Season tickets are on their way and the club has confirmed that the upper tiers will remain open this season but is that the right call?
It’s been a month since the 2019/20 League One season started and we finally have news of season tickets at Bolton Wanderers.
On Wednesday, the club announced some initial details about the approaching sale of season tickets including the fact that the UniBol’s upper tiers are to remain open this season.
However, the announcement did mention the fact that fans will face a consultation early next year in regards to a possible closure for next season if the upper tiers are underpopulated during the coming campaign.
But what is the best solution for Wanderers and the club’s fans?
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Up first is the most obvious reason for keeping the upper tiers open, the view.
The elevated position offered in the higher tiers gives fans a better perspective of the match as a whole rather than if they were sat pitchside.
Fans who attended Bolton’s home draw against Coventry will know that the lower tiers of the UniBol don’t offer the best coverage from adverse weather.
Thankfully, on that occasion, the gutsy and passionate display from Bolton’s players made up for what was a truly soaking experience.
Arguably the most important factor in this debate are the fans who have held seats in the UniBol’s upper tiers since the stadium first opened back in 1997.
For many of these fans, coming to watch Bolton has become less about the football in recent years as Wanderers have struggled and more about the social aspect of watching their team.
Displacing these supporters for the sake of better atmosphere would be unfair after years of dedicated and unwavering support.
Disperses the crowd
The biggest problem with opening the upper tiers is that it spreads out the supporters in the stadium and leaves swathes of seats unfilled.
As a result, the atmosphere at the UniBol can sometimes suffer, especially if crowd numbers start to dwindle.
What we’ve seen from having a more compacted crowd in the lower tier is a much livelier atmosphere as fans can rally each other and the players on the pitch.
Stewarding and staffing costs
With Bolton’s finances taking such a hit in the past few years, cost is always something that needs to be kept in mind.
Opening the upper tiers would undoubtedly mean that more stewards and bar staff would be needed and if supporter numbers aren’t that high then it could make opening the upper tiers unprofitable.
While keeping the upper tiers shut would obviously benefit the atmosphere in the stadium, it would be unfair to move fans who have held the same seats at the UniBol for well over 20 years.
Plus, for fans who want to enjoy a better view of the game and stay out of the wind and rain, the upper tiers are the perfect place to sit.
It’s clearly a question of just how many fans Bolton can attract to the stadium during the season that will eventually be the deciding factor.
If Wanderers’ new manager and owners can generate some excitement around the club again, the fans will surely start pouring back into the stadium and keeping the upper tiers open will have been a sensible choice but only time will tell if that is indeed the case.