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Wanderers face delicate situation ahead of promotion decider against Exeter

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Wanderers insist they are not trying to be party-poopers by requesting that fans stay at home on the day the club could potentially seal promotion.

After discussions with the police and local authority, the Whites issued a statement to supporters yesterday reminding them that large gatherings are still prohibited under the government’s Covid-19 guidelines.

In what has become a delicate situation for the club, many supporters have stated publicly on social media that they intend to travel to the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday regardless.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed they had gained a dispersal order on Tuesday evening, which gives them powers to move on crowds as a “last resort” in the event of anti-social behaviour.

There will also be an increased police presence in the vicinity of the ground – but with Bolton fans hoping their team will grab the result necessary to seal a return to League One, it is hoped the afternoon can pass peacefully.

A spokesperson for the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust told The Bolton News: “We have great sympathy with the fans who want to attend but understand that the club has had no choice but to put out the appeal.”

The Bolton Whites Hotel will close between Friday, April 30 and Monday, May 3, including the outdoor seating and bar area.

Last weekend, a contingent of around 200 supporters gathered outside the stadium at Morecambe and were managed by local stewards and police without any major incidents.

Players saluted the fans from a safe distance after the 1-0 win, which put them on the edge of a return to League One.

Wanderers also released a statement yesterday morning, which read: “The club truly appreciates the support we have had from all our supporters this season, especially as you have not been able to watch games in person due to the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“The club is engaging with both the local authority and Public Health England on the measures required to see the safe reintroduction of spectators when Government restrictions can be lifted.

“In the meantime, with public gatherings of more than six outdoors still not permitted, and with there still being a clear risk to public health, we are politely requesting that fans do not travel to the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday.

“We all still have a big part to play in keeping down transmission rates and your safety and that of our colleagues and community is our primary concern.

“We are all looking forward to welcoming you back to the stadium once it is safe to do so and in the meantime we thank you for your loyal support, understanding and co-operation.”


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