Last week saw the fixtures for the whole EFL announced as the 72 clubs and their fans excitedly looked to social media to find out the key matches for the 2020-21 season, which is just over a fortnight away.
Sure, there’ll be League Cup and Football League Trophy ties to play before the 12th September, but I think we can safely say fans are very keen for the league campaign to get started once again.
Bolton are no exceptions ahead of what will be only the second time in their history that they’ll be competing in the fourth tier of English football.
And it starts with Forest Green Rovers coming to the University of Bolton Stadium on matchday one.
But what has the Whites’ record been like on that first day of the new term since the start of the 21st century?
Let’s take a look shall we…
For those first ten seasons from 2000-01 to 2009-10, all but one of them were spent in the Premiership/Premier League.
On four occasions, the Trotters were successful, with three of them coming at home and one on the road.
However, there were four defeats, which saw two happen back-to-back and the other two take place in front of their own fans.
And the two draws would be spaced out five years apart.
Meanwhile in the second decade, it’s not been as kind to the Wanderers, with two campaigns beginning in the top flight, six starting in the Championship with the remainder in League One (or the Third Division in old money).
Results haven’t been as favourable, with only three wins to show for it.
Worse yet, in the five-year gap between the 4-0 result away to QPR and the 1-0 victory at home to Sheffield United, the club was relegated twice.
On four occasions, the season began on a bad note, with two of those teams going on to get promoted by the end of term.
For the record, it was Watford (in 2014/15) and Wycombe (2019/20).
Incidentally, even though Bolton left Turf Moor with a point on the opening day of the 2013/14 season, Burnley would be elevated to the Premier League after a four-year absence.
Breaking the data down even further into five year stages, there have been two wins and two losses as well as a draw in each time frame, with the exception of the 2010-14 period, where there was only a solitary victory and an extra draw in the mix.
But perhaps the most striking thing about Bolton’s opening day matches is how many of them have been played at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Half of the twenty fixtures have occurred in front of their own fans, with six divided up around the rest of the north (three apiece in the North West and the Midlands) and the remaining 20% taking place in the South East and London.
It can be argued that it’s a good thing that the Whites are playing at home on the opening day after a three-year break, with familiar surroundings perhaps what they need if they hope to get the League Two term off to a winning start.
However, with only one home triumph on the opening day since 2010, there will be a little more pressure on new manager Ian Evatt’s shoulders.
*All information coming courtesy of BurndenAces.co.uk.*