Who the Hell Are You?
Date: Friday 1st September 2006After all the speculation, numerous rejections and panic surrounding Bolton’s summer spending, I’d say it’s turned out alright in the end. With Anelka signed, sealed and delivered, and Quinton Fortune having an impressive debut keeping the current bright spark of English football firmly in his back pocket. It’s all looking quite rosy at the Reebok. Just a few months ago however, it wasn’t the case. After seeing Okocha, N’Gotty and Nakata walk out of the Reeboks’ revolving door, Bolton fans were rightly pessimistic about the chances of ANYONE coming this season, nevermind the half dozen or so young Englishmen Big Sam hoped (or more accurately dreamed) would be arriving to put pen to paper before the World Cup no less. Someone who was signed though was Idan Tal. To zero fanfare, the Israeli completed a deal at the beginning of the year. Joining compatriots Tal Ben Haim and Yossi Bennayoun (*cough* cock *cough*) in the Premiership. Another unknown reportedly on his way to the Reebok was Iranian Andranik Teymourian (hereafter referred to as Andy). Similarly, he did little to capture the imagination of the Bolton support. Andy has just been granted his work permit on appeal to play for the Whites. Playing in leagues that aren’t given TV coverage widely, few Wanderers have seen either play, me included. So I endeavoured to discover more about our new heroes, enlisting the help of webmasters from fansites of Maccabi Haifa and the Iran national team. Idan Tal Best known to English fans, as ‘that bobbins one from Everton’, Idan was destined to be a Goodison Park trivia question after his fairly disastrous spell with the Toffees. Tal moved on to Rayo Vallecano, where after an even less inspiring spell he returned home, probably wondering where it all went wrong. Returning home rejuvenated Tal, as he grew into a leader for Maccabi Haifa, skilful and determined to correct his failed foray into the big leagues. “He’s a fantastic player who has a huge effect on his team. He’s probably the best Israeli player that could be found right now.” In 2005 Tal helped Haifa to league success, getting his hands on the player of the season trophy aswell. He proved that he could handle being at a big club, with big expectations, despite the league being of inferior quality. Tal also helped the club capture the lucrative Toto Cup for the first time in four years. Of course, it’s all well and good playing well in ‘minor’ league. But will he be able to adapt and succeed where he failed before? Our expert seems to think so…. “I believe that this time he is going to make it. Making Bolton’s first team within weeks and emerge as one of their most important players. Experience and ambition, along with talent and skill will bring him there. It was very sad to see him leave my team.” High praise indeed. But if his brief yet impressive cameo in the 2-0 defeat at Charlton is a sign of things to come, we may just have a gem on our hands. Andranik Teymourian More of an unknown quantity than Tal, Teymourian comes off the back of an impressive World Cup display, where he grabbed headlines all over Iran with his tearful reaction to the team going out of the competition. Andy began his career like many Iranians playing for Ararat, a club which had fallen on hard times since it’s domination of Iranian football in the 60’s and 70’s. After it’s relegation in the 80’s, the club could no longer keep it’s prime talent, as they were all quickly snatched up by larger clubs in the country. Teymourian was no exception, after breaking through the youth ranks he was snapped up by Esteghlal Tehran. However with a glut of talent available to the club the young midfielder was loaned out East to Abu Muslem in 2004. At Muslem his talent immediately got him into the first team where he struck up a great partnership with other Iranian youngster Mojtaba Jabbari, as they guided Muslem to first the Cup final, and then to their highest ever top flight finish. “With his darting midfield runs, long accurate passing and tremendous shooting power. It is my opinion that Andy is one of the most talented players in Iran.” As the Golden Boys of Iran, both Teymourian and Jabbari were included in this summers World Cup squad. However it was Teymourian’s youthful dedication that allowed him to break his way past more experienced players into the first team. His impressive displays in the competition led to Big Sam moving quickly to sign him, showing his desire by fighting for his turned down work permit application to be overturned. “Many gifted and skilful Iranian players have not reached their peak or full potential due to lack of professional coaching and guidance in addition to the poor quality of league competition in Iran. Teymourian can be an exception as he has the potential to be an excellent team player in EPL. His strength lies in his elegance and technique rather than physical power, although Teymourian is not a player who is afraid to tackle. He reads the game very well and can play multi-roles in the midfield and flanks. He definitely needs conditioning to the fast pace of the English Premierleague which I am sure Bolton coaches will provide.” As with Tal, the question remains can he cut it in Europe’s most competitive league? According to this dedicated follower of Iranian football, the answer is a resounding yes. “Like any import from outside Europe, Teymourian can fail to deliver if he is not used in competitive football or alternatively if he fails not settle well living in England. Long period of the so called bench-warming could just kill the enthusiasm and the talent of this player. Good luck to Bolton and kudos to Sam Allardyce for spotting this talented player.”