This week, Wanderers will take on The Pretenders from the Black Country at the Macron. This edition of Played For Both Clubs concentrates on former Whites striker Nathan Blake.
Blake signed for Wanderers in 1995 after Bruce Rioch took Bolton Wanderers into the promised land after the stunning 4-3 Play Off final win over Reading at Wembley.
After two seasons as Sheffield United's top scorer in Division One, Blake was tasked with keeping the Wanderers in the Premier League with his goals.
He failed, scoring only once, as Wanderers were relegated from the top flight. His stock was incredibly low among Bolton fans, yet he redeemed himself for his poor first season by firing Bolton back into the Premiership in the first of our "yo-yo" years. Scoring 19 goals, Wanderers were promoted once more, and all seemed forgiven, Blake quickly becoming a fan favourite.
In the 1997/98 relegation year, Blake bagged 12 times, his best return in England's top league in his entire career. Once more, Bolton Wanderers were relegated, Blake famously scoring "the goal that never was" against Everton. Had it been given, that goal would have been enough to keep Bolton in the division. However, it was not allowed, and Wanderers went down at the last day away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where the West London fans famously booed their own team, expressing a desire for Bolton to get a result and remain in the Premiership.
After scoring 6 in 12 games at the start of the 1998/9 season, Blake was one of many big name players who left the club, signing for Blackburn Rovers for a staggering £4.25 million. After a disappointing spell in Dingle Country, he moved to Wolverhampton (I can't remember their second name), Blackburn accepting a £2.75m loss for Blake's services after only 13 goals in two full seasons at Ewood Park.
Blake claims the most enjoyable part of his career was at Molyneux. After two failed promotion campaigns, Blake once again returned to the Premier League. Injuries disrupted his season, scoring only once in 13 games. Wolves's inevitable relegation from the Premier League gave Blake an accolade to forget, one he shares with Hermann Hreidarsson. Blake and Hreidarsson share the record for most relegations from the top flight (5).
Blake retired from international football for Wales after claiming that then manager Bobby Gould racially abused him in a training session. After his football career, Blake was found guilty of stealing a fruit machine in 2006. Nice.