Bolton Season Guide
Nickname: The Trotters
Ground: Reebok Stadium, Burnden Way, Lostock, Bolton, BL6 6JW.
Ticket Office: 0871 871 2932
Home - All white
Away - Red shirts with black sleeves, black shorts, red socks
Soccernet's Bolton Wanderers page | Full squad | Fixture list|
Soccernet's Bolton Wanderers Correspondent
Official Bolton Wanderers Website
Fan site - BWFC4U
Fan site - Unofficial Trotters
Supporters' Club site - London Whites Online
|Last Season - Down to the wire||Position: 17th|
It was a rollercoaster ride, but the Trotters managed to hold on to their Premiership status - with West Ham relegated with a record total of 42 points. Without the blistering start of the 2001/02 season, it always looked to be tough for Sam Allardyce's men. But they, just like the Hammers, found their form after Christmas to put together a superb run of results. The vast majority of the pundits wrote off Bolton, favouring the star-studded West Ham ahead of the battling Trotters, but victory over Middlesbrough on the final day of the season secured a third successive stay in the top flight. Bolton, who paid little attention to either cup competition in fielding under-strength sides, had Jay-Jay Okacha and loan signing Florent Laville to thank for their fine run.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Florent Laville (Lyon) - £500,000
Ibrahim Ba (AC Milan) - Free
Ivan Campo (Real Madrid) - Free
Kevin Davies (Southampton) - Free
S Giannakopoulos (Olympiakos) - Free
Mario Jardel (Sporting) - Free
Rhys Powell (Leicester) - Free
Emerson Thome (Sunderland) - Free
Ricardo Vaz Te (Farense) - Free
Glen Little (Burnley) - Loan
Chris Armstrong (Wrexham) - Free
Leam Richardson (Blackpool) - Free
Mike Whitlow (Sheff United) - Free
Delroy Facey (Burnley) - Loan
Gareth Farrelly (Burnley) - Loan
Gerald Forchelet (Chateauroux) - Loan
Danny Livesey (Bolton) - Loan
N'Diwa Lord Kanagna (Oldham) - Loan
Jonathan Walters (Crewe) - Loan
Chris Downey - Released
Stig Tofting - Released
Gudni Bergsson - Retired
Colin Hendry - Retired
|First Choice XI|
22-Jussi Jaaskelainen; 2-Anthony Barness, 5-Bruno N'Gotty, 17-Florent Laville, 3-Simon Charlton; 7-Stelios Giannakopoulos, 8-Per Frandsen, 11-Ricardo Gardner; 10-Jay-Jay Okocha, 6-Youri Djorkaeff; 13-Mario Jardel.
|The Gaffer - Sam Allardyce|
Sam Allardyce has emerged as one of the best managers in the Premiership, leading his unfancied side to safety while attracting some of the game's bigger stars in the process. He began his coaching career as a member of the backroom staff at both Preston North End and Sunderland before managing Limerick. His first appointment in England was with Blackpool, transforming the side into Second Division play-off contenders. 'Big Sam' then went to Notts County, winning the Third Division title, before controversially resigning to take over from Colin Todd at Bolton, where he had a successful playing career, on his 45th birthday. In keeping Bolton in the top flight for a third successive season, Allardyce has achieved what few thought possible. He remains a popular boss, never afraid to speak his mind and certainly not the referee's best friend.
|Player to Watch - Jay-Jay Okocha|
Nigerian international Jay-Jay Okocha is the most expensive African player ever, having cost more than £14m when he signed for PSG four years ago. But for a player obviously laden with talent and skill he fails to deliver too often. That was the case when Okocha came to Bolton last summer. He took his time to settle in the Premiership, but it was his exploits in the second half of last season which dragged Bolton to safety. The midfielder himself has admitted that this season may prove to be more difficult for him - opposing sides will surely look to to snuff out his threat. Okocha's form in the last few months of the campaign saw him finish as the club's joint top scorer, with Youri Djorkaeff, Henrik Pedersen and Michael Ricketts, on seven goals. He must now look to banish the tag of inconsistency and help Bolton to a fourth consecutive season in the top flight - his influence will be central to the club's hopes.
|Young Gun - Nicky Hunt|
Bolton have a pretty dismal record of bringing youngsters through the ranks. Even Kevin Nolan, who was selected in this category two years ago, was actually groomed by Liverpool before making the switch to the Reebok Stadium. Nolan perhaps remains the best young player at the club, but at the age of 21 is very much on the cusp of that category. One player who could make the breakthrough is 19-year-old defender Nicky Hunt. The Bolton-born lad impressed greatly on the pre-season tours of Ireland and Malta, and although he picked up an injury on the latter journey he will be fit for the start of the season. Hunt emerged as a right-back in Ireland, although he has played much of his career as a central defender, and could well get his chance with the departures of Gudni Bergsson and Paul Warhust in the summer. He actually made his debut two years ago against Sheffield United, but this season could finally see him make an impression on the first team.
|From the terraces|
Rodney Marsh says were going down, for the third season in a row - we've heard it all before, been there done it and bought the season ticket. West Ham may have been too good - but we were better! Shall we copyright the 'staying up' phrase?
The press may be sharpening their pens and predicting doom and gloom, but I for one trust in Sam to deliver Premiership salvation - and maybe even a mid-table berth.
By Lisa Knight, from London Whites Online.
One of these years, we are going to start a Premiership season not favourites for the dreaded drop to the Nationwide. Then again, I doubt it. Once more the so-called experts have already decided that we are destined for a bottom three finish, yet I would suggest to them that they had a closer look at the squad being built at the Reebok Stadium by Sam Allardyce.
With the excellent Florent Laville signed on a permanent basis along with Ivan Campo, Sam has had a busy summer and has also bought well in Greek international Stelios Giannakopoulos who looks capable of chipping in with a few goals from midfield.
And expect to be hearing a lot more from young Jeff Smith, who is set to play a part in the first team this season. Relegation - sorry, not interested anymore. Prediction - mid-table.
By Dave Pilkington, from Fans FC.
|Best - Mid-table||Worst - Relegation|
Bolton will be among the pundits' picks for relegation yet again this season, and the pressure will certainly be on the big names to produce. Allardyce will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last season's dismal start, which saw them win only two of their opening 12 games and leave them in a battle against the drop from the off. Bolton simply must get out of the blocks much quicker than that this term, although an opening day trip to Old Trafford is daunting - even if they have won there in each of the past two seasons. A good start could well be the difference between a mid-table finish and a return to the Nationwide League, and with Charlton, Middlesbrough, Wolves and Birmingam all at the Reebok early doors the opportunity is there.