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Forever McGinlay: Why Bolton vs Wolves Is Much More Than Just A Relegation Battle

by Ian Jones
30 March 2012

It's a game that could well define both club's seasons, and thanks to a certain fist-flailing, goal-scoring Wanderer there will always be extra fire whenever these two play each other

johmmcginlay
Wolves and Bolton really don’t like each other very much.  This is 50% of the reason why

It has been a quiet week at Circus Molineux following the capitulation at Carrow Road, but things should liven up when Bolton visit Molineux on Saturday. If you thought Wolves’ fans have issues with West Bromwich Albion, then their dislike of the Trotters makes the rivalry with the Baggies look like a slightly tepid game of draughts.

Both clubs have been around since the dawn of the Football League and by that I mean the real one founded by William McGregor in 1888 and not the one that was seemingly plucked out of thin air in 1992 by some itinerant newspaper peddlars intent on breaking into the world of televisual sport.

The two teams have been up and down the four divisions over the years and there have been many promotion tussles between the two. However, the total animosity between the two sets of fans can be summed up in one name and one name only – McGinlay.

This Scot’s moniker is forever etched upon the soul of the Old Gold, scoring the winner after somehow escaping a sending off by referee Richard Dunne, following the blatant punch that floored Wolves’ David Kelly during the 1995 Division 1 Play-Off Semi Final second leg at the horrendous Burnden Park. Yes that one, with half of one end of the ground taken up by the wall of a supermarket. Unsurprisingly, McGinlay has been quoted in local media stirring things up ahead of the weekend meeting.

The way this season has played out for Wolves, I do not think for one minute that anyone at Molineux would be surprised if Bolton have a temporary registration for the loathed McGinlay and Coyle sent him on with 5 minutes to go; taking out three Wolves players, scoring a 96th minute winner and leaving with the Man of The Match award…

Fortune and rank bad management has conspired to throw these two arch rivals together at this point in the season with both sides desperate for points in the hope of avoiding the drop. Victory is paramount, but bizarrely, the increasingly clueless sounding Wolves boss Terry Connor is quoted in the local paper as saying this is not a ‘must win’ game.

This utterance either demonstrates supreme belief in his side or downright delusion, as surely a loss for Wolves will cast them so far adrift at the bottom of the table that there is no way back?

There is also Bolton’s hilarious insistence that they are the one and only Wanderers, a fact that is easily invalidated by not just Wolverhampton Wanderers, but also Wycombe. If Wolves are indeed relegated, then there is almost no other club on earth Wolves fans would rather join them back in the second tier than the lesser team from Greater Manchester.

It is particularly sad that Saturday sees the end of the road for the Wolves fanzine ‘A Load of Bull’. One of the original football ‘zines, it thrived for 23 years, 158 issues, enlightened half-times for many fans and brightened long journeys home for others.

Dave Worton and Charles Ross – Respect.


For a rather different spin on McGinlay, read this

The Greatest Goal I Ever Saw: Bolton Wanderers’ John McGinlay vs Wolves

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