University of Bolton Stadium
Reebok Stadium, South west side - - 1221260.jpg
Exterior view of the stadium, March 2009
Full nameUniversity of Bolton Stadium
Former names
  • Macron Stadium (2014–2018)
  • Reebok Stadium (1997–2014)
LocationBurnden Way
Coordinates53°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
Public transitNational Rail Horwich Parkway
OwnerBolton Wanderers
OperatorBolton Wanderers (1997–present)
Capacity28,723 (sports)[3]
40,000 (concerts)
Record attendance28,353
Field size110 x 72 yards (100.6 x 65.8 metres)
SurfaceDesso GrassMaster[4]
Opened1997; 25 years ago (1997)
Construction cost£25m
Bolton Wanderers (1997–present)

The University of Bolton Stadium is the home ground of Bolton Wanderers F.C. in Horwich, Greater Manchester, England.

Opening in 1997, it was named the Reebok Stadium, after club sponsors Reebok. In 2014, Bolton Wanderers signed a naming rights deal with Italian sportswear company Macron.[5] It was renamed the University of Bolton Stadium in 2018.[6] In UEFA matches, it is called Bolton Wanderers Stadium due to UEFA regulations on sponsorship.

A hotel forms part of the stadium and some of the rooms offer views of the pitch.


University of Bolton Stadium is an all-seater stadium with a capacity of almost 29,000 and was completed in 1997, replacing the club's old ground, Burnden Park.

Burnden Park, which at its peak had held up to 60,000 spectators, was becoming increasingly dilapidated by the 1980s, and a section of terracing was sold off for redevelopment as a supermarket to help pay off the club's rising debts. Bolton Wanderers had dropped into the Third Division in 1983 and later spent a season in the Fourth Division. In January 1990, the Taylor Report required all clubs in the first and second tiers of the English league to have an all-seater stadium by the 1994-95 season. Bolton were still in the Third Division at this stage, but were aiming for promotion - which was finally achieved in 1993. By this stage, the club's owners had decided to relocate to a new all-seater stadium away from Burnden Park, and by 1995 had identified a location at Horwich as the preferred site of a new stadium.

View at night in February 2005
View at night in February 2005

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).[7] The stadium is noted for its distinct gabled architecture, first pioneered by the John Smith's Stadium.

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.[8]

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.[9]

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, long-serving 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.[10]

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.[11]

Footballing firsts

Interior view prior to a Bolton v Arsenal match, February 2007
Interior view prior to a Bolton v Arsenal match, February 2007

Other events

Field and grandstands view, August 2005
Field and grandstands view, August 2005

The stadium has hosted concerts by Oasis,[17] Pink, Elton John, Coldplay, The Killers, Little Mix and Rod Stewart.[18]

The stadium also hosted the UK Open Darts Championship, boxing matches with local boxer Amir Khan and in 2011 Premiership rugby union, when Sale Sharks lost to London Irish. It will also host group matches and the quarter-final of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

The venue's Premier Suite is home to the UK's leading amateur mixed martial arts event, Full Contact Contender.[19][20]

In August 2019, the stadium hosted a campaign rally by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.[21]

In March and April 2021 the stadium held Crown Court cases due to the large amount that had built up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic whilst the actual Courts were closed.[22] In the same year it was a venue for COVID-19 vaccinations.[23]


The 2021 Champion of Champions (also known as the 2021 Cazoo Champion of Champions for the purposes of sponsorship[24]) professional snooker tournament was hosted at the stadium between 15 and 21 November 2021[25]

Rugby League

The stadium has also hosted seven rugby league matches.[26]

Rugby League Test Matches

Test# Date Result Attendance Notes
1 7 November 1998  New Zealand def.  Great Britain 36–16 27,486 1998 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
1 18 November 2000  New Zealand def.  England 49–6 16,032 2000 Rugby League World Cup semi-final
3 17 November 2001  Australia def.  Great Britain 40–12 22,152 2001 Ashes series
4 22 October 2022[a]  England v  France 2021 Rugby League World Cup Group A
  1. ^ Originally meant to be on October 30, 2021, but the competition was postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Club Challenge

Game Date Result Attendance Year
1 26 January 2001
St. Helens def.
Brisbane colours.svg
Brisbane Broncos 20–18
16,041 2001 World Club Challenge
2 14 February 2003
Eastern Suburbs colours.svg
Sydney Roosters def.
St. Helens 38–0
19,807 2003 World Club Challenge
3 23 February 2007
St. Helens def.
Brisbane colours.svg
Brisbane Broncos 18–14
23,207 2007 World Club Challenge

Challenge Cup

In 2018, the stadium hosted the first ever double-header semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, repeated in 2019. [27]

Bolton Wanderers Free School

In 2014, the club established Bolton Wanderers Free School at the stadium. It was a sixth form centre offering sports and related courses for 16- to 19-year-olds, and utilised the facilities of the stadium for most of its teaching and learning. However, this closed in 2017 due to low pupil numbers which made it 'not financially viable'.[28]


Record attendances

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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, Third round

Average attendances

Season Division League Average[29][30][31] European Average FA Cup Average League Cup Average EFL Trophy Average
2000–01 First Division 14,960 14,982 4,957
2001–02 Premier League 25,098 7,015
2002–03 25,016 10,123 12,621
2003–04 26,794 8,759 10,191
2004–05 26,005 19,837 18,037
2005–06 25,265 17,635 15,223 11,997
2006–07 23,606 21,088
2007–08 20,901 18,367 15,286 15,510
2008–09 22,485 7,136
2009–10 21,880 13,120 8,050
2010–11 22,869 14,035
2011–12 23,670 10,532 6,777
2012–13 Championship 18,034 15,482[32]
2013–14 16,141 11,965[33]
2014–15 15,413 19,480 9,249
2015–16 15,056 12,812 5,842
2016–17 League One 15,194 8,453 1,565
2017–18 Championship 15,887 11,574 6,385
2018–19 14,239 5,506
2019–20 League One 12,028 6,992 5,839
2020–21[a] League Two N/A N/A N/A N/A
2021–22 League One 16,104 11,183 7,147 2,332
  1. ^ All matches played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nat Lofthouse statue

Lofthouse's statue outside the stadium
Lofthouse's statue outside the stadium

Bolton Wanderers unveiled a bronze statue of their most famous player, Nat Lofthouse (1925–2011), 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.[34]


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.[35]

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 North West and First Greater Manchester.[36]


  1. ^ To check the stadium's full postal address, go to the Royal Mail address finder and type: BL6 6JW. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Reebok Stadium". architect Populous. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  3. ^ "University of Bolton Stadium".
  4. ^ "Groundsmen Win Top Awards with Desso Pitches". SAPCA. 18 June 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  5. ^ "BWFC strike stadium and kit deal with Macron". 24 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Welcome to the University of Bolton Stadium". Bolton Wanderers F.C. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Bolton Wanderers Football & Athletic Co Ltd. New Stadium". Bradshaw Gass & Hope. Bradshaw Gass & Hope, LLP. 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Timeline: A history of the Reebok Stadium". The Bolton News. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  9. ^ Sam Antrobus (17 December 2012). "Should football fans really be so fearful of such deals?". Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Welcome to the University of Bolton Stadium". 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  12. ^ Shaw, Phil (2 September 1997). "Football: Speed's miss spares Bolton". The Independent. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  13. ^ Iles, Marc (8 July 2017). "Two decades after Gerry Taggart's 'goal that never was' - Bolton Wanderers finally get goal-line technology". The Bolton News. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  14. ^ Walker, Michael (21 January 2019). "I scored historic goal but couldn't keep Bolton up". Press Reader. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Wright-Phillips saves England". BBC Sport. 6 September 2002. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Bolton 2 Lokomotiv Plovdiv 1". Manchester Evening News. 15 September 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  17. ^ McNair, James (17 July 2000). "Oasis | Reebok Stadium, Bolton". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 July 2009.
  18. ^ Montgomery, James (2 August 2005). "Coldplay's clip for 'Fix You': All new footage of Chris Martin walking around". MTV. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  19. ^ Wharton, Brad. "Full Contact Contender 3 Report and Results". YourMMA. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  20. ^ McCann, George. "FCC 5 Review and Results". Love2Fight Magazine. Love2Fight Magazine. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  21. ^ Marshall, Brad (17 August 2019). "Jeremy Corbyn addresses hundreds of activists at University of Bolton Stadium rally". The Bolton News. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  22. ^ Manchester Evening News: "Football stadium to be transformed into a crown court"
  23. ^ Pharmacy to lead mass vaccination site at stadium Pharmacy to lead mass vaccination site at stadium"
  24. ^ "Cazoo and Matchroom Expand Partnership Deal". WST. 17 June 2021.
  25. ^ "Champion Of Champions Snooker Heads To University Of Bolton Stadium With Full Crowd This November". Champion of Champions Snooker. 15 April 2021. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  26. ^ "Reebok Stadium - Results - Rugby League Project". Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Semi Final Venues Announced". 30 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Bolton Wanderers Free School 'not financially viable'". 7 March 2017. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Premier League 2001/2002 - Attendance". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Championship 2012/2013 - Attendance". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  31. ^ "League One 2016/2017 - Attendance". Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Bolton results 2012-13". Football365. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  33. ^ "Bolton results 2013-14". Football365. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  34. ^ "Nat Lofthouse statue at Bolton's Reebok Stadium". BBC News. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  35. ^ "Directions to the Reebok Stadium". Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)