The Macron Stadium: Bolton Wanderers

Burnden Way, Bolton, Greater Manchester, BL6 6JW, England
Alexander P Kapp [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

To most people of a certain age Bolton Wanderer’s home ground will always and forever be The Reebok Stadium. That hasn’t been the case for the past couple of years, however, with the Italian sportswear company Macron taking over the naming of the stadium due to their sponsorship deal with the club in 2014. The initial deal was for four years and so Bolton’s ground will be known as The Macron Stadium until at least 2018.

Despite only having been built in 1996 and opened in 1997, The Macron Stadium has a fair bit of history associated with it. The club’s inaugural season at their then new home saw them relegated to the second-tier of English football, spending the following three seasons out of the top-flight. They then returned to the Premier League in 2001 and remained there until their relegation back to the Championship in 2012.

Stats

The Macron Stadium Stats
Year Opened1997
Capacity28,723
Average Attendance11,965
Record Attendance28,353 (Bolton v Leicester (2003))
Pitch Size100 x 66 (6600)
NicknameThe Macron
Former NameThe Reebok Stadium
OwnerBolton Wanderers
SponsorMacron
Clubs HostedBolton Wanderers
First FixtureBolton v Everton (01/09/1997)
Bolton Wanderers Stats
Year Founded1874
NicknameThe Trotters, The Wanderers
Club MascotLofty the Lion
RivalsBury, Blackburn, Wigan, Tranmere, Burnley, Man City, Wolves
Previous StadiumsPike's Lane, Burnden Park
KitWhite (Home) / Black (Away) / Black & Blue Stripes (Third)
Training GroundEuxton Training Ground
Shirt SponsorRok Mobile
Team OwnerEdwin Davies
Record GoalscorerNat Lofthouse (285)
Record AppearancesEddie Hopkinson (578)

The Macron Stadium Photos

The Macron Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By en:user:TuborgLight (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As is the case with most stadiums built from the ‘90s onwards The Macron has a bowl style to its arrangement. The ground is still divided into four distinct sections, however, with one of them imaginatively named after the geographical location of the stand itself. Each part of the ground has two tiers, with the lower tier one continuous bowl and the upper tier a separate section all of its own. Here’s a bit of info on each:

  • The Bolton At Home Family Stand - The upper section of this stand houses the club’s family section. The North Stand is found behind the goal.
  • The Nationwide Franking Sense South Stand - The ridiculous name of this stand is due to sponsorship, with the ‘South’ part of it indicating that it’s at the opposite goal-end to The North Stand. This stand normally houses the away supporters and has a capacity of 6000.
  • The Nat Lofthouse Stand - Named after one of Bolton’s most famous sons and the highest scoring player in the club history, The Nat Lofthouse Stand runs along the side of the pitch and has numerous executive boxes separating the upper section from the lower.
  • The West Stand - Typically considered to be the main stand at The Macron owing to the fact that it houses the club’s facilities like the changing rooms and the dug-outs, this stand also contains the Director’s Box and executive boxes.

Bolton Wanderers Ticket Prices

Bolton’s ticketing scheme is reasonably easy to understand. The initially break their prices down into sections of the ground before then splitting them into further categories depending on the level of opposition that are playing at the stadium. Within those categories, of Grades as the club calls them, you’ll then pay a different amount of money depending on whether you are an adult, under-18 or over-65/under 23. You can also buy combination tickets for adults and under-18s, so keep an eye out for them if you are going with a youngster.

Here are the lowest and most expensive ticket prices for adults and concessions within each Grade. The cheaper tickets tend to be in the North Stand and the most expensive ones are in the East & West Stands in the Upper Centre section.

  • Grade A: £28 - £35 / £22 - £25
  • Grade B: £25 - £32 / £18 - £22
  • Grade C: £23 - £29 / £16 - £19
  • Grade D: £15 / £5

How To Get Bolton Wanderers Tickets

Nowadays buying tickets online is always the most preferable method, with the club’s online ticket portal operating 24 hours a day. You can buy tickets in person from Bolton Central, the club’s official shop that is located at The Macron Stadium itself. If you prefer the old school methods of picking up tickets then you might want to consider giving the club a call directly. You can also buy tickets by sending them a fax or even, if you’re really old school, a letter.

Getting To The Macron Stadium

Swap Start/End

Bolton is just to the West of Manchester, so it’s reasonably easy to reach by road or public transport. The stadium itself, however, is about a fifteen minute drive away from the city.

Train - The nearest train station to The Macron Stadium is Horwich Parkway Station. It’s around 200 metres from the ground, so it’s easy enough to figure out where you’re going when you get off the train. It’s on a line that is reachable from the likes of Blackpool, Preston, Manchester and Bolton itself.

Bus - Bolton operate thirteen different buses from surrounding areas to the ground on match days. If bus is your preferred method of travel, therefore, you won’t struggle for options.

Car - From the North take the M6 and leave at Junction 30 onto the M61 then leave it at Junction 6 and follow the signs. From the South leave the M6 at Junction 21a and take the M62 until Junction 12 when you’ll get onto the M61. Leave that at Junction 6 and get onto the A6027, following the signs to the ground.

By Air - Manchester Airport is the closest airport to Bolton, which is fine because it serves most major cities in the world. There’s a direct train from Manchester Airport to Horwich Parkway Station.

Taxi - If you jump a cab from the centre of Bolton to The Macron Stadium it will take about 15 minutes and cost around £20. Unsurprisingly you’ll pay more if it takes longer. That’s sort of how taxis tend to work.

Parking Near The Macron Stadium

There are five official car parks at The Macron Stadium, so there are a few places you’ll be able to park if you’re willing to pay. You might be able to find some on-street parking but do keep your eye out for parking restrictions in the area.

Useful Resources

The Macron Stadium Hotels

You can, of course, stay in Manchester if you don’t want to stay in Bolton, but you’ll have a longer journey on your hands if you do. Here are some of our preferred hotel options in Bolton itself:

The Bel Air Hotel - £50+

236 Wigan Lane, Wigan, WN1 2NU
About four miles from The Macron Stadium is The Bel Air Hotel. Located above a restaurant and bar, you’ll have plenty of food and drink options! There’s free parking here as well as free Wi-Fi. More details.

Mercure Bolton Georgian House Hotel - £70+

Manchester Road, Blackrod, Bolton, BL6 5RU
Just a mile from the ground is this delightful Georgian hotel with a restaurant, a bar, a full-service spa including an indoor pool and a health club. There are also ten meeting rooms and a garden. More details.

Shaw Hill Golf Resort & Spa Hotel - £100+

Preston Road, Whittle-le-Woods, Chorley, PR6 7PP
A little further afield at about eight miles from the stadium, Shaw Hill Golf Resort & Spa Hotel does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s a golf course attached, a restaurant and bar, a full-service spa with an indoor pool and a health club as well as a conference centre and a garden. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near The Macron Stadium

Bolton is a typical North-West city with loads of personality and more than a couple of places to have a good drink before the game. If you want to have a pre-match pint nearer to the stadium then you’ll be able to but it’s a little more hit and miss as a lot of the places tend to be generic. Here are some of our choices:

The Spinning Mule

Nelson Square, Bolton, BL1 1JT (01204 533339)
The Spinning Mule is a JD Wetherspoon pub, so you know what you’re getting. Cheap food, budget drinks and TV screens with sport on them. It’s located right near Bolton train station, so it’s easy enough to get to the ground afterwards.

Bee Hive

991 Chorley New Rd, Bolton, BL6 4BA (01204 692104)
The Bee Hive is another chain pub, this one operated by Fayre & Square. Much like with The Spinning Mule you’ll enjoy budget booze and tasty food as well as numerous televisions on which you might be able to enjoy some sport.

The Barnstormers

Lostock Lane, Lostock, Bolton, BL6 4BL (01204 695060)
The Barnstormers is an away friendly pub located close to the ground. They show loads of sport, serve food and offer some nice ales, so it’s a cracking place to go for a quick drink and bite to eat before you go to see the game.

Facilities

As you’d expect from a reasonably newly built stand, The Macron Stadium has reasonably good views from every seat in the house. Behind-the-scenes the concourses are probably best described as ‘functional’. There are good places to get something to eat and drink before and during the match, though, so you’ll almost certainly be able to get everything you might want.

Prices

  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 2.90
  • Cup of tea: 2.00
  • Beer: 3.50

Hospitality

Alexander P Kapp [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Given the club considers its ground to be one of the finest stadiums in Europe, it’s no surprise to see that there are a number of hospitality options. There are a number of hospitality lounges that you can take advantage of if you’re so inclined. Here are a couple of them:

  • The Platinum Suite - Here you’ll enjoy a four-course meal before the game, cushioned seating on the halfway line, half-time and full-time refreshments and access to a pay bar.
  • The Wanderers Suite - The latest addition to the club’s hospitality options, The Wanderers Suite is located in The West Stand and offers an informal style, a sharing platter and dish of the day served at half-time, cushioned seating, on the halfway line and waitress services.
  • The Lion of Vienna Suite - Here you’ll get a pre-match buffet to enjoy on unreserved tables, half-time refreshments, entertainment provided by a club host and special guests, access to a pay bar and cushioned seating in The Nat Lofthouse Stand.

Private Hire

Bolton Wanderers have their own hotel attached to The Macron Stadium, so there are plenty of private hire options there alone. The Bolton Whites Hotel can cater for gala dinners, exhibitions, corporate events or even boxing matches. With rooms like The Premier Suite as well as numerous executive boxes, there are spaces available for whatever you might need.

Stadium Tours & Museum

The club’s official declaration about the tour is that it allows you to go behind-the-scenes at one of the finest stadiums in Europe. We’re not quite sure that’s a true claim, but The Macron is impressive nevertheless. Your tour will take you into both dressing rooms, the changing rooms of the match officials, down the tunnel to pitch side and you’ll also get to sit in the manager’s seat in the dugout.

You need to make sure you pre-book your tour and they run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am and at 1pm on a Sunday. You’ll pay £7.50 if you’re an adult or £4 if you’re a concession.

At the time of writing Bolton Wanderers do not have a club museum for you to look around. The club’s megastore, located at the ground, is pretty good, however, so you might want to swap looking at trophies for looking at replica shirts and stuff. Just a thought.

About Bolton Wanderers

Alexander P Kapp [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bolton Wanderers started life in 1874 with the name Christ Church Football Club, adopting its current name in 1877. They were one of the founding members of the Football League when it was formed in 1888. A somewhat unwanted claim to fame of the club’s is that they have spent more seasons in the top-flight without winning a title than any other team. That might be because outside of the current Premier League teams Bolton are the club that have spent more seasons in the top-flight than any other.

The closest Bolton came in their history to winning the First Division were third placed finishes in 1891-1892, 1920-1921 and 1924-1925. They have won the Second Division numerous times, most recently in the 1996-1997 season when they returned to The Reebok Stadium, as it was known then, with the trophy in the grounds inaugural season. They have won the FA Cup four times and the Charity Shield once. They have also been runners up in the League Cup twice, mostly recently in 2004.

The Macron Stadium History

For seventeen years the ground was known as The Reebok Stadium, so it might take a little while to get used to calling it The Macron Stadium for anyone over the age of twenty. It was built to replace the club’s previous ground, Burnden Park, when it was decided that it would cost too much money to develop the ground to make it suitable for Premier League use.

As well as hosting Bolton Wanderers’ home games The Macron Stadium has also been used for England Under-21 international matches. It has also been used as the location for music concerts for artists such as Elton John, Coldplay and Oasis. Interestingly, footage from the Coldplay concert was used in the video for the band’s single ‘Fix You’.

Back in 2014 the club established a sixth form centre called ‘Bolton Wanderers Free School. It offers sports related courses to students aged 16-19 and uses the facilities located in the ground for the teaching and learning methods.

Future Developments

View from the cairn on Crooked Edge Hill - Gary Rogers [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The club has been going through some financial difficulties in recent times, including the issuing of winding up orders by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs because of unpaid tax bills. That means that further developments are unlikely, however they have been able to stave off the need to wind up by agreeing to sell one of the club’s car parks to a development agency.

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