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Marko's memory match 27/12/1995 Bolton Wanderers 0 Leeds Utd 2
Wednesday, 11th Sep 2013 18:18 by @markmonk

I recall visiting Bolton on a bitterly cold artic night in December in late 1995. Tomas Brolin scored his second league goal for us, but I don't remember much about it and temperatures dipped to MINUS 8.

The match of course took place at Bolton's homely Burnden Park as they were a year or two away from moving to the iconic Reebok Stadium. A hard frost had fallen on the ground and I could not go straight in for a much needed warming brew of Bovril or something as a mate had let me down at the last minute, to add insult to injury he had asked me to flog his ticket and I seem to remember waiting by the coachloads of Leeds fans pouring into the cold night air and soon found a taker for a tenner, I think it was £11 face value so my cowardly chum who chose to stay in the warm and watch it live on Sky was only a quid down.

Games over Christmas are normally well-attended and over 18,000 turned up for this, despite it being on TV and despite match reports the following day claiming temperatures plummeted down to minus 8. For Leeds, we had won just one of our last six games and that had been three days earlier against Manchester United, our memorable 3-1 Christmas Eve slaughtering of the Red Scum summed up a Leeds side under Howard Wilkinson in what would be his last full season in charge.

We had started brightly enough, three straight wins and a draw. Tony Yeboah was turning goal of the month into a solo contest with his memorable strikes against Liverpool, Wimbledon and a hat-trick in Monaco to ease us through to round two of the now defunct UEFA Cup. However PSV Eindhoven were a different class and humbled us out of Europe with almost embarrassing ease.

We flattered to deceive and I wondered which Leeds United side would turn up, would it be the one who feebly surrendered and crashed 2-6 at Hillsborough barely a fortnight earlier or the one who taunted the hated red army of Manchester in the white hot cauldron of Elland Road and seasonally usurped their title challenge Eric Cantona et al?

In the end, Bolton were not up to much. They had good old Chris Fairclough in their defence and the previously free scoring John McGinley had found little loose change from the Premiership defenders. On the subject of Manchester, I marvelled at how much the Boltonians hated the Old Trafford mob from down the A666. Indeed they offered a repertoire of vile-filled, hate anthems even more vitriolic than our own. Their mascot, a cuddly lion called Lofty also joined in in front of the ironically named Manchester Road stand.

We were stood up, thats right stood up on an open terrace! Bolton's promotion that summer had come with some immunity from the requirements of the Taylor Report. We were housed in the Railway End which had the unique distinction of being part sold off to make way for a Supermarket! That's right, half of the terrace had made way for a shop, handy I suppose to grab some much needed seasonal essentials such as milk and bread but I doubt it was open that evening. It was of course a sign of things to come as Burnden Park made way for a Big W (Woolworths) and I now believe an Asda sits where it once stood for 102 years.

A player who for us played with the grace and speed of a supermarket shopping trolley and looked like he headed straight for the cakes and confectionary aisles, Tomas Brolin put us in front before half-time. David Wetherall added a headed second and that's about all I remember from the match other than the bitter cold and a fellow Leeds fan, who clearly had over-indulged in the Christmas Cheer and was doing a bizarre impression of a dying fly on the ice coated concrete terrace steps.

I look back on my night at Burnden Park with fond memories, as we moved to identikit stadiums it was one of the last great proper grounds of the north to survive the bulldozers and architects drawing board. However I'd get one last chance to sample it's unique charm just two and a half months later when we drew them their in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Valentines Day. We won that evening too, 1-0 thanks to a Rod Wallace goal and I missed the goal due to being stuck in queuing traffic on the dreaded A666.

Photo: Action Images

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TimWhelan added 13:59 - Sep 12
Not quite unique, as one end of Hull's old ground was also half-demolishedto make way for a supermarket. And I think part of one end of Selhurst Park also made way for a Sainsbury;s that is there to this day.

- Pedantic Tim.

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