Club: Bolton Wanderers | Opening: 1895 | Closing: 1997 | Final capacity: 25,000 | Maximum capacity: 70,000
Burnden Park was for over a hundred years the home of Bolton Wanderers FC. It was also the site of one of the worst stadium disasters in the history of English football.
In its first decades of existence Bolton Wanderers played at a ground at Pike Lane, however by the early 1890s they were in urgent need of a purpose-built ground.
Construction of Burnden Park was financed with a share issue that turned Bolton into a limited company. The stadium opened in August 1895 with a friendly match between Bolton and Preston.
The stadium got gradually expanded in the following decades and by the 1930s a total of 70,000 fans could pack into the stadium. The official record attendance was set in 1933 when 69,912 fans visited a match between Bolton and Manchester City.
However, it is estimated that a total of 85,000 people came to see Sir Stanley Matthews play in 1946 during a 6th round FA Cup match against Stoke. The huge Embankment terrace was far over capacity and when the crowd pressed forward two metal crush barriers broke. The resulting crush killed 33 fans and injured another 400.
By the 1980s Burnden Park was in steady decline with low attendances and a heavily reduced capacity, and in 1986 part of the Railway Stand was sold off to make way for a supermarket.
In the early 1990s plans were made for the conversion of the stadium into an all-seater, however in the end was decided to build a new stadium.
The last match at Burnden Park was played in April 1997 and involved a league match between Bolton and Charlton Athletic. At that time the stadium could hold about 25,000 fans.
A few months later the club moved into the Reebok Stadium and two years later Burnden Park got demolished to make place for a supermarket.
I attended my first Wanderers game at Burnden on the evening of 30 August 1961. It was a 4-3 win against an excellent Sheffield Wednesday team comprising Springett, Swan, Kay and Lane, all England players. As a 6 year old I found the famous Burnden roar deafening and frightening. The atmosphere was always good. I also remember attending two semi-finals there – Everton v. Man. Utd in 1966 and Leeds v. Man. Utd in 1972. It was always a bogey ground for United.
I visited Burnden Park three times between 1971 & 1984 to watch my club, Sheffield United. It was a “bogy” ground for the Blades although I did witness our only win there in living memory, 2-1 in 1977 which probably cost The Trotters promotion. Although a lttle primitive, the ground had a good atmosphere thanks to the partisan home crowd. The embankment surrounding the pitch made it difficult to take corners and long throw ins! Burnden Park’s demise was another nail in the coffin of the traditional football ground where you could stand up and bay for blood!
I first visited Burnden Park Monday the 30th March 1970. I am an avid Everton Supporter and at the time I was living in Pembrokeshire West Wales. My Grand Parents lived in Bolton, so when we visited them at Easter 1970 I went to see Everton Play Chelsea at Goodison Park with my Dad and Granddad on Saturday the 28th March 1970. It was a total lockout and we could not get into the ground, Everton won 5-2, utterly dissapointed and not seeing the game, my Granddad took me and my Dad to see Bolton play Blckburn Rovers an evening match on Monday the 30th March. We were behind one of the goals and Bolton won 1-0.
I have many happy memories of watching Wanderers play from the embankment come rain or shine back in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Still support them even though I have lived in the North East for well over 20 years now. You can take me out of Bolton but you will never take Bolton out of me.
Stayed in transport digs just across the road from the stadium in the 60’s, sorry looking place then!
The stadium had a great atmosphere for bolton but did see the end of its days, it started falling apart.