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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Comeback Kings: Nine occasions that Bolton turned their season upside down

Comeback Kings: Nine occasions that Bolton turned their season upside down

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Wanderers have got plenty of catching up to do as they resume action in the Championship against Sheffield Wednesday this weekend.

Phil Parkinson’s side are still searching for their first win after 11 games and have been struggling for goals – but all hope is not lost.

We’ve delved back into the history books to find some of the club’s most remarkable turnarounds, where success has been plucked from the jaws of failure in the league.

Can the current crop add to our list of Wanderers’ great escapes? We’ll find out in May.

1905-06: Sheppard gets Bolton off the hook

Wanderers were dangling a point above the relegation zone in Division One at the turn of the year but hit a rich seam of goal-scoring form to finish sixth.

A run of 10 wins in 11 games included six-goal hauls against Woolwich Arsenal and Sunderland.

Albert Sheppard finished the season with a club record 26 goals.

1936-37: Late run sinks United

Things were not looking good in Division One for Charles Foweraker’s side as they sat second bottom of the table in mid-March.

A 4-1 win against West Brom, with goals from Harry Goslin and Ray Westwood, spurred a better run of form and a draw against Arsenal on the final day sent Manchester United down into Division Two at their expense.

1975-76: Whatmore and Byrom lead the way

Ian Greaves had a tough start to his first full season in charge at Wanderers, taking just one point from his first three games.

But a 16-game run without defeat – inspired by the goals of Neil Whatmore and John Byrom – had them top of the table by November. The team finished fourth.

1981-82: Whites bounce back

A 7-1 hammering on QPR’s plastic pitch left Wanderers’ Second Division status dangling by a thread.

But George Mullhall’s side won their last two games against Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday, 3-2 and 3-1 respectively, to send Wrexham and Orient down instead.

1987-88: Savage’s salvo

Wanderers’ only season in the bottom tier was heading towards a play-off lottery as defeats against Swansea and Cardiff City had dropped Phil Neal’s side to fifth, three points off the top three with four games to play.

A thumping 6-0 win over Newport at Burnden paved the way for a remarkable dash for the line, culminating in Robbie Savage’s memorable last-day winner at Wrexham to seal promotion.

1990-91: Neal-ly men strike again

Wanderers sat second bottom of the table in mid-October and pressure was building on manager Phil Neal.

But no-one could have predicted the team would embark on a club-record 23-game run to finish the season in the play-off slots.

Tony Philliskirk ended the campaign with 28 goals from 55 games but the Whites were thwarted at Wembley by Tranmere Rovers.

1992-93: New boys spark Rioch run

Few tend to recall, but Bruce Rioch didn’t get off to a flyer in his first season – and it was only the arrival of David Lee and John McGinlay which really kicked the first White Hot year into overdrive.

A 2-1 home defeat against Hartlepool had the locals restless as Wanderers sat 18th and just one point off the relegation zone in mid-October.

They recovered, of course, to win promotion on the final day against Preston North End.

2003-04: Sam’s side starts to take shape

Wanderers took just one win from their first 10 league games having been spanked 6-2 at Manchester City and 4-0 at both Portsmouth and Manchester United.

Sam Allardyce’s new side was taking shape, though, and a first top-eight finish was secured in the end, along with a League Cup final appearance.

2007-08: Meggo’s great escape

Sammy Lee’s disastrous reign came to an end with Bolton second bottom on goal difference and his successor, the polarising Gary Megson, took time to turn the ship around.

A 4-0 defeat at Aston Villa in early April left even the most optimistic fans fearing relegation but Kevin Davies and Gavin McCann would secure 1-0 wins against West Ham and Middlesbrough to give the Whites a fighting chance. A draw at Spurs and a 2-0 victory over Sunderland at the Reebok completed the Great Escape.



Ivan Campo
Ivan Campo
I applaud your research karly. I just wish it made me feel a little more optimistic but with our financial problems and a limited manager I think we are screwed.


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
They always dig out previous results which have no bearing on the current situation and to me it always smells of desperation. Which I suppose is fair enough in a round about way as our current situation is indeed desperate. Nothing that a few wins can't put right though.

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