Bolton Wanderers' most senior member has just about officially left the club this morning as reports flew in saying that he has turned down a two year contract extension at the club. The big Finn will now go onto greener, Premiership pastures as he looks to re-establish himself as a number one keeper. Big Sam is still trying to get the old gang back together so West Ham are an option with West Bromwich Albion on the lookout as well.
Jussi came to Bolton in the 1997/1998 season and very quickly established him as the starting goalkeeper for the men in white. An ACL injury ruled him out of most of the 2000/2001 campaign as Bolton fought for promotion to the Premier League. Jaaskelainen recovered well from the injury though and went on to earn the Goalkeeper of the Year award in 2001/2002.
Jussi had a number of brilliant moments while wearing a Bolton shirt and there might have been none as incredible as his jaw-dropping double save against Manchester United in the 2001/2002 season. You can watch it below with Jussi's heroics starting at the 20 second mark of the video.
The save was so good that it was nominated as one of the best saves in Premier League history. Jussi provided a number of brilliant memories for Bolton fans and I'm sure we all have our favorite but one of my personal favorites was all of the work that he did to keep Mamadou Niang out as Bolton drew Marseille 0-0 in the UEFA Cup during the 2005/2006 season. If you can't pick just one, you should go watch any one of the various highlight videos on YouTube.
While we're sad to see Jussi Jaaskelainen go, we wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors. The Bolton legend will rightly be remembered as such and it'll be hard for anyone to live up to his accomplishments at Bolton. There is no doubt that at 37, his age has caught up with him these past two seasons but we definitely feel that he deserves better than to be a backup in the Championship.
Thank you for everything, Jussi.