The University of Bolton 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 a while now though, with the Italian sportswear company Macron taking over the naming of the stadium due to their sponsorship deal with the club in 2014 until 2018, when the University of Bolton took over the naming rights on a long term deal which also allowed the club to use the University's state of the art facilities.

That deal came to an end in 2023 though, when recycling firm Tough Sheet took over on a 5 year deal, and while some fans weren't happy, they were told it was toughsheet.

Despite only having been built in 1996 and opened in 1997, The Toughsheet Community 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, and things have not gone well since.


The University of Bolton Stadium Stats
Year Opened1997
Average Attendance18,814
Record Attendance28,353 (Bolton v Leicester (2003))
Pitch Size100 x 66 (6600)
NicknameThe Macron, The Reebok
Former NameThe Reebok Stadium, The Macron Stadium, The University of Bolton Stadium
OwnerBolton Wanderers
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 & Black (Home) / Black & White (Away) / Teale & Black (Third)
Training GroundLostock Training Ground
Shirt SponsorVictorian Plumbing
Team OwnerFootball Ventures (Whites) Ltd
Record GoalscorerNat Lofthouse (285)
Record AppearancesEddie Hopkinson (578)

The University of Bolton Stadium Photos

The University of Bolton Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

As is the case with most stadiums built from the ‘90s onwards The Toughsheet has a bowl style to its arrangement. The ground is still divided into four distinct sections, however, each named after the geographical location of the stand itself with occasional changes because of sponsorship deals. 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 North Stand - The upper section of this very Northern sounding stand houses the club’s family section. The North Stand is found behind the goal.
  • The South Stand (Franking Sense) - The ‘South’ part of this stand's name indicates 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 East Stand - Based on the East side of the ground, this stand runs along the side of the pitch and has numerous executive boxes separating the upper section from the lower. It is named after Bolton's famous forward who played his entire career at the club, as well as netting 30 goals for England in just 33 games.
  • The West Stand - Typically considered to be the main stand 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

Tickets for Bolton Wanderers matches cost different amounts of money depending on where in the ground you'd like to sit, who they are playing, and how old you are. Here are the cheapest and most expensive tickets for each category for adults and concessions:

  • Cat A: £30 - £34 / £25 - £29
  • Cat B: £28 - £32 / £23 - £27
  • Cat C: £26 - £30 / £21 - £25

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 Uni of Bolton 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.

Where to Buy

Getting To The University of Bolton Stadium

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 University of Bolton Stadium

There are five official car parks at The University of Bolton 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, although it's not particularly residential round there.

Useful Resources

The University of Bolton 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 Bridge Hotel - £75+

The Bridge Hotel, 121 Church St, Horwich, Bolton BL6 7BR
Just over a 30 minute walk from The stadium is The Bridge Hotel. It comes with free breakfast and parking, wifi, a restaurant/bar and 24 hour access. It used to be a oub so the interior is great and the food is even better. 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 University of Bolton 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 Horwich Park Inn

1 Arena Approach, Horwich, Bolton BL6 6LB (01204 698 877)
This belongs to the Harvester chain of pubs, so you know what you're going to get here. It may not be all that exciting but it has space for plenty of fans and is within spitting distance of the stadium. No spitting though, please.


As you’d expect from a reasonably newly built ground, The Toughsheet 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.


  • Programme: 3.00
  • Pie: 3.00
  • Cup of tea: 2.20
  • Beer: 3.50


Given that 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, and from personal experience we can tell you that the service and food here is very good. 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 1877 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.
  • Club McGinlay's - The latest addition to the club’s hospitality options, Club McGinlay's is located in The West Stand and offers an informal style, a 3 course meal, 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 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. Plus, with rooms like The Premier Suite as well as numerous executive boxes, there are spaces available at the stadium itself for whatever you might need be it business or personal - they have even hosted professional theatre performances when the local theatre was being refurbished.

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 valid claim, but the stadium 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, although it's not clear whether they are running at the moment, but when they are you’ll pay £8.50 if you’re an adult or £5 if you’re a concession.

At the time of writing Bolton Wanderers do not have a club museum for you to look around, although there is memorabilia scattered around the stadium. 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

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 mainstays of the Premier League, Bolton have spent more seasons in the top-flight than any other side.

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 ground's 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 University of Bolton Stadium History

For seventeen years the ground was known as The Reebok Stadium, so it took a little while to get used to calling it The Macron Stadium for anyone over the age of twenty. Just when they had got used to it they went and changed it again. 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 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 (], 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 the club has been able to stave off the need to wind up by agreeing to sell one of its car parks to a development agency, and also selling a portion of the club to the British Business Bank.

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