Inspired by a recent edit on Wikipedia, where everything is 100% correct 100% of the time, a poll on this site asked members ‘Who Are Bolton’s Biggest Rivals Nowadays’. People were given eight choices:
In the football fan census of 2003, the team from Trafford Park was the team that Bolton fans voted for as our biggest rivals (although to be fair so did four other teams and it was seven years ago), followed by Blackburn and a tie for third between Wolves and Citeh. In the same survey, three teams considered Bolton to be their biggest rivals, namely Bury, Tranmere and Wigan. Bolton were called “Notlob” and “Noblot” by Blackburn and Wigan fans, whereas we called Blackburn “Dingles” (not at the time caring too much about Burnley, not that we care much now). We didn`t have a name for Bury, other than “who?”.
In our decidedly non scientific 2010 poll the results were as follows.
1. Blackburn Rovers 40% Distance between grounds: 15.05 miles by road.
The team of our former manager comes out top again. Reasons for this could be that said former manager is now there, the way that they treated Per Frandsen and Kevin Davies or the fact that they bought the league back in the day.
2. Wigan Athletic 20% Distance between grounds: 6.99 miles by road.
Our closest, in distance, rivals. Read any beginning of season poll by Wigan fans in the papers and when they are asked ‘Who will be relegated’ the answer will be “I don`t care as long as Bolton do” and year after year they keep on getting it wrong. Such short sightedness may be down to most of them only having been born with one eye. Boom Boom.
3. Bury 17% Distance between grounds: 11.89 miles by road.
Historically Bolton`s local rivals, not so much now since the move from Burnden Park. Last played each other in a League Cup tie in 2002, but we won`t dwell on that one. Last game that meant anything was played in 1999 when they beat us 2-1 but that still didn`t stop them being relegated.
4. Burnley 8% Distance between grounds: 27.81 miles by road.
Burnley have their own little local rivalry to deal with against Blackburn, not that that is going to happen again anytime soon, unless Blackburn get relegated. Seemed to have a problem this season when their saviour moved on to a better team and they called it a sideways move. Then went south.
5. Tranmere Rovers 6% Distance between grounds: 31.56 miles by road.
Big Sam once disliked the ground so much he got his players to change before they reached it so they wouldn`t have to put up with the sub standard amenities. Tranmere fans once sent razor blades to Burnden Park (amazingly, even with the spelling on the envelope, it still made it). They managed to stop Bolton getting to 100 points in 1997, knocked us out of the League Cup in “Towelgate” and even beat us in a play off final. I`m amazed they only got 6%.
6. Arsenal 5% Distance between grounds: 211.88 miles by road.
They don`t like us, we don`t care. A moaning manager who cannot see it when his team gives it out as good as they get it. Their fans certainly can`t take a bit of friendly winding up. Hang on, don`t we want Wilshere again next season? A lovely team with fantastic fans, how could anyone vote for them?
7= Manchester City and Manchester United. 2%. Distance between grounds: 18.43 and 17.45 miles by road.
A surprisingly low turn out by the United haters which may or may not be due to the fact that they used to be within some sort of touching distance but now routinely beat us time and again. Citeh, despite last night`s result, have joined them in the realms of the virtually untouchable. So there is little point in disliking them, except in envy. I miss the old days.