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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » Are Wigan Athletic really Bolton Wanderers' fiercest local rivals?

Are Wigan Athletic really Bolton Wanderers' fiercest local rivals?

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Whitesince63
Growler
karlypants
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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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The debate as to who is Bolton Wanderers’ genuine local derby – or whether they really have one at all – has rolled on for generations.

If you believe the song, then Whites’ supporters only ‘hate’ Manchester United, although it has now been a decade since the two clubs competed at the same level.

Historically, there was a reciprocal rivalry between the two clubs. As the story goes, Bolton’s team bus was pelted with fruit by United fans during the 1958 FA Cup victory parade which, for whatever reason, took in the City Centre and Salford outskirts on its way towards the Town Hall.

In recent times, however, it has been rather more one-sided. Almost every side feels some type of rivalry against the Reds, and though Big Sam’s Wanderers dealt Sir Alex Ferguson’s elite a few bloody noses at the turn of the millennium and even Gary Megson can count a win against United on his Bolton CV, it would be fanciful to suggest the rivalry goes both ways.

For most of the Premier League era, and a few years thereafter, Blackburn Rovers became chief foes. More comparable in terms of club size, Wanderers have had some ding-dong battles with the Ewood Park men, as recently as 2019.

Sadly, one of the unwritten rules of football derbies is exclusivity. And while Rovers maintained a healthy competitiveness against Bolton and have fought out 170 games in three different divisions down the years, it is not as fierce as that held for Burnley, their East Lancashire neighbours.

The same logic applies – or, sadly, applied, to Bury. Before the Gigg Lane club was dragged into the financial mire by poor ownership the Shakers had revived their local rivalry with Wanderers in the third tier.

The two clubs had spent large spells of their history in different divisions and so that necessary competitiveness only appeared in bursts through the mid-sixties, mid-eighties and early nineties. As such, Bolton folk always looked elsewhere for their main rivalry.

It will be a grand day indeed when Bury bring a team back into the Football League to test the theory again.

Those seeking an alternative derby may be tempted to look down the East Lancashire Road towards Birkenhead.

The mutual animosity between Tranmere Rovers and Bolton Wanderers has not been difficult to miss in the last 30 years or so, born seemingly out of gamesmanship stemming from the 1991 Play-Off Final.

Celebrations for Chris Makin’s winning goal and those after the game irked then-Bolton boss Phil Neal and paved the way for an illogical rivalry over the next few decades.

Whether it was Lee Jones spoiling the 100 points, 100 goals target for Colin Todd’s promotion winners in 1997, or John Aldridge achieving the impossible and getting under Sam Allardyce’s skin in the during the two-legged Worthington Cup semi-final in 2000, there was something bitter brewing.

Allardyce even refused to let his players change at Prenton Park in a league game in 2001, as the feud between the two clubs got even more personal.

In recent years the games have proved feisty, not least when a Tranmere team managed by Keith Hill edged past Bolton in January – 90 minutes which proved somewhat of a turning point for everyone involved. When the next chapter will be resumed is anyone’s guess.

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Which brings us on to the contemporary candidate to be Bolton’s main local rivals, Wigan Athletic.

It is a fixture that has only been played 47 times, the first of which was in 1983, so lacks anything like the storied history of other teams mentioned above. But even the diehards who still point indignantly towards United must concede that for the modern generation, the Latics tick all the right boxes.

Firstly, the rivalry feels mutual. Anyone who has dared step into the battleground of social media since the Carabao Cup draw took place will see no love lost.

Both clubs have been through the ardour of administration in recent years but the experience does not seem to have dulled the passion, especially among Bolton fans who snapped up their 4,700 allocation for Tuesday night’s game with ferocious speed.

Bolton and Wigan have competed in the same division in 10 of the last 17 seasons, going back to the Premier League era. And taking into consideration just that run of results, the outcome has been almost dead level.

In all competitions since 2005, Bolton have won seven, drawn eight and lost 10 of the 23 games played. Saturday's game at the DW Stadium gives them a chance to make amends for one of their poorest results of the season, a 4-0 defeat against the Latics in October.

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Growler


Tony Kelly
Tony Kelly

No.They have only become relevant since 2005 due to Dave Whelan's money's buying them from the 4th Division to the PL.I think we all know when they stop being bankrolled they will go back to being Rochdale.For young people who have only known Wigan being bankrolled way beyond their natural resources it might be different.

Whitesince63


Andy Walker
Andy Walker

As an “oldie” on here I suppose the only real local derby we had was Bury but you couldn’t really class them as rivals, similarly with Manure because it has to be both ways and it certainly isn’t from then, other than in 1959 which you can expect after Munich but certainly not now. We obviously have lots of “derbies” because we have lots of local teams but unless you include the battles we’ve had with the likes of Wolves and Tranny Rovers at certain times, I’d have to say that right now and possibly in the future after Bury's sad demise, Wigan have to be our main derby game and rivals and I’m sure they feel the same if you ask them.

wanderlust

wanderlust
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

If you go all the way back to the early years of the football league and even before the foundation of the modern BWFC when they moved from Turton to become Christ Church, Bolton's first rivalry was with Blackburn. Droves of coach and horses and wagons made the trip from Bolton to the Chapeltown ground to watch games against Blackburn with both sides full of ringers and the crowd of 40,000 would drink all day, fight and bet heavily on the game.
That rivalry predates all the others by a considerable distance.

Natasha Whittam

Natasha Whittam
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Of course Wigan are currently our biggest rivals.

And that's why being beaten home and away this season is not acceptable.

Growler


Tony Kelly
Tony Kelly

The performance and result against Wigan earlier in the season was an embarrassment but i can't say it hurt any more than Orient sticking 4 past us the previous season
On the hand when Bury came and hammered us 4-1 at Burnden Park in the mid 80s  and Man Utd 6-0 in the mid 90s it was on a different level of pain.For a few months after that 6-0 v Man Utd i'd rather have lost the play off v Reading to have avoided that

Norpig

Norpig
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Growler wrote:The performance and result against Wigan earlier in the season was an embarrassment but i can't say it hurt any more than Orient sticking 4 past us the previous season
On the hand when Bury came and hammered us 4-1 at Burnden Park in the mid 80s  and Man Utd 6-0 in the mid 90s it was on a different level of pain.For a few months after that 6-0 v Man Utd i'd rather have lost the play off v Reading to have avoided that
I remember the 6-0 at Burnden only too well, i work in Manchester and it got mentioned quite a few times after that!

wanderlust

wanderlust
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Natasha Whittam wrote:Of course Wigan are currently our biggest rivals.

And that's why being beaten home and away this season is not acceptable.
Are they heck - they're jumped up small fry. They only became a Football League club 100 years after we did and that's only because they got voted in at the expense of Southport.

F*** all tradition or history in the scheme of things.

The thing is that they think of us as their biggest rivals because they are insanely jealous of our proud history - and that fact that most Wiganers were Bolton fans when they were a non league outfit.

Our nouveau riche neighbours may think we're their biggest rivals, but they are nothing.

Ten Bobsworth


El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf

Whitesince63 wrote:As an “oldie” on here I suppose the only real local derby we had was Bury but you couldn’t really class them as rivals, similarly with Manure because it has to be both ways and it certainly isn’t from then, other than in 1959 which you can expect after Munich but certainly not now. We obviously have lots of “derbies” because we have lots of local teams but unless you include the battles we’ve had with the likes of Wolves and Tranny Rovers at certain times, I’d have to say that right now and possibly in the future after Bury's sad demise, Wigan have to be our main derby game and rivals and I’m sure they feel the same if you ask them.

1959? ..dunno..  ..dunno..  ..dunno..

You're never going to pass your GCSE in Bolton Wanderers History at this rate, WS63. Rags supporters hated us and Nat Lofthouse for beating them in the 1958 Cup Final and those that remember it still do.

But the animosity was well entrenched long before then. We had the habit of beating the Mancs on many occasions pre-58 but there was also deep-seated distaste for the Rags unwillingness to help the war effort in 1939 in the way that the Wanderers had.

After the war, returning servicemen and their families had very little but there was a self-reliant, make-do-and-mend culture coupled with a distaste for nouveau riche opportunists. BWFC was symbolic of the former, the Rags the latter.

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