Bolton Season Guide
Nickname: The Trotters
Ground: Reebok Stadium, Burnden Way, Lostock, Bolton, BL6 6JW.
Ticket Office: 0871 871 2932
Home - White shirts, dark blue shorts and white socks
Away - All light blue
Soccernet's Bolton Wanderers page | Full squad and player profiles | 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 - Impressive||Position: 8th|
Bolton, as usual, began last season as one of the hot tips for relegation and they did little to suggest anything other than a struggle after being thrashed 4-0 in their opening two away fixtures - at Manchester United and Portsmouth. And when they were beaten 6-2 at Manchester City in mid-October they had won only one game. But, spurred on by the superb displays of Jay-Jay Okocha and free signing Kevin Davies, Bolton improved as the season went on to achieve their highest ever top-flight finish. They won five games in a row at the end of the campaign, with only a final day defeat at Fulham preventing them from being placed seventh. The Trotters also came close to picking up some silverware but were edged out by Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup final.
|Transfers - In and Out|
Gary Speed (Newcastle) - £750,000
Tal Ben Haim (Maccabi) - Undisclosed
Radhi Jaidi (Esperance) - Undisclosed
Michael Bridges (Leeds) - Free
Les Ferdinand (Leicester) - Free
Julio Cesar - Free
Fernando Hierro - Free
Blessing Kaku - Free
El Hadji Diouf (Liverpool) - Loan
Andy Oakes (Derby) - Loan
Simon Charlton (Norwich) - £250,000
Per Frandsen (Wigan) - Free
Mario Jardel (Newell's OB) - Free
Jeff Smith (Port Vale) - Free
Emerson Thome (Wigan) - Free
Danny Livesey (Blackpool) - Loan
Ibrahim Ba - Released
Youri Djorkaeff - Released
Gerald Forschelet - Released
Steve Howey - Released
Lord-Kangana N'Diwa - Released
Dwight Pezzarossi - Released
|First Choice XI|
GK Jussi Jaaskelainen; RB Nicky Hunt, CB Fernando Hierro, CB Bruno N'Gotty, LB Julio Cesar; RM Stelios Giannakopoulos, CM Ivan Campo, CM Gary Speed, CM Kevin Nolan, LM Jay-Jay Okocha; CF Kevin Davies.
|The Gaffer - Sam Allardyce|
Allardyce is one of the most popular managers in the game. He's a man with true character, be it with or without his moustache. The former Blackpool and Notts County boss certainly doesn't hold back in his criticism of officials - he was recently fined £1,500 for comments about referee Mike Riley following his team's defeat in last season's League Cup final. Allardyce has carved out a reputation as a miracle worker in the transfer market, picking up some of the game's high profile misfits, such as Okocha and Campo, and revitalised their careers. After such an impressive league placing last season it will be difficult for Big Sam to produce a repeat, but he has confounded the critics so far and only a fool would suggest he can't take this team onto bigger things.
|Player to Watch - Fernando Hierro|
When Hierro was lured by the cash of Qatar 12 months ago few expected him to return to one of Europe's major leagues. The 36-year-old is something of a gamble for Bolton, as in his final season at Real Madrid, 2002/03, he was beginning to look as though his best was well in the past. Even so, capturing the former Spain skipper is a major coup for Trotters. He spent 14 years at the Bernabeau and is a true Real legend, but he will have to adapt to life in the Premiership with immediate effect and it remains to be seen whether his ageing legs will stand up to the test.
|Young Gun - Ricardo Vaz Te|
Vaz Te was snapped up by Bolton last summer - and the Trotters felt they has found a gem. The striker made an immediate impact, scoring eight goals in his first three Academy games, and that led to him being called into the first team squad for the Carling Cup tie against Gillingham shortly after his 17th birthday. He made his debut for Bolton in January 2004 as a substitute in the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Tranmere Rovers, and then started the subsequent replay. The Portugal Under-17 international's Premiership debut came against Middlesbrough in April. He was handed a full squad number for this season by Sam Allardyce, although he was ruled out of the opening matches with a knee injury.
|From the Terraces|
Last year Sam and the lads did a great job. Eighth in the Premiership is quite an achievement given the amount of money that we're talking about.
One key thing this year is that Bolton need to get more TV coverage. Despite having the best season ever and reaching the League Cup Final, Bolton got one of the smallest shares of the TV revenue last year.
More TV coverage not only means more money directly, it also means more interest in the club, which translates to ticket sales, replica strips and all that crap that directly impacts the bottom line. Plus, as an ex-pat living in the USA, I want to be able to see more games.
So I'm looking forward to some good games, hopefully a few upsets, maybe a decent cup run and with luck we'll find a footing in the top half of the table instead of fighting for 17th.
The last thing we want is to set our sights on Europe and end up 'doing a Leeds'. I've been a Bolton fan for over 30 years. One day I'd love to see them win the league and play in Europe, but I'm in no hurry.
|Best - UEFA Cup||Worst - Relegation battle|
One of Bolton's problem has always been the lack of a leading goalscorer, and that is something that will prevent them from making further progress. Only Birmingham, of the clubs which finished in the top half, scored fewer goals than Bolton last term. No player reached double figures in the league, and the signings of Les Ferdinand and Michael Bridges do not look likely to rectify that. Bolton will continue to be one of the underdogs, simply becuase they rarely spend money in the transfer market. But Gary Speed is a shrewd acquisition and his experience alone can help the club again finish in the top half. The Trotters could also go close in the Carling Cup once again.