2 Oct 1996: John McGinlay of Bolton celebrates scoring during the Nationwide League match between Wolves and Bolton at Molineux in Wolverhampton. Bolton went on to win the match by 0-2. Mandatory Credit: S - Shaun Botterill/Allsport
I have been attending Bolton matches with Wolves for going on a quarter of a century now, and was taught from a young age that they were rivals, and that at no time in my life should I reject an opportunity to call Steve Bull a shithouse. So far I have kept that side of the bargain up.
I have seen us beat them home and away, I have seen bore draws and I've even seen the odd beating from them, but at no time has my dislike for them wavered. They're strange, godless people from a bleak and unrelenting city full of drab and dreary architecture and boarded-up shops. This is reflected in the populace, many of whom do not appear to have ever completed any sort of formal education.
All this aside, there have been some proper ding-dong-do battles over the years - my favourites of which can be found below:
1) THE BATTLE OF BURNDEN - 18th January 1997 - Bolton 3 v 0 Wolves (McGinlay, Curle OG, Blake)
One of my favourite BWFC memories will always be the abovementioned fixture which fell in the first few weeks of the New Year. We had a fantastic team in those days, and had beaten Wolves four times on the bounce, yet as they came to Burnden Park they were considered one of the division's stronger sides, managed by the as-then up-and-comer Mark McGhee.
That said, we absolutely battered them, with a great finish from McGinlay, a comedy own goal from that idiot Keith Curle and another nice Blake finish - the game however is remembered fondly for two incidents - the first of which being a brawl that broke out between the players and which involved most of the 22 on the field.
The second incident has gone down in lore as ‘Pie Gate' - the inimitable Lofty the Lion was running through his half time routine of flexing his muscles, but this time he decided to take it to the next level and perform in front of the Wolves supporters who didn't take kindly and proceeded to throw whatever they could lay their hands on at the poor mascot - the funniest of which was a pie which plonked him on the head. Amazing scones.
2) TAKE THAT DAVID KELLY - Play Off Semi - 18th May 1995 - Bolton 2 v 0 Wolves (McGinlay x2)
Another game that will go down in infamy - we had lost the first leg of the semi 2 v 1 and so needed to win to progress to face Reading in the Final for a place in the Premier League. We did manage this on a night of great drama. The abiding memory of the whole night however comes in the form of a picture, a famous image of John McGinlay standing over David Kelly having just felled him with a delightful left hook. This being the ‘olden days' there was no punishment forthcoming and much to Wolves chagrin it was the same McGinlay who popped up in extra time to send the Whites to Wembley. A glorious night.
3) BAGS OF PISS - Division One - 1st May 2001 - Wolves 0 v 2 Bolton (Holdsworth, Ricketts)
This midweek fixture was one I had been looking to for ages. I had a ticket bought for me for my 18th birthday and my friend was going to drive us down after college. We set off with great enthusiasm and this continued until the second half, when as we were leading two one we were suddenly pelted with polythene sandwich bags full of piss which exploded on the seats next to us - we legged it to the back of the stand and took cover. What a bunch of dirty filthy bastards! After this we won the game easily and cursed them all the way back up the motorway. Never forgive, never forget.
4) MEGSON OUT! - Premiership - 5th December 2009 - Wolves 2 v 1 Bolton (Elmander)
In the years before parenthood and responsibility (and pennilessness) I would look forward to the trips to Wolves, mainly because it allowed me to vent my numerous frustrations at their supporters, club, players, town and regional infrastructure. This time I had another - Gary Megson. The man was, in my opinion, destroying my club and I was on a one-man mission to get him out. We lost the game, fairly and squarely, but the game was memorable for the half time entertainment of some Bolton fans handing out home-made A4 "MEGSON OUT SAVE OUR BWFC" papers which the majority displayed in the second half. The game itself was forgettable, but the uniting of the fanbase against the common enemy was heartwarming.
5) FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL - Premiership - 31st March 2012 - Wolves 2 v 3 Bolton (Petrov, Alonso, SKD)
The most recent clash of the two sides was fought amongst a backdrop of mutual desperation. Both sides were at the bottom of the table and knew that three points gained against their rivals. Bolton were in the midst of an awful run of form, and Wolves were worse. It was a terrible game, no spectacle at all, with attritional football played on both sides as the players had seemingly the weight of the world on their shoulders. Bolton won out in the end but the result was ultimately futile with both sides suffering relegation to The Championship. The game is one remembered for unhappy reasons, as despite the victory there was an almost universal understanding within the away support that our days at the top table were numbered.