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🔎 The Opposition: Bolton Wanderers (A)

Take an in-depth look at Saturday's opponents

28 April 2021

Club News

🔎 The Opposition: Bolton Wanderers (A)

Take an in-depth look at Saturday's opponents

28 April 2021

On Saturday, the Grecians make their first visit to Bolton Wanderers since 1993, looking for three vital points in the play-off race, whilst Bolton will be looking to confirm promotion.

Here’s a background of the Greater Manchester side.

  • Founded: 1874
  • Nicknames: The Trotters
  • Honours: First Division (1996/97), Division 2 (1908/09, 1977/78), Division 3 (1972/72), FA Cup (4x winners)
  • Home Kit: MACRON white shirt and dark blue sleeves and red trim, dark blue shorts, and white socks.
  • Away Kit: MACRON Red and black stripes, black shorts, and socks
  • Form: WWLWW (3rd in League Two)

In 1874 boys of the local church Sunday School on Blackburn Street, led by Thomas Ogden established a football club as Christ Church F.C. Within three years, Bolton Wanderers broke away and turned professional in 1880.

The large town of Bolton was one of the most productive cotton mill towns in the World around the time of the football club’s establishment. Just ten miles outside Manchester, Bolton’s largest draw of people comes from it’s sport and culture and was the birthplace of many great names. Film Director Danny Boyle, Fred Dibnah, Amir Khan and Jenny Ryan from The Chase all find their roots traced back to the town.

The clubs unusual nickname as a few disputed derivations. ‘The Trotter’s’ is usually referred to as another name for Wanderers, but some note that Bolton’s old home ground at Pikes Lane (1881-95) resided next to a pig farm.

The four times FA Cup winners claimed their first cup title in 1923 in the first final hosted at Wembley Stadium. The 2-0 win over West Ham was famous for its chaos, when an estimated 300,000 spectators crammed into the Empire Stadium. The moment of madness is captured by the iconic photo of the White Police Horse, still today commemorated by White Horse Bridge at the new Wembley.

One of the so-called sleeping giants in League Two, Bolton yo-yoed between the Top and Second Divisions for much of the 20th Century. Only dropping as low as the fourth tier for a year in the late 80’s. By 2001, Bolton were back at full strength.

Under Sam Allardyce, the Trotter’s were promoted back into the Premier League in 2001. In 2005, Allardyce took his hometown club into the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history. Since 2012, Wanderers have been on the slide down the football pyramid, culminating in their relegation to League Two last season.

This season, Bolton have been in inspired form in the second half of the campaign and have climed to third in the league, and are just a point away from promotion back to League One at the first time of asking.

The Manager

Ian Evatt

Evatt was poached by the Trotter’s in the 2020 pre-season after guiding Barrow back into the Football League. The 39-year-old began his playing career at Derby in 1999.


After spells at QPR and Blackpool amongst others, Evatt moved into coaching in 2018 with Chesterfield as caretaker boss, before his switch to Barrow. In November, Evatt was named League Two Manager of the Month.

The Stadium

  • Name: University of Bolton Stadium
  • Capacity: 28,723
  • Year opened:
  • Record Attendance: 28,353 (vs Leicester City, Premier League, 23rd December 2003), 69,912 (vs Manchester City, FA Cup 5th Round 1933, Burnden Park)
  • Address: Burnden Way, Lostock, Bolton, BL6 6JW


Opened in 1997 to replace the aging Burnden Park, the new 29,000-seater structure is a multi-purpose stadium just outside the town.

Many major musicians have graced the stage in Horwich. Elton John, Rod Stewart and Oasis are among those who have mic’d up at the ground. 

Just off the M61, the eye-catching modern architecture has hosted some of the best in Bolton’s recent history, such as Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicholas Anelka and of course, the late-great Gary Speed.

In 2018, the University of Bolton gained sponsorship rights and will be home to City’s last away game of the season. 

One To Watch

Eoin Doyle

Last season’s League Two top scorer was Ian Evatt’s first signing in the summer. The 33-year-old has kept his goalscoring form up, notching 18 league goals for the Trotters so far this season.

Eoin Doyle.JPG

The 32-year-old has netted three in four games against City including in both fixtures last season for the Robins on his way to the League Two Player of The Year.


This will be the first meeting at Bolton since 1993 where the Grecians suffered a 4-1 defeat.

It’s not completely grim reading for City with a few notched wins. Thirty-one goals have been scored in 11 fixtures since the League Cup fixture in 1978.

  • Exeter City wins: 3
  • Draws: 4
  • Bolton Wanderers wins: 5

Recent encounters

Exeter City 1 Bolton Wanderers 1 | League Two | January 12, 2021

Exeter City were held to a 1-1 draw against Bolton Wanderers under the lights at SJP, following a goal apiece in the second half. Ricardo Alemeida Santos' own goal gifted City a lead midway through the second period, but they were pegged back by substitute Arthur Ghanoua just over ten minutes later.

Bolton Wanderers 4-1 Exeter City | Division 2, Burnden Park | March 20, 1993

Exeter City and Bolton Wanderers were heading in different directions when they last met in March 1993. Bolton were battling for promotion at the top end of the Second Division and managed to pip Port Vale and West Bromwich Albion to the second automatic promotion spot under the guidance of Bruce Rioch. The 4-1 win against Exeter, was part of a run of 15 wins from their final 18 matches that season as they stormed their way from a mid-table position to second.

The Grecians, on the other hand, recorded a memorable double over Plymouth Argyle that season but that was about as good as it got. Under the management of Alan Ball, we finished 19th and suffered second round exits in both the League and FA Cups. Steve Moran scored the only goal for us against

And Finally...

Winner of three FA Cups in his time at Bolton, Topsham born Dick Pym was capped three times for England. After 203 appearances for Exeter City Pym moved from St James’, to Burnden Park in 1921 in a then club record fee of £5,00.

How to Watch

Whilst we would love you to be there, showing your passionate support for the Grecians, you can get the next best thing by purchasing a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes the live club commentary, score overlay and replays.

To purchase a match pass please click here.

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