Alf Ramsey at Portman Road. [32]


The stadium's West Stand lies about 200 metres from Horwich Parkway railway station. The station lies between Lostock and Blackrod on the Manchester to Preston Line. Football specials operate to and from this station on matchdays. Bus services are laid on by the club from across the borough when the Wanderers are at home. [33]

On non-matchdays Horwich Parkway is served by three services an hour in each direction, operated by Northern or TransPennine Express. Numerous routes serve bus stops near or at the ground, operated by Arriva North West and First Greater Manchester. [34]

Related Research Articles

Bolton Wanderers F.C. Association football club in England

Bolton Wanderers Football Club is a professional football club based in Horwich, Bolton, England, which competes in League Two, the fourth tier of English football.

Nat Lofthouse English footballer

Nathaniel Lofthouse was an English professional footballer who played as a forward for Bolton Wanderers for his entire career. He won 33 caps for England between 1950 and 1958, scoring 30 goals, with one of the highest goals-per-game ratios of any England player.

Burnden Park

Burnden Park was the home of English football club Bolton Wanderers who played home games there between 1895 and 1997. As well as hosting the 1901 FA Cup Final replay, it was the scene in 1946 of one of the greatest disasters in English football, and the subject of an L. S. Lowry painting. It was demolished in 1999, two years after Bolton moved to their new home at the Reebok Stadium.

The 2003–04 Football League Cup was the 44th staging of the Football League Cup, a knockout competition for England's top 92 football clubs. The competition name reflects a sponsorship deal with lager brand Carling.

Jay Spearing English footballer

Jay Francis Spearing is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for League Two club Tranmere Rovers.

Macron S.p.A. is an Italian sporting apparel company, based in Crespellano, Bologna. It is considered a European leader in the production of active sportswear.

The 2010–11 season was Bolton Wanderers's twelfth season in the Premier League, and their tenth consecutive season in the top-flight of English football. It was the second season with shirt sponsors 188BET.

The 2011–12 season was Bolton Wanderers's thirteenth season in the Premier League, and their eleventh consecutive season in the top-flight of English football. It is their third season with shirt sponsors 188BET.

The history of Bolton Wanderers Football Club covers the period from its founding in 1874 up to the present. For a general overview of the club itself, see Bolton Wanderers F.C.

The 2013–14 season was Bolton Wanderers' second consecutive season in the Football League Championship following their relegation from the Premier League in 2012.

The 2014–15 season was Bolton Wanderers's third consecutive season in the Football League Championship following their relegation from the Premier League in 2012.

Bolton Wanderers Free School was a free school sixth form located in the area of Lostock of Bolton, in the English County of Greater Manchester. The sixth form was established by Bolton Wanderers Football Club through the Eddie Davies Education Trust. The sixth form was located in the University of Bolton Stadium; the home stadium of the club. Emile Heskey visited the school in May 2015.

Zach Paul John Clough is an English professional footballer who last played for Wigan Athletic as an attacking midfielder.

Quade Gerald Taylor is an English footballer who plays for Dulwich Hamlet as a defender.

Dennis Politic Romanian footballer

Dennis-Dorian Politic is a Romanian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for League Two club Bolton Wanderers.

George Andrew Thomason is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for EFL League Two side Bolton Wanderers.


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  23. Pharmacy to lead mass vaccination site at stadium Pharmacy to lead mass vaccination site at stadium"
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  34. [ dead link ]