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What happened on this week in Bolton Wanderers history

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
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This week's look through the Bolton News archives takes in transfer talk, floodlight bans and Friday night football at Burnden Park.

1965: Manchester City’s directors were hoping to give their supporters a couple of extra Christmas presents – but were told to go shopping elsewhere by Wanderers and Bury.

City – £50,000 in the red but desperate to win promotion back to the First Division – were said to be planning a £100,000 swoop for Wanderers’ Wales international centre forward Wyn Davies and Bury’s highly-rated 19-year-old inside forward Colin Bell.

However, the widespread reports were contemptuously dismissed at Burnden Park and Gigg Lane.

Wanderers chairman Ted Gerrard, said: “We want to make it perfectly clear that our centre forward, Wyn Davies, is not for transfer.

“Furthermore we have had no intimation whatsover from Manchester City regarding Davies. We must regret that news of this kind is published as it causes unnecessary concern both to the club and the players.”

Bury chairman Bill Allen was equally scathing as he rubbished the speculation.

“So far as Bury are concerned, Bell will never wear Manchester City colours,” he insisted.

1973: Wanderers were in the vanguard as football tried to cope with the “three-day-week” power crisis.

Hit hard financially by the floodlight ban which meant games having to kick off at 2pm and no night matches at all, the crisis was reported to be costing Wanderers £1,000 a day – losses they could ill afford.

They were scheduled to host Stoke in the FA Cup on January 5, a designated “working day” under the strict three-day-week regulations due to come into force on New Year’s Day.

Burnden chairman Bill Isherwood, welcoming news of the FA asking the government to relax the Sunday Observance Act, said: “We have been exploring every avenue and we would be in favour of playing the game on January 6.”

In fact, there was nothing to stop Wanderers or any other club playing on a Sunday, but under the Act they could not charge gate admission.

FA secretary Ted Croker suggested they follow the example of cricket who staged the John Player League on Sundays and charged for programmes and seats.

“Sunday football is the answer to our problems,” said Croker. “But we have this small body of opinion stopping us using Sundays simply because we cannot take gate money.”

1980: Wanderers’ decision to switch to Friday night football in the hope of cushioning the effect of pre-Christmas apathy backfired when a crowd of only 6,315 – the lowest League gate since their Third Division days – turned up to watch the Second Division clash with QPR.

The idea was to leave spectators free to go shopping on the last Saturday before Christmas – and Wanderers won the first battle when their groundstaff beat the winter snap and the pitch was passed fit by referee George Courtney.

But the smattering of Bolton fans who did bother to turn up went home disappointed after Stan Anderson’s Whites lost 2-1 – Mike Flanagan scoring a controversial winner for the Londoners 13 minutes from time.

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