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Bolton v Hull: They Played for Both Clubs - Stelios!

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Everyone's favourite Greek

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Another matchday, another article from your mates at LOV.

This time, it's a look at the career of one Στέλιος Γιαννακόπουλος. Or Stelios, to you and me.

Born in Athens in 1974, Stelios Giannakopoulos turned pro in 1992, turning out for Ethnikos Asteras in the Greek Second Divison. Immediately emerging from the shadows of his famous footballing family, he made his name scoring six goals in 32 appearances during his debut season.

This form earned him a move to Paniliakos F.C. in the top flight, where 26 goals over three seasons in the top flight established Stelios as one of the most promising up-and-comers in the Greek game.

He moved on again in 1996, this time to one of Greek football's big two sides - Olympiacos F.C. There he became a key component of a wildly successful team winning six titles in six seasons - 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He also made his debut for the national team during this period, making his international bow in March 1997 in a friendly against Cyprus. His first international goal came almost two years later in February 1999 in a friendly against Belgium.

He left Greece for Bolton and the Premier League in 2003, having made a total of 189 appearances and scoring 63 goals in all competitions for Olympiacos.

Heavily scouted by then-Bolton Wanderers boss Sam Allardyce, Stelios only scored twice during his first season in English football, but settled in well and was admired by supporters due to his all-action and committed endeavours.

His best years came between 2004 and 2006 where his lung-busting runs from midfield combined with a knack for being in the right place at the right time, notching 16 goals over the course of two seasons. Wanderers rebuffed approaches from Manchester City and Liverpool during this time, with Stelios repaying Wanderers' faith in him by signing a new contract and expressing his desire to stay at the club. What a man.

He also famously won the 2004 European Championship tournament with Greece in one of the biggest shocks in the international game. That he welcomed his son onto the field to celebrate with him whilst draped in a Bolton Wanderers kit only endeared him further to the fans.

Although his form and playing time dropped in 2007/8, he remained popular amongst supporters. At the end of the season Stelios was not offered a new contract and was released by the club. In September 2008 he joined ex-Bolton colleague Phil Brown, now in charge at Hull City that they had signed Stelios on a one-year deal. Despite his top-flight pedigree he only made two appearances for the club before heading back to Greece to see out his playing career at AE Larissa. He retired from the professional game in 2010.

Upon retiring he took up various roles at the Greek PFA, combining this with a short-lived stint managing his former side Paniliakos in 2012.

He has most recently been linked with a takeover at the Reebok Stadium where his name is still cherished amongst supporters. With reported links to a consortium involved with North American backing he would be a popular choice to take over from the present Chairman Phil Gartside upon completion of the buyout deal.

Whatever happens with him in the future, one thing is certain - the name Stelios will always bring a smile to my face when remembering one of the key components of our mid-2000s heydey.