My Best & Worst of the Wanderers

Date: Tuesday 8th March 2005

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Our resident evil tells us about his heroes and villians... From Sasa to Ba...

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Total Posts: 2743

Total Articles: 12

Member Since:
25th October 2004

As the resident genius of the site, I have been asked for my opinion on the debate of Best and Worst players ever to play for Bolton Wanderers. I started watching the Whites in the early 1990s, so my selection is taken from then onwards. I am aware that some bad ones and some great ones existed before then, but that’s just tough. Oh, and Nat wouldn’t make the list. He said himself: two great wingers meant all he had to do was stand and let it hit him. The Best There are obvious names that will jump out at everyone - I shall include some of them, but some less obvious choices are here too. As far as goalkeepers go, BWFC have only had two real regular 'keepers in my time. While many will rave about Jussi, I don’t think of him as a great. However, at his peak, Keith Branagan was one of the best around. He was a vital part of the team that won promotion under Bruce Rioch. The save he made in the play-off final when 2-0 down was the turning point and has been worth millions to the club. Defending has been a real problem area over the years. No full-backs come close to the list. Gudni Bergsson, without a doubt, deserves a mention. He did not overly impress when he first came and played full back, but he came into his own as a central defender. Steady - reliable - consistent: all words that encompass the Icelandic Legend. Current players like Bruno are not a patch on Gudni. He did not make the mistakes that Bruno often does. Ben Haim is young and may well develop into a great defender - but it's early days. Other good defenders like Gerry Taggart in Division One, were exposed when in the top flight. Gudni made the transition with ease. One unsung hero that deserves a mention has to be Simon Coleman. Very steady at the back in the promotion year. Again, injury and age took its toll, but the guy was quality. And who can forget his debut goal at Turf Moor (9 men, we only need 9 men). Of our midfielders - Sasa Curcic has to make this list. He may have been a one-season wonder, before going mental - asking to be paid in women and beer instead of money - but what a one season that was. When you consider that the team around him was damn awful, Sasa shone like a beacon in the desert. He was class and he scored some amazing goals (Chelsea being especially memorable); but the number of mazy dribbles that had the fans wooing was even greater than the next player mentioned. Jay-Jay Okocha only just makes this list. When on-song, a joy to watch. The most skilful player in the world on his day. Some of the goals, as well as his showboating skills, make him deserve a place on my list. But lots of under-achieving performances, along with poor managerial tactics (long throws in particular), have meant that Jay-Jay has not fulfilled his potential. This maybe explains why he never really made it at a top club. John Sheridan is in my list and you will probably snigger. But he came into the side in the promotion year that saw us get 98 points. His passing and control in the midfield was sublime. Even aged 40+, he was still spraying passes around at Oldham. For the job he was in the team to do, I think Sherry was amazing. I will include Youri Djorkaeff as a midfielder as he never really played as an out and out striker. More influential than Jay-Jay, on the pitch and off it. Perhaps the first real big name to join BWFC. Now the headline makers: the strikers. Andy Walker for me was the best outside the top flight. Had he not had that serious injury, he would have left BWFC and made a name for himself at the very top level. The guy was more than a goalscorer, he was a genius who read the game and created as much as he scored. He was the first BWFC player that I saw score a goal (Huddersfield at home). The guy is a legend. His strike partner, John McGinlay, was not as talented as Andy, but every bit as important in the rise of BWFC. His goals were free flowing, but he also boosted morale at the club and became a cult hero. The way he mocked away fans, and had genuine joy when he scored, will always live long in my memory. While Super John never really made waves in the Premiership - one man did. Michael Ricketts. OK, so he is now a fat, lazy waster, but for that season and a half he was quality. His pace, power and vision were awesome. He may be hated by many Bolton fans now but, in his prime, he was great, and the only Bolton player in recent years to play for England . Other players discussed on the forum: Per Frandsen – hard working always, but no more than an average midfield player. Eidur Gudjohsen – yes, he may be a top striker now, but some people obviously have short memories. He was OK when in the ranks of Bolton but missed so many chances. He was not the complete article when he was with us. Fab DeFreitas – makes me laugh how this guy got a mention in the first player. Absolutely useless. So my top 5 Best Players Ever to Play for Bolton Wanderers are: 5. John McGinlay 4. Jay Jay Okocha 3. Youri Djoraeff 2. Gudni Bergsson 1. Andy Walker The Worst Hmmmm - well this is actually easier than the list above. Lots of shoddy players to poke fun, or even cringe, at over the years while I have been supporting the Whites. Starting at the back: Peter Shilton made me laugh. OK, so he was way past his best, but that didn’t stop the 4,000 away fans at Stoke from shouting ‘Englands Number One’ as he replaced the sent off first choice keeper. The legend had a penalty to face against his old club. One outcome surely?......He slumped to the floor making no attempt to dive in the right, if any, direction. He truly was pants and didn't improve. Two other 'keepers get a mention. One of them is Jurgen Sommer. He was an American who came to help us in the FA Cup amidst an injury crisis. He got injured after only a few minutes, and was....well... shite. I also have to include Kevin ‘on target and you score’ Poole. Again, not his fault - past his best but whenever we have had to call on him, he has let us down badly. A real poor excuse for a keeper. How bad must Donovan Ricketts have been? At the back, there is a plethora of crap to choose from. Steve McAnespie looked like a little boy in a man's game. He couldn’t tackle, pass or do anything right. The worst 45 minutes ever seen by any player at any level came at Molineux one Wednesday night. He was absolutely dire - you had to laugh or you would cry. On current form, Nicky Hunt would be in here, but last season was good, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Djibril Diawara was signed as a defender/midfielder. He is the only player who attempted each tackle with two feet at waist height. He did make me laugh with his exaggerated running style and over emphasised gestures to officials. But as a player - terrible. John O’Kane was another player who failed to impress every single time he played for Bolton, at any level. Kostas Konstantanidis was a player with a great reputation. Sadly, he didn’t produce this on the pitch. He was poor, but not quite as bad as Steve Howey. Steve was the ultimate cart-horse. He cost us several goals in his handful of appearances. He couldn’t head the ball - which at 6’2’’ isn’t too clever. He was slow, had no timing to speak of and had nothing to offer at any level. Was he ever any good? Midfield also throws up a list of utter garbage. Ibrahim Ba starts us off in true shoddy fashion. One of a select few to be substituted after coming on as a substitute. His passing was atrocious. I would like to think his performances were simply due to lack of effort, but it wasn’t. He was just abysmal. Akin Bulent also deserves a mention. Not sure he was that bad, but Sam didn’t like him or his attitude. Surely the most disappointing Bolton player given all his hype. One player who was bad week-in week-out, but always seemed to get a game, was Franck Passi. In fact, we actually re-signed him after his old club didn’t want him back. Not quite sure what attributes he brought to Bolton. Oh yeah - I remember now.....NONE!!!! Perhaps the player with the most appearances on my list is Gareth Farrelly. A handful of decent games did not hide the fact that he was slow, soft, and couldn’t pass a ball 2 yards. Wayne Burnett ‘aka The Crab’ was a low league player out of his depth. He regularly got the ball, ran the full width of the pitch with his head down, then blasted it aimlessly into the Manny Road. Nicky Summerbee is in the list as perhaps the laziest player ever to wear a Bolton shirt. The guy was lazy, negative and really offered no threat to the opposition at all. How did he get so many games? OK - let’s look up front. A host of useless crap here too. Henrik Pedersen is just about here. He has a decent goals record now and then, so we can’t be too critical, but I think he is probably guilty of missing more open goals and clear cut chances than any other striker. Akinora Nishizawa and Mario Jardel are both two strikers who brought very little and achieved even less. Chris Armstrong too falls into that category. We presume they were bad but as they didn’t get many games, its unfair to judge them - especially knowing Sam and his (sometimes) biased selection policy. Fredi Bobic has to be in here. OK, you all recall his hat trick, but seem to have blanked out all the other games where he was utter shite, missing hat fulls of chances in each game. Robert Fleck may be the fattest we ever had, although I think Jardel may push him for that accolade. He came after big money moves and lots of goals at Norwich and Chelsea. Sadly he was a mere shadow of his former self. Bo Hansen, while a comedy genius, must go on the list for the same reasons as Henrik. Other players discussed on the forum: Andy Todd – I think he was actually our best defender the second time we won promotion. So my top 5 Worst Players Ever to Play for Bolton Wanderers are: 5. Djibril Diawara 4. Nicky Summerbee 3. Steve McAnespie 2. Steve Howey 1. Ibrahim Ba

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