Bolton Wanderers v Fulham
Saturday 14th March 2009, 3pm
currently live in Slovakia and have a few friends
who follow the English Premier League. I visited
the Reebok Stadium with one of them for the Fulham
game on March 14th. I am originally a West Brom
fan so our initial intention was to see them play
at West Ham. Once that game had been moved to
Monday evening, we decided to go to Bolton
instead. In financial terms, we couldn't have
chosen better since Bolton had very generously
reduced ticket prices to just 10 pounds anywhere
in the ground. We also had the feeling that
Fulham's away record (no wins and just three goals
scored in fourteen games) didn't reflect the
football they play and that it might be a better
game than the pundits were predicting.
By any objective criteria, the Reebok is an excellent stadium. Access by train is easy, there seem to be plenty of buses and the motorway is nearby. Inside, the concourses are spacious and legroom and viewing are first-rate. More personally, I love the design of the ground. The frontage, as you walk up from Horwich Parkway, makes a very positive impression and the colour schemes leave no doubt as to who plays here. This is in contrast with, say, the City of Manchester Stadium with its dull grey concrete and steel. Overall, I would say that, for its size, the Reebok must be just about the best ground in the country. Itís got more individuality than other modern grounds and it compares favourably with traditional venues such as Molineux, which suffers from its open corners, or the Hawthorns, which is let down by its small, cramped main stand.
As for the game itself, Fulham were by far the better side and deservedly won 3-1, thus doubling their away goal tally for the season. Bolton did score a fine goal but, apart from that and a ten-minute spell just after half-time, were completely outplayed. Their performance drained the enthusiasm out of the home crowd and, with Fulham having brought just 300 or so fans, there was very little atmosphere. Thatís a shame as Iím sure the Reebok is capable of generating great noise. The 10 pound tickets didnít even ensure a full-house; at 22,000, the crowd fell about 6,000 short of the groundís capacity.
Getting away was easy, with Horwich Parkway just two minutes walk from the ground. Fans are kept off the station platforms till trains arrive but that seems a reasonable enough precaution considering the crowds.
Overall it was a good day out and this is definitely a ground I would return to. The Reebok shows that a modern stadium on a retail park does not have to be unimaginatively designed and characterless. The ground cannot be blamed for the lack of atmosphere on this day ; Iím sure that, given a decent Bolton performance, or a bigger away following, the Reebok can be as noisy as it is comfortable and attractive.
Are you an away or general football fan who has visited the Reebok Stadium recently?
If so why not submit your own review of the ground and general day out?
Find out more about how to submit a review
to the Guide to the Reebok Stadium - Bolton Wanderers page
Football Ground Guide Index