They Played For Both Clubs - El Hadji Diouf

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In the first of a new feature, I thought it might be interesting to look back at famous players who have "played for both clubs". Whilst this might sound like an informative and entertaining piece about old players, really I just wanted to spend a bit of time back in the world of El Hadji Diouf.

El Hadji Ousseynou Diouf was born in January 1981 in Dakar, Senegal. Diouf was a prodigious talent at youth level, and would move to France at a young age to play for Sochaux, where he would make 16 professional appearances in the 1998/99 season. The following year, Diouf would move to Rennes and then on to Lens in 2000 where he would begin to make an impact on the world scene.

Diouf's performances in the 2002 World Cup for Senegal prompted then-Liverpool manager Gerard Houiller to abandon plans to sign on-loan PSG striker Nicolas Anelka, and instead to send £10m Lens' way in return for Diouf's services. Liverpool had finished second in the previous season to eventual champions Manchester United. Diouf began his Liverpool career in style, scoring twice on his Anfield debut in a 3-0 win against Southampton.

However, this excellent start was not followed up by more goals - with his next coming in March 2003 in a win against, ironically, Bolton Wanderers. Diouf made headlines in the next game in which he played, which was in the UEFA Cup against Celtic at Parkhead. The game finished 1-1, but headlines were made following the game when it emerged that Diouf had spat at a member of the Celtic crowd. He received a two-match ban from UEFA.

Diouf then failed to score throughout the rest of the 2002/03 and 2003/04 season and had become unpopular with the Liverpool supporters due to perceived attitude problems. Liverpool finally got rid of Diouf at the beginning of the 2004/05 season when he was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers, under the tutelage of Sam Allardyce.

Taking the no.21 shirt, Diouf immediately began to make an impression on his new supporters, who loved his all-action and committed performances. Diouf would be Bolton's top scorer that season with nine goals, as the club finished in sixth position in the Premier League. The player would then have his loan move made permanent in the summer for an undisclosed fee, which I can disclose as a club record £4m, breaking the record which was previously set at £3.5m with the Colin Todd signing of Dean Holdsworth from Wimbledon.

Diouf would continue his good form into his first season as a permanent member of the team, with the club eventually finishing in eight place following a late-season slump which coincided with intense speculation that manger Sam Allardyce was to take over the vacant England job. Diouf scored four goals in 20 appearances that season. He would score five in 35 games in the 2006/07 season, which would see the club finish in seventh spot and qualify for the UEFA Cup. Three games before the end of the season, Allardyce announced his resignation from the club, being replaced by assistant Sammy Lee, who took the positives from the situation.

2007/08 would be a season of struggle for Bolton Wanderers, with a 16th place finish and the firing of Sammy Lee which brought about the appointment of Lord Voldemort in October. Wanderers survived following a late season surge in form, culminating in Diouf's goal against Sunderland which prompted a 2-0 win and which guaranteed the club's safety. He conducted a personal lap of honour following the game, having said beforehand that he was to leave Bolton, despite being under contract.

Diouf would indeed leave the Reebok Stadium that summer, though not to the "big European clubs" who he had previously claimed were interested in his services, but instead to Sunderland for £2.5m. His time at Sunderland was brief, with just 16 appearances and no goals. Memorably, he provoked the ire of his new club's fans at the end of a defeat to Bolton Wanderers by spending ten minutes lapping up the adulation of his former devotees.

Diouf was then reunited with his mentor Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers, where he would go on to make 62 appearances over three seasons, scoring four goals. Diouf was released in 2011 following his late return to first team training. He then pitched up at SPL side Glasgow Rangers, where he continued his fiery form by scrapping with Celtic captain Scott Brown and manager Neil Lennon, further endearing himself to the Rangers fans. He left the club with a league winners medal following 22 appearances and two goals.

Diouf was then handed the chance to join up with Allardyce for a third time, but his trial at West Ham United, which eventually came to nothing - he then signed for Championship side Doncaster Rovers on a short-term contract in October 2011, where he was made captain. Doncaster were relegated that season and Diouf joined Wanderers' opponents this Saturday, Leeds United, on a free transfer. Diouf claimed that he was happy to join Leeds despite history between him and Leeds United manager Neil Warnock, which previously involved Warnock calling him "lower than a sewer rat" after an incident in a game between Blackburn Rovers and Warnock's Queens Park Rangers. Diouf has remained at Leeds ever since.

Diouf has his own "Controversies" section on his Wikipedia bio - and despite being a colourful character throughout his career there is no doubt that he is still beloved of the Bolton Wanderers fanbase. Rumours of his return to the Reebok last season were warmly greeted by supporters, and though the move failed to materialize, it showed the affection in which the player is held at the club. I look forward to his appearance at the Reebok, but hope he has a stinker because make no mistake, he's a dangerous opponent.

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