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My Greatest Ever Bolton Wanderers XI: Jamie

Jamie puts together his greatest Wanderers XI which would without a doubt beat anyone else’s…

Ivan Campo heads home Bolton's second in a 2-0 win over Liverpool in 2006.
Ivan Campo heads home Bolton's second in a 2-0 win over Liverpool in 2006.
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Goalkeeper: Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Who else could it be but Jaaskelainen? One of the greatest goalkeepers to play Premier League football and defiantly the best I have ever seen in a Bolton Wanderers shirt!

Jussi was one of the key players in Bolton’s 11 year Premier League stay. He pulled off amazing saves such as the double save which saw him nominated for save of the 20 seasons.

Left Back: Ricardo Gardiner.

Gardiner has to be the man here for me. Bolton have not been blessed with too many great full-backs over recent years. Which means if it was not for Gardiner I don’t really know who would go here…

But Gardiner put in so many years of great service for the club. He created many irreplaceable memories such as a goal in the play-off final and at the Allianz Arena.

Centre Backs: Gary Cahill and Gudni Bergsson.

Cahill is a great player. I always felt he was overrated while at Bolton but that is no reflection on his undoubted talent. He was overrated in much the same way as Wayne Rooney is overrated in my view, a very very good player but just not as good as people think. Cahill has gone on to win every club honour available at Chelsea and captain England which are both no mean feat and is something of a shoo in here.

Bergsson was at Bolton just at the beginning of my time as a supporter so I don’t remember much about him. But anyone who can score a goal like this deserves to be in the team right?

Right Back: Bruno N’Gotty.

Nicky Hunt is unlucky to miss out here it has to be said, many I am sure many thought he would be a shoo in but alas no.

N’Gotty is the player who does make the cut on the right hand side though. Rather like with the left back I was not awash with options, but N’Gotty deserves his place nonetheless.

Central Midfielders: Ivan Campo, Gary Speed and Stuart Holden.

The brief was 4-4-2 but we have had such an abundance of quality central midfielders in my time that I felt the need to mix it up a bit.

Beginning with Campo he was possibly the classiest player I have seen in a Bolton shirt. He had an unbelievable passing range with breath taking results. The former Real Madrid player fully merits his inclusion here.

Speed’s arrival at the club coincided with Bolton becoming a top 8 team. I for one do not think that this is a coincidence in the slightest. That fact alone shows what he brought to the club and why he fully merits his inclusion here.

Holden in a way is a hardest to justify having in here. He is the personification of Bolton’s injury woes in recent years.

But his quality and importance has been shown over recent years with his presence so sorely missed the year we dropped out of the top flight. I have no doubt that if it was not for his injury woes Holden would be playing for one of the top clubs in the country right now, and no one would have deserved that success more than him.

Attacking Midfielder: Jay Jay Okocha

There needs to be something linking the midfield and the attack here, and who better to do this than Okocha?

So good they named him twice and possibly the most talented of the players brought into the club by Sam Allardyce. The Nigerian magician would be the creative spark to get the strikers firing.

Strikers: Kevin Davies and Nicholas Anelka

There has been so much said about Davies since his retirement which there is no need to repeat. It goes without saying that no all-encompassing Bolton IX for the last decade or so could be without him.

Staying within my time as a supporter Anelka would partner Davies. Probably the best goal scoring striker of our Premier League years and would have added firepower to just about any team in world football at his peak.

If I were to stray outside my time as a supporter I would have to ask what all time Bolton XI would be complete without Nat Lofthouse? He would be partnered by Kevin Davies in a strike force which would give defenders sleepless nights for months before facing Bolton Wanderers.

I don’t really need to repeat Lofthouse’s achievements to this audience. England’s one time record goal scorer would have been something else with the facilities we have in today’s game. People say Lionel Messi is priceless so I have no idea how you would go about pricing Lofthouse…

Manager: Sam Allardyce

It has to be Big Sam doesn’t it? When the other options for me are the likes of Gary Megson and Dougie Freedman this is probably the easiest part of the team to choose.

Allardyce won 41% of his games while making Bolton into a Premier League force.

Bolton’s consecutive top-eight Premier League finishes between 2003-04 and 2006-07 was a record of consistency only bettered by the big four at the time of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

In addition Allardyce led the club into Europe for the first time in our history and also reached the League Cup final against Middlesbrough. This arguably was the most successful period in Bolton’s history and had us punching a long way above our weight.

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