University of Bolton Stadium

University of Bolton Stadium
Full name The University of Bolton Stadium
Former names Macron Stadium (2014-2018)
Reebok Stadium (1997–2014)
Location Burnden Way
Coordinates 53°34′50″N 2°32′8″W / 53.58056°N 2.53556°W / 53.58056; -2.53556Coordinates: 53°34′50″N 2°32′8″W / 53.58056°N 2.53556°W / 53.58056; -2.53556
Owner Bolton Wanderers
Operator Bolton Wanderers (1997–present)


Record attendance 28,353
Field size 110 x 72 yards (100.6 x 65.8 metres)
Surface Desso GrassMaster[3]
Built 1996–1997
Opened 1997
Construction cost £25m
Architect Populous[4]

University of Bolton Stadium (formerly Macron Stadium and Reebok Stadium) is the home stadium of English Championship club Bolton Wanderers, and is located on the Middlebrook Retail Park, Horwich in the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, Greater Manchester.[1]

From its opening in 1997 until 2014, the stadium was named "Reebok Stadium", after long-term club sponsors Reebok. However, after Bolton Wanderers signed an initial four-year naming rights and kit deal with Italy's Macron sportswear company, the stadium name was changed to reflect the new deal.[5]

It was renamed the University of Bolton Stadium in August 2018.

A hotel forms part of the stadium's construction and some of the rooms offer views of the pitch. The hotel was operated by the De Vere Group until August 2013, when the club assumed ownership and renamed it the "Bolton Whites Hotel". The stadium is also the temporary location of Bolton Wanderers Free School.


University of Bolton Stadium is a all-seater stadium with a capacity of almost 29,000 and was completed in 1997, replacing the club's old ground, Burnden Park. The lead consultant/architect of the project was Lobb Sports, while local firm Bradshaw Gass & Hope acted as planning supervisors and quantity surveyors, the contractor was Birse Construction, and Deakin Callard & Partners provided structural engineering services. The value of the contract was £25 million (US$42.1 million).[6] The stadium is noted for its distinct gabled architecture, first pioneered by the John Smith's Stadium. The upper-tier corners do not have seating due to concerns of health and safety access.

The stadium was opened in 1997 by John Prescott, a Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time.[7]

The stadium consists of four stands: The Carrs Pasties (North) Stand at one end; the South Stand (Franking Sense and also the away end) at the other end; the West Stand at one side of the pitch; and the Nat Lofthouse (east) Stand at the other side.

When the stadium was named after long-time team sponsor Reebok in 1997, fans considered the title impersonal and believed that too much emphasis was being placed on financial considerations. This opposition considerably lessened after the stadium was built, as fans grew accustomed to the name and were bolstered by Reebok's status as a local company.[8]

The Macron title was applied in July 2014 after the Bolton Wanderers club finalised a partnership with the large Italian sportswear brand. In April 2014, club chairman Phil Gartside stated that he was "proud" to be associated with Macron and had "been very impressed with their [Macron's] passion for football". A four-year duration was negotiated for the Macron deal and the club had the option to extend at completion.[9]

When the deal with Macron came to an end in August 2018 the stadium was again renamed, this time as the University of Bolton Stadium.[10]

Footballing firsts

  • The first competitive – and Premier League – match at the stadium was a 0–0 draw between Bolton and Everton on Monday 1 September 1997.
  • The first player to score at the stadium was Alan Thompson, a penalty in the 1–1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, on 23 September. Chris Armstrong, who later in his career had a short spell with Wanderers, got the equaliser.
  • On 6 September 2002, it hosted its first international, which was England’s under-21s international friendly against Yugoslavia’s under-21s. It ended in a 1–1 draw with 10,531 in attendance.
  • Lokomotiv Plovdiv were the visitors in the first UEFA Cup match at the stadium, on 15 September 2005. Boban Janchevski scored first for the visitors, but late goals from El Hadji Diouf and Jared Borgetti secured a 2–1 home victory in the first competitive European match in Bolton's history.

Other events

In addition to hosting football games, the stadium also offers other services, such as a hotel and function rooms.

The stadium has been used to host concerts by famous acts such as Oasis,[11] Pink, Elton John, Coldplay, The Killers & Little Mix.

Footage from the Coldplay concert was used in the video for the single, "Fix You", which shows lead singer Chris Martin entering the stage as the song reaches its climax.

The stadium also hosted the UK Open Darts Championship, boxing matches with local boxer Amir Khan and 16 April 2011 when it hosted its first rugby union match when Sale Sharks lost to London Irish.

Every November until 2012, the Reebok Stadium hosted Kidz up North which is one of the largest free UK exhibitions totally dedicated to children with disabilities and special needs, their parents, carers and professionals who work with them.

The venue's Premier Suite is home to the UK's leading amateur mixed martial arts event, Full Contact Contender.[12] As of 16 March 2013 The Reebok has played host to three Full Contact Contender events.[13]

Rugby League

The stadium has also hosted six rugby league matches. The results were as follows;[14]

Rugby League Test Matches

17 November 1998 New Zealand def.  Great Britain 36–1627,4861998 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
118 November 2000 New Zealand def.  England 49–616,0322000 Rugby League World Cup semi-final
317 November 2001 Australia def.  Great Britain 40–1222,1522001 Ashes series

World Club Challenge

126 January 2001 St. Helens def. Brisbane Broncos 20–1816,0412001 World Club Challenge
214 February 2003 Sydney Roosters def. St. Helens 38–019,8072003 World Club Challenge
323 February 2007 St. Helens def. Brisbane Broncos 18–1423,2072007 World Club Challenge

Challenge Cup

On 30 May 2018, it was announced that the stadium will host a first ever Double-header for the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.[15]

Bolton Wanderers Free School

In 2014 the club established Bolton Wanderers Free School at the stadium. It is a sixth form centre offering sports and related courses for 16- to 19-year-olds.[16] The centre utilises the facilities of the stadium for most of its teaching and learning.


Record attendances

Record attendance: 28,353 v Leicester City, 28 December 2003 (FA Premier League)

Lowest attendance for a competitive match: 1,540 v Everton U23s, 30 August 2016 Football League Trophy, Northern Group Stage, Game One

Lowest Premier League attendance: 17,014 v Derby County, 2 January 2008

Record UEFA Cup attendance: 26,163 v Atlético Madrid, 14 February 2008 Last 32 1st leg

Record FA Cup attendance: 23,523 v Arsenal, 12 March 2005 quarter finals

Record League Cup Attendance: 18,037 v Tottenham Hotspur, 27 October 2004 3rd round

Average attendances

Season League Average Attendance[17] European Average Attendance FA Cup Average Attendance League Cup Average Attendance


The stadium's West Stand lies about 200 metres from Horwich Parkway railway station. The station lies between Lostock and Blackrod on the Manchester to Preston Line. Football specials operate to and from this station on matchdays. Bus services are laid on by the club from across the borough when the Wanderers are at home.[22]

On non-matchdays Horwich Parkway is served by three services an hour in each direction, operated by Northern or TransPennine Express. Numerous routes serve bus stops near or at the ground, operated by Arriva and FirstBus.[23]

Nat Lofthouse Statue

Bolton Wanderers unveiled a bronze statue of their most famous player, Nat Lofthouse, prior to a game against Queens Park Rangers on 24 August 2013. The statue, which cost £100,000 due to the generosity of public donations and sponsors, is situated near to the south-west corner of the stadium and was officially revealed by club owner Eddie Davies in a special ceremony.

Club chaplain Phil Mason, chairman Phil Gartside and the son of Nat Lofthouse – Jeff Lofthouse, also took part in the ceremony as did sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn. Hedges-Quinn had taken 18 months overall to complete the project having worked successfully on the statues such as that of Bob Stokoe at The Stadium of Light, Ted Bates at St Mary's Stadium and Sir Bobby Robson and Alf Ramsey at Portman Road.[24]


  1. 1 2 To check the stadium's full postal address, go to the Royal Mail address finder Archived 7 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine. and type: BL6 6JW. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  2. "Official Site of the Premier League" (PDF). Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  3. "Groundsmen Win Top Awards with Desso Pitches". SAPCA. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  4. "Reebok Stadium". architect Populous. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  5. "BWFC strike stadium and kit deal with Macron". 24 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  6. "Bolton Wanderers Football & Athletic Co Ltd. New Stadium". Bradshaw Gass & Hope. Bradshaw Gass & Hope, LLP. 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  7. "Timeline: A history of the Reebok Stadium". The Bolton News. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  8. Sam Antrobus (17 December 2012). "Should football fans really be so fearful of such deals?". Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  9. "Bolton to change stadium name to Macron Stadium – but where does it rank in the worst arena names?". The Daily Mirror. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  10. "Welcome to the University of Bolton Stadium". 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. McNair, James (17 July 2000). "Oasis | Reebok Stadium, Bolton". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 July 2009.
  12. Wharton, Brad. "Full Contact Contender 3 Report and Results". YourMMA. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  13. McCann, George. "FCC 5 Review and Results". Love2Fight Magazine. Love2Fight Magazine. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  14. Macron Stadium at Rugby League Project
  15. "Semi Final Venues Announced". 30 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  17. "Attendance". Bolton Wanderers F.C. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  18. "Championship attendances 2012-13". Football 365. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  19. "Bolton results 2012-13". Football365. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  20. "Championship attendances 2013-14". Football 365. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  21. "Bolton results 2013-14". Football365. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  22. "Directions to the Reebok Stadium". Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  24. "Nat Lofthouse statue at Bolton's Reebok Stadium". BBC News. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
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