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Bolton Wanderers fan dies after collapsing during Saturday’s match

Bolton Wanderers have sadly confirmed that the fan who collapsed in the stands during their match against Cheltenham on Saturday afternoon has passed away. Iain Purslow, aged 71, suffered a suspected cardiac arrest in the first half of the match at the Toughsheet Community Stadium and received CPR on the scene but the efforts of medical staff were unfortunately unsuccessful.

Purslow was rushed to a nearby stadium after the match was halted by referee, Sunny Gill, in the 29th minute before it was then abandoned altogether. On Sunday, Bolton released the following statement:

“Bolton Wanderers are deeply saddened to confirm that the supporter taken ill at yesterday afternoon’s home fixture against Cheltenham Town has passed away.

“Lifelong fan Iain Purslow suffered a suspected cardiac arrest during the first half of the game. The 71-year-old was given sustained CPR treatment by medical staff and paramedics at the stadium before being taken to hospital where he tragically died. Iain, who lives in Oldham, was at the game supporting the Whites with his son Stuart.

“Club Chaplain Phil Mason remained with family members later in the day and the Club will continue to offer the family all the support and care they can – as well as looking to offer support to anyone else impacted by this distressing incident. The thoughts of everyone connected to Bolton Wanderers are with Iain’s family and loved ones at this incredibly sad time.”

bolton fans
Iain Purslow attended Saturday's match with his son before suffering a cardiac arrest – Photo by Icon sport

Purslow to be remembered at Bolton's next match

Bolton have already confirmed that Iain Purslow will be remembered during the club's next home match on Tuesday night. The Trotters are set to face Luton Town in an FA Cup third round replay and a minute's silence or applause is expected before kick off.

Luton are perhaps the most appropriate opponents for such an occasion after their captain, Tom Lockyer, suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch last month. Luton fans have recently funded a special tribute for Lockyer and that could be in place for their next home match against Brighton at the end of the month.

Bolton's opponents on Saturday, Cheltenham, meanwhile, have released their own statement in relation to Iain Purslow. It read:

“Cheltenham Town Football Club are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the supporter who was taken ill at yesterday's away fixture against Bolton Wanderers.

“Iain Purslow, 71, was a lifelong Whites fan and was at the game with his son Stuart, when he suffered a suspected cardiac arrest during the first half. The thoughts of everyone at Cheltenham Town are with Iain's family, loved ones and the Bolton Wanderers community at this deeply sad time.

Football fans slam The Sun's response to the incident

The Sun newspaper has once again come under fire from football supporters after they published a tasteless headline in relation to the incident on Saturday afternoon. The headline read “Footie binned…over ill fan” which has sparked fury online with some people feeling that the paper was insinuating that the incident was minor and that the game should have carried on as normal.

One account on X said: “How distasteful is this headline from The Sun, reporting why Bolton’s game was abandoned yesterday”, while another posted: “What a truly disgusting headline from The Sun. A poor soul at Bolton has a CARDIAC ARREST and CPR in the stands for 20 minutes before being taken to an ambulance. An awful experience for all present, yet this what they come up with. Reprehensible.”

Meanwhile, one Bolton fan suggested that the town follows Liverpool's lead by blacklisting the newspaper from all newsagents in the area.


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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