Bolton Wanderers FC
The Reebok Stadium
0844 871 2932
Ground Number: 180Saturday 22nd October 2011
Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Sunderland
Barclays Premier League
The Reebok Stadium was another ground that I was looking to visit to complete the 92. So when I saw that Wycombe were playing up at Oldham Athletic on the 22nd October and having already visited Boundary Park on several occasions, I had a plan. I would drop some mates off at Oldham and then go onto Bolton, thus getting a decent contribution towards my fuel costs and having some company on the journey. I had already booked my ticket 2 weeks previously on the Bolton website, opting to go for an under 21 to save myself £10, despite being 32!
We left Wycombe just after 9, having had to wait for one of our group to finish work. Soon we were underway and had a hassle-free journey until we hit the usual traffic jam around Stoke on the pathetic M6. After a 50 minute delay, we were on our way again and eventually got to Oldham about 12.50. After dropping everyone off I set off for Bolton, arriving at 1.20. I had seen on the Football Ground Guide website that you could pay £5 to park at the nearby Beehive Pub and claim the money back at the bar. In fact, when I turned up, there was no charge and so after checking for any signs that said: "No Parking" I made my way to the pub, which was full of Sunderland fans. I wish I hadn't bothered, because after half an hour of the bar staff completely ignoring our section of the bar, it took the forceful and persistent requests of a Sunderland fan to finally get our order through. He took orders for about 6 people so that we could finally quench our thirst and it was nice to finally get a drink. To be honest the pub wasn't the best and I soon left and made my way to the ground. Luckily there is plenty of choice of shops and places to eat right near the ground and so after getting some lunch in Asda, I made my way into the ground.
The game was pretty poor. Bolton were especially disappointing, not gaining control of the game against an out of form Sunderland side. It was all set for a 0-0 before 2 late Sunderland goals won it for the visitors, who had just about shaded the game and deserved to win. I would imagine Bolton will be down in a relegation scrap come the end of the season, and Sunderland will be enjoying mid-table mediocrity at best. Getting out of the ground after the game should have seen simple, but on my attempt to try and avoid the traffic, I took a detour, relied on my Sat Nav to try and take me a different way. But about 50 minutes later, after driving round Bolton, I found myself driving back past the Reebok Stadium on now, clear roads! I got home about 9.30 after picking up my mates from Oldham, annoyed that it could have been so much earlier.
THE REEBOK STADIUM looks highly impressive from the outside but is a little less impressive once you get inside. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great ground, but it just hasn't got that wow factor, looking rather plain. I'd imagine it would look a lot better under floodlights. With a capacity of just under 30,000 for normal games getting tickets shouldn't be a problem. And the parking and facilities around the stadium are OK, unlike a lot of the other new builds.