Hall of Shame #31: Bolton Wanderers 7-0 Swindon Town
Entry #31 into the Swindon Town Hall of Shame is a thumping defeat at Bolton Wanderers, which was also the scene of Stuart Mac’s tears live on air…
Early on the morning of 8th March 1997 Swindon Town were sitting 12th in Division One and four points off the play-offs. After promotion the year before, Steve McMahon’s side were a jekyll and hyde act, winning the majority of games as hosts, yet 12 of 18 away matches were defeats.
So what could possibly go wrong when they travelled to Burden Park to face a top of the table and free-scoring Bolton Wanderers, led by future Town boss Colin Todd..?
As it turned out the game was a training match for Bolton with shooting practice throughout. The Town defence of Mark Robinson, Gary Elkins*, Marlon Broomes and Ian Culverhouse just stood still and watched the Wanderers onslaught.
*Elkins was actually swiftly dismissed after the kick-off following Alan Thompson’s 31st minute opener for Bolton. Elkins was first booked for fouling John McGinlay, then a second offence six minutes later on Nathan Blake secured the red; his second red in five games.
To be honest I can’t be bothered to describe all seven goals, just watch them strike the back of the net and leave it to Steve McMahon to sum up the result…
“It’s hard to criticise when they are not good enough. Three or four of them are not up to it. You can’t have a go at them. It was men against boys. It’s been like that for much of the season. I’ve just got to get some men in and not boys.” Steve McMahon speaking post match
With nine games remaining in the 1996/97 season Town would finish nowhere near the play-offs. Swindon won only once more, secured a goalless draw twice and lost six, scoring only two goals and conceding 17. The slump to finish 19th would highlight the failures of McMahon’s management that would really show themselves from November 1997. Meanwhile, Bolton won the title at a canter with 98 points and 100 goals scored.
The result at Burnden Park proved too much for BBC Wiltshire Sound’s match commentator Stuart Mac. He had recently announced he was leaving to travel around the world in a new, and successful, career on the Cruises and the Bolton game was due to be one of his final games.
Stuart just couldn’t stop crying on air as he described the several Bolton goals in his post-match summary to Shaun Hodgetts. These tears ensured Stuart made the national newspapers, making page 3 of the Sun and a phone-in appearance on ‘The Big Breakfast’ on the following week.