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They Played For Both Clubs: Wigan Athletic vs Bolton Wanderers

Hopefully you lot have short memories because Chris Manning has already used the focus of my piece today for last season's Bolton/Wigan played for both clubs article. Topically, it should be Emile 'Ivanhoe' Heskey really, but to hell with it. I've started so I'll finish...

Per Frandsen
Per Frandsen
I've made my decision and I'm sticking with another man close to my heart, after my Ivan Campo love-in.

The Danish destroyer, the blonde brawn and brains of our pre-Allardyce era and the mainstay of two promotion winning teams.
A vital cog in the wheel of establishing us as a Premier League side under Big Sam.

Per was born on 6th February 1970 in Copenhagen, or Kjobenhavn to the local Danes.
A strong, goal scoring central midfielder, his youth development was spent at BK Skjold in his local city before transferring to B1903 or Boldklubben 1903, also based in Copenhagen.

Eventually his youth team performances earned him a starting berth at B1903 and 15 goals in 25 games between 1988-90 made French side Lille sit up and take notice, bringing him to the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region to play his football.

Little did young Per realise that when he would return to his former club he would do so in a different guise as KB & B1903, two Copenhagen clubs living in Brondby's shadow, merged to form future Danish giants FC Copenhagen, during Frandsen's stint in Ligue 1.

Three and a half years at Lille bore a very decent return of 19 goals in 109 league games for a midfielder but as the French club were stricken with financial difficulties in 1994, Per was snapped up by the newly formed FC Copenhagen.
It was here where he first teamed up with a diminutive winger who went by the name of Michael Johansen.

Two highly successful seasons for Frandsen personally ensued as FC Copenhagen won the Danish Cup in the 1994/95 season, coasting to a 5-0 victory in the final to secure their first trophy under their new name.

Johansen was actually considered the more talented of the two back then and had been attracting admiring glances from abroad, along with his twin brother and forward, Martin.
After bagging 19 goals in half the amount of games he scored them in at Lille, the mighty Whites stumbled across Frandsen after Colin Todd's Scandinavian scouting team had become one of many who had travelled to see Johansen play and decided he was worth the money they were asking (almost £2 million).

The story goes that Frandsen had not been a target whatsoever but he had stood out so much in that particular game that the head scout cheekily asked if he could bring Frandsen back to England along with his more sought after teammate Johansen.
The off-the-cuff comment turned into a brief discussion and half an hour later a bargain £350,000 fee had mercifully been rubber stamped and we came back from the home of bacon with not only 'smurf', as Johansen became affectionately known, but also with Frandsen.
We must remember to thank that scout as Per became a player who would ultimately prove far more successful than Johansen and be synonymous with the clubs rise to prominence under both Todd and Allardyce.

Frandsen would also go into Bolton folklore for the events that unfolded when he was forced by our Scrooge-like board to venture North up to Jackburn Rovers due to our financial woes after relegation from the Premier League but then found it so depressingly shit there he made us buy him back at gunpoint (this version of events may or may not be true).
This for £150,000 less than the daft inbreds paid for him only 9 months previously after 31 appearances and 5 goals.

His first spell with us yielded 19 goals (a familiar figure for Per!) in 130 league games which included a daisy cutter of a winner against Citeh on his home debut. Such was his limited English at the time, when interviewed by Peter Smith for the club video compilation after that game, Frandsen explained in broken English to Smith that the aim for the season was to be relegated!

Luckily, the opposite happened as we embarked on a record breaking season that brought 101 goals and 98 points as only a Lee Jones last minute equaliser for Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park denied us the magical double of 100 points and 100 goals.
Frandsen weighed in with 5 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions as he was a mainstay of a truly wonderful team full of characters and character that I cherish to this day as the first full season I watched the Whites on the terraces of Burnden Park, in it's last season as our home.

The Danish maestro proceeded to start every single game in the following season in English football's top division, adjusting seamlessly as he appeared in all 5 cup games too. 43 appearances led to three goals.

Relegation away at Chelsea on the final day was especially cruel on the tireless midfielder, who so nearly gave Wanderers the lead at Stamford Bridge after a barnstorming and mesmerising run past the Chelsea midfield ended with what looked for all the world to be a composed finish.
But alas, the ball didn't quite have the power to cross the line, that complete bastard Dennis Wise booting it clear milliseconds before I would've been celebrating like a lunatic.

That summer Frandsen featured in two World Cup group games at France '98, the pinnacle of his international career, in which he garnered 23 caps without scoring but was rather stop-start in an era where Thomas Gravesen held court in the Danish engine room.

After this, the Danish native but adopted Boltonian picked himself up, dusted himself down and went again.
Along with Johansen and the fellow Scandinavian army of Claus Jensen, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Arnar Gunnlaugsson and of course Gudni, Per drove us onwards relentlessly the following season including a late goal at Portman Road to dispose of Ipswich to set up the heartbreak of a 2-0 play-off final defeat to Watford at Wembley.
This his best goal scoring season, saw Frandsen notch a fine 10 strikes in 52 appearances in all competitions, setting up many more with his forceful and dynamic midfield showings.
He also played the joint most league games at 47 (including play-offs) alongside compatriot Claus Jensen.

This improved goal scoring form and his huge influence on a talented team that was already being cherry picked had apparently alerted a clutch of top flight clubs to his undoubted abilities.
Per stayed faithful to the Trotters however, never angling for the big move he most probably deserved and began the next season in style, scoring two goals in the 3-3 home draw with Birmingham in September to help rescue a point.

Despite his affinity for the club and his loyalty to Todd as the man who gave him his chance in England, this was to be his last home game as both their hands were forced in September as the board accepted a £1.75m bid from Blackburn Rovers, which ultimately led to Todd tending his resignation.
Per unwillingly packed his bags and made the disconsolate journey up the A666 (or M65, depends if he preferred the scenic route).

All was not lost however and new man at the helm Sam Allardyce recognised his potential importance to the team and the feel about the club and brought his flowing golden locks back to town for £1.6m that Summer to much rejoicing and fanfare (think Jay Spearing after his loan spell but ten times better).

Big Sam proceeded to build his team around the playmaker as 8 goals in 41 appearances culminated in joyous scenes in Cardiff as Bolton pulverised David Moyes' Preston North End 3-0 in the Play-Off Final to make their return to the big time after 3 years away.

What followed at the start of our eventual journey to European football was a stupendous first day free-kick double in the barely-believable 5-0 hammering of Leicester City at Filbert Street. He netted a further effort at home to Everton in a 2-2 draw as he amassed 25 appearances in the league in total, helping us to stave off the threat of relegation with a few games to spare.

The following season saw Frandsen play a more withdrawn role to accommodate the talents of Jay-Jay Okocha as he scored only twice in 34 league games, once a late leveller vs WBA at the Reebok and the other, vitally, as the Whites memorably stayed up on the last day of the season with the nervy win over Middlesbrough at the 'Bok.

Frandsen robbing Jonathan Greening in midfield and unerringly striding forward to unleash a trademark unstoppable drive from 22 yards past Mark Schwarzer is still one of the most iconic pieces of footage in Bolton Wanderers history.

It set the tone for a brilliant first half performance that gave us the necessary cushion to see off the inevitable Michael Ricketts goal that spurred their late onslaught.
It meant we got to see Bernard Mendy take a piggy back on Big Sam's back and Jay-Jay giving him a dancing tutorial on the Reebok pitch as the relief and emotion of staying up was palpable.
It meant we got to see more of Jay-Jay, the arrival of Ivan Campo, Stelios, Hierro, Anelka and many more talents who graced our pitch that wouldn't of stepped foot near the place had we returned to the Championship that season.

The 2003/04 campaign saw Frandsen play 25 times in all competitions with one goal coming at home to Everton again in a 2-0 victory.
Despite helping us to our best ever finish at the time of 8th, Frandsen's long standing influence on the midfield was waning and he gradually relinquished his starting role to new signing Campo as the season wore on.
At 34 he was beginning to lose the stamina and explosiveness that were his biggest assets.

After a superb second spell at his beloved Bolton, which in total yielded 13 goals in 135 league games, with a heavy heart Frandsen said his emotional goodbyes for a second time in the Summer of 2004 and set upon the challenge of helping Paul Jewell's Wigan Athletic into the Premier League for the first time.

He played just 9 times with his one goal coming at home to Brighton in a 3-0 win, before a nasty cruciate knee ligament injury curtailed his season and encouraged Per to call time on his football career.
He was understandably unwilling to go through the lengthy rehabilitation necessary for such an injury when in the latter stages of his playing days.

Since his untimely retirement he has spent a few years as an agent in Denmark, following this by taking up a role as the assistant manager at HB Koge, just south of his hometown in 2009.

When Tommy Moller Nielsen was sacked in 2012, Frandsen took the top job and led the Herfolge based outfit to two respectable consecutive 6th place finishes in the Danish 1st Division.
Frandsen's work didn't go unnoticed with the youngsters he promoted whilst in charge there and Brondby offered him the youth managers role last Summer which he accepted.

He is expected to make the step up to a first team manager again soon and you never know, we may just see him back at his old stomping ground in the future in some capacity.

So here's to Per, another player with white and blue blood coursing through his veins.
Our indefatigable, inspirational Dane who well and truly saved our bacon...