Focus On… John McGinlay

A beautiful cross fires across the Charlton Athletic penalty area into in the path of the greatest goal poacher in all of Lancashire, who duly fires it into the back of the net. Bolton Wanderers fans celebrate in raptures- knowing fittingly that John McGinlay would be the last goalscorer on the hallowed turf of Burnden Park. A bittersweet moment: Wanderers were promoted as Champions… but this was the last moment ever to be played at their celebrated home. 

Once again, your friends at The Bolton Reporter are taking you back through the mists of time to a happier time for Bolton Wanderers. A time when Bolton destroyed Division 1 (Championship) and were looking forward to a sparkling new ground. We are focusing on one man in particular… one of Bolton’s favourite adopted sons… Super John McGinley…

Hailing from the backwaters of Inverness in Scotland, McGinley grew up supporting Celtic. McGinlay kicked about his early career as a relatively successful journeyman striker- turning out for Fort William, Nairn County, Yeovil and Elgin City before settling into English football properly with Shrewsbury Town. Despite his many clubs, McGinley had one common denominator wherever he went… he scored goals and lots of them! After a short period at Bury and Millwall he joined Bolton Wanderers… and claimed the hearts of thousands of Wanderers fans…

After his successful goal scoring career thus far, one thing Trotters fans could be sure of was a glut of goals from the new Scot, however, just how many and how influential he would become was a bonus. His scoring exploits quickly led to his nickname of ‘Super John’ as he struck up a lethal partnership with fellow Scot Andy Walker. The two were crucial goalscorers in the FA Cup 3rd Round tie with holders Liverpool in 1993- the scousers stunned by Wanderers’ white hot play resulting with the Liverpudlians having their fingers burnt as Bolton sent shock waves through Great Britain.

As Bolton rose through the Football League, McGinlay’s reputation as a deadly marksman grew rapidly. More giant killings came- this time against Premier League glamour boys Arsenal and Everton. During this season (1993/4), McGinlay featured prominently, cementing his legacy as a superstar striker, weighing in with 33 goals in all competitions. Rightly so, Bolton gained a much deserved promotion to the Premier League in 1994/5 after the best play off final ever- 4-3 v Reading. Also, in a turn up for the books actually reached the League Cup Final in the same year, unfortunately they went down 2-1 to Liverpool who must have been incredibly wary following their 2-0 giant killing a couple of years previously. 

Despite suffering relegation in their first year in the Premier League, Wanderers bounced straight back, demolishing the First Division in 1996/7. Fittingly, the last two goals ever scored at Burnden Park were scored by Super John McGinlay. The humble Scot had come along way since the days of turning out for Fort William at the age of 16. He had become a Bolton Legend- forever remembered… forever loved. Notably, he also was selected 13 times for his native Scotland, scoring 4 times during his time with Bolton Wanderers. The future looked bright for Bolton Wanderers… the Premier League new boys were moving to a brand new stadium on the outskirts of town… the glory days awaited…

What would Wanderers’ fans give to be transported back to those halcyon days?

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