It is with potential sadness and heartbreak that this article from Danny Chadwick is republished on Capsule Social at such worrying times for the club. A club who have been left with their brave teenagers coming up against the men of League One sides in what could be the final weeks of Bolton Wanderers Football Club. The thought that this time in 14 days the supporters of both Bolton and Bury could be left without a club makes me sick.
Looking back specifically at Bolton Wanderers, here is Chaddy’s Lifetime XI, of all the players he’s witnessed over the years, for his beloved Trotters.
This article was originally written in September 2017.
Bolton Wanderers. A club that excited and frustrated Premier League opposition in the 90s and 00s but whose recent history has seen them slip off the pace. But that’s the great thing about football, you always have the history. Here Danny Chadwick discusses his favourite Bolton Wanderers 1-11 from his lifetime. And it sure does bring back some glorious memories, even for a non-Bolton fan.
IN THE STICKS, NUMBER 1…
JUSSI ALBERT JAASKELAINEN
Arguably the best £100,000 Bolton have ever spent. The “Big Finn” spent 15 years at the Reebok producing many fine saves along the way. Partial to a calamity error every now and again but one of the best shot stoppers in the Premiership. Heroically made two penalty saves in a game against Blackburn Rovers and an amazing double save from Paul Scholes and Andy Cole against Manchester united when Bolton won 2-1 at Old Trafford. Also won Save of the Season for his save against one of his future team mates in this list.
Originally signed on a short term loan from Marseille but made the move permanent in 2002 after impressing. Starting off with 2 yellows and a red in his first 6 games it could only get better, and it did! He was a main stay in the heart of the Bolton defence being solid as a rock and putting his heart on the line for the cause.
Spotted playing for Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup, Bolton paid Harbour View £1m to sign him the same year. Gardner spent 14 years at Bolton helping the club get promoted to the Premiership and cementing them as a Premier League club at the time. A pacey left winger who could also play left back, it would have been a scary sight to see him running at you on the pitch. Possibly his greatest moment in a Bolton shirt was scoring the opening goal against Bayern Munich in a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena in the Europa Cup.
One of the best things Gary Megson ever did at Bolton was to sign this man for £5m from Aston Villa. A young, athletic, centre half who could play the ball out from the back. He could also score a few goals from set pieces which is every fantasy football manager’s dream. Having impressed with Bolton in his 4 years he got called up to the England team. Chelsea then turned his head and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, he made the move to London for £7m in January 2012.
How did Bolton ever sign a legend like this? ‘He comes from Real Madrid, he didn’t cost a quid, Hierroo whooah’. Although he was only at the club for one season he showed his class. A multiple La Liga and Champions League winner with Real Madrid he knew how to win. So calm on the ball and hardly had to run anywhere as he read the game so well. Bolton was the last stop in his playing career as he retired in 2005.
Became a fan favourite after signing permanently following his yearlong loan from Real Madrid. Every other kid in Bolton had an Ivan Campo wig showing their support for the best afro/perm in recent football history. Scoring from 45 yards on the opening day of the season against Spurs he started as he meant to go on. Gary Megson did not renew his contract when it expired making him even more hated than he already was.
EL HADJII DIOUF
One of the most controversial footballers to play in the Premier League, EVER. If he wasn’t on your team you hated him but if he was you loved him, so I loved him. Much known for spitting, diving and a shocking haircut, every Bolton fan remembers him more for the performances he put in on the pitch. Could deliver a great set piece. Scored Bolton’s first ever goal in Europe with a diving header from a pin point pass from Nicky Hunt.
Nolan came through the youth team setup at Bolton and was a major success. He was my favourite player as a lad, showing heart and desire to win every ball and cover every inch of grass on the pitch, a born leader. He scored in successive seasons at Old Trafford to win Bolton the 3 points on each occasion. He will always be a Bolton legend. Thanks Nobby.
A World Cup winner with France in 1998. Signing for Bolton turned plenty of heads in a shock move to England. He brought a touch of class to the team and played alongside Okocha and Campo to make a mini dream team. He spent 3 seasons at Bolton helping them secure survival. Scored a wonderful overhead kick against Charlton at the valley to rescue a point.
JAY JAY OKOCHA
So good they named him twice. Another of Sam Allardyce’s wonder signings. Okocha arrived from PSG in 2002 lighting up the Premier League with his skills and flair. Easy on the eye to watch and a pain in the arse to get the ball off. He scored some memorable goals including Goal of the Season for Bolton against West Ham which kept Bolton in the league. Also a brace of free kicks against Aston Villa in the Carling cup Semi-Final with one of them being an absolute screamer. You know you’ve made it when you have your own skills part on Soccer AM.
‘Le Sulk’ signed for Bolton for a then club record fee of £8m. Another HUGE name to pull on the white shirt. He scored his first Bolton goals against his former club Arsenal to help in a 3-1 for the team. His time was short lived in Bolton and a year and half later, scoring 21 goals in 53 games, once again Chelsea came calling and bought him for £15m.