Personally I think we have 300-500 of the best away supporters in the country, you know the guys, the fans who after a hard day at work, jump in the shower, stick on their beloved Bolton Wanderers shirt and set off on their travels to places like Wolves on a Tuesday night. I’ve wanted to do a post like this for ages because I don’t think they get the credit they deserve, especially for this season on the back of bad performances.
To get a good basis of what goes through a BWFC’s away fan, I interviewed a few and I found it interesting.
I’ve been to a few away games myself but I’m limited due to my dedication to my own 11-a-side football team. My personal feelings on the morning of an away game for our team is getting nervous and for various reasons; are we going to get there on time, is it going to be horrible, am I going to get beaten up. Other people seemed to get this feeling of excitement, which is strange for Bolton fans in my opinion. However, reasons such as; checking a stadium of a very long list, looking forward to a beer with the lads and actually looking forward to the game where thrown at me which I think shows the optimism of the away support.
After I visited Stoke on a wet and miserable Wednesday night and watched us go down 2-0 with James Beattie scoring, I didn’t have to look at the next game to know that I wasn’t going. Not because I’m a fickle fan, I was on holiday! A massive question for me however is what makes this loyal fans want to keep going back? The general opinion was ‘they enjoy it’ – and I understand why. Nearly every single person I spoke to mentioned the atmosphere being far superior to a home game and it is, some of the home fans seem to want to watch the match in complete silence but at away games if you’re not singing, you get thrown out! It seems to be this kind of interaction between our own fans (and the opposition) that’s key when a Bolton fan is booking an away ticket.
I wanted to know what stops a fan that goes to most away games from showing up at any given point and the answer, nothing. It seems that for a lot of fans, anything goes. Yes at some points, partners, parents and the price (Chelsea away) sometimes gets in the way but even through twitter I could feel the passion that these fans have for the team and it really is refreshing. A lot of them made the point that the season performance didn’t effect their decision on going/not going to a game and it was the fact that anything could happen on that day and they shared the moment a number of other crazy Bolton supporters. Magnificent.
Finally, I asked these loyal fans what reasons they could think of for our sometimes poor away support. I remember a couple of seasons ago we only took under 200 fans to an away Premier League game, it might have been more but I remember seeing something on twitter. Now, that will have been a one off but there must be reasons, and reasons they gave. Money was the big one, especially when it came to travel. In most cases the ticket prices are reasonable, but when you’re paying £20-30 for a ticket along with another £15-20 on top, the price soon builds up. It’s a shame, I remember we did free travel to Arsenal one year and the response was amazing. More of that from the club would be great especially since some of these Championship away games are really hard to get to. Am I right? I’m right. Shouts for reputation of the opposition and awful conditions but nothing on form of the team, which again, is refreshing.
To sum up. We have some mental and crazy passionate fans. So a message to you lads and ladies; the rest of us salute you and sometime in the near future, will join you.
Huge thanks go out to everyone who answered questions for me, it is very much appreciated.