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Happy Birthday Nicky Hunt

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On the day our greatest ever right-back turned the ripe old age of 32, we take a look back at his time at Bolton and his career so far

Nicky Hunt celebrates his 32nd birthday today
Nicky Hunt celebrates his 32nd birthday today
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Very few players have such a legacy with a club's fans that their name is sung for years after their departure. But that is the case with former Bolton Wanderers right-back Nicky Hunt, who turned 32 years of age today.

Local lad Nicky was born in Westhoughton and progressed through the Wanderers youth ranks to make his first-team debut on the final day of the 2000/01 campaign, as a substitute for Colin Hendry against Sheffield United. But he had to wait until the 2003/04 season to make his first Premier League start, in a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, but quickly established himself as a first-team regular in Sam Allardyce's side.

Nicky racked up an impressive 128 league appearances and 161 matches in all competition for The Trotters, but only scored one goal for the club - and what a goal it was, a left-footed screamer that gave us the lead in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in 2004 (unfortunately there is no YouTube evidence of this).

His legend still lives on with the fans, and if you go to a pub prior to an away game you're likely to hear the chant: "We all dream of a team of Nicky Hunts. At number 1 Nicky Hunt, at number 2 Nicky Hunt..." and so on.

Hunt had two loan spells away from Wanderers, with Birmingham City and Derby County, before moving to Bristol City in 2010, where he made just eight appearances in two years.

He then went on to ply his trade further down the leagues with one season at Preston North End and Rotherham United before making 71 appearances in three seasons with Accrington Stanley. We spoke to Accrington fan Daniel O'Rourke (@dantoro19) who told us Hunt was a popular figure at the club:

"Nicky Hunt was always very assured as a full-back at Stanley and always came across as very professional.

"His experience often made the difference in matches as he was involved in young squads. He wasn't the quickest, but he did read the game well."

He now plays for League Two side Mansfield United, having signed in June, and has made two appearances so far this season. We also caught up with Mansfield fan @MTFCMusings to get their thoughts on the club's new signing:

"Nicky has come in and made the right-back spot his own, also taking over as captain currently. He has been very steady so far, contributing towards our much improved back four.

"After scoring in the opening pre-season friendly he told us not to expect any further goals from him!"

So, Nicky the captain and goalscorer... yeah maybe not the latter, but it's great to see his career is still going strong. Hunt has racked up more than 300 career appearances, and only added one more goal to that Liverpool strike while in the white of Preston.

Nicky was a solid, no-nonsense full-back and, according to this rather dubious clip, he may believe he was unlucky not to have received international recognition during his Premier League days behind a certain Man United player.

<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cj_9VuQOxKA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Regardless, I'm sure Nicky will be pleased to know that he remains a fans' favourite at Bolton. Unfortunately the great man himself isn't on Twitter so we can't send him our birthday wishes directly. However, a rising trend in this social age is parody accounts and our friend Nicky had his very own, very brief, parody account back in 2012. In the interest of editorial quality and not wanting to offend our readers I won't quote the parody tweets, but it's certainly amusing. Check it out here: @NickyHunt1

Happy birthday Nicky, you're still a Bolton legend and we do all still dream of a team of Nicky Hunts.