clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The One Day Contract

Can Bolton learn something from the sports across the pond?

The One Day Contract. A concept conceived in 1994 by NFL player Roger Craig, who wanted to retire as a player for the San Francisco 49ers.

After speaking with his agent, a contract was drawn up to ensure Craig retired with the team he had spent eight years playing for, the team where he made his name.

Craig has since spoken about coming up with the idea of a one day contract, stating:

“I noticed when players are not playing with the team they started with, and they end up with another team, you kind of get lost in the shuffle when you retire, with the team you are playing with. The fans get kind of left off. The fans–I’m all about fan experiences, giving back to the fans, because they are so just beautiful people, they support you through good and bad, at games when it is freezing cold and at games when it is blazing hot. When you have icons that have done well for an organization, I wanted to figure out a way I can come back and re-live those days, with those fans, in front of those fans. Make the organization kind of, not so much to make them look good, but let them do something that is really positive for guys that have made impacts with the organization.”

Nowadays, the 'one day contract' has become synonymous with American sport. Players from the NFL, MLB and NBA have signed these contracts, which is basically nothing more than a symbolic gesture. It gives them the chance to say goodbye in style to the team and the fans they are most associated with.

This is an idea I feel Bolton Wanderers can use to some degree. The thought of re-signing a former favourite, one who's in the twilight of their career, to give them one last hurrah in a Wanderers shirt.

There are two players that come to mind, Kevin Nolan and Eiður Guðjohnsen.

Together, the former teammates have clocked up 86 goals in well over 400 appearances in a White shirt.

Both players also now find themselves without clubs. Guðjohnsen, last played for Iceland at the ripe old age of 37 during their fantastic Euro 2016 campaign. The forward left Norwegian side Molde to join Indian Super League side Pune City in August. However, due to an injury picked up in pre-season training, Guðjohnsen left Pune without making an appearance.

I'm sure Guðjohnsen, as well as the Wanderers faithful, thought his second spell with Bolton would have been his last in club football. Although, much like his first spell, Wanderers' financial troubles played a part in his exit.

It had seemed nailed on that Eidur would sign a one year deal and then retire after leading Iceland out at the Euros. But it wasn't to be, and the Wanderers fans never got a chance to say goodbye to the Iceman.

Nolan, now 34, left Leyton Orient in the Summer after losing his managerial role with the club in April. The former Wanderers captain left way back in 2009 to join Newcastle United for £4 million after a decline in form.

If things had been different, Nolan could/should have been Wanderers' modern day one club man.

There are reasons why it makes sense for both players to end their careers at the Macron. Mainly, the fact that it was Bolton that gave the pair their big break. Kevin Nolan, the player once dubbed 'Mr Bolton', joined Wanderers at the age of 16, and went to become one of the greatest players produced by the club. Nolan was the academy graduate holding his own alongside Bolton's continental talent.

It was former Wanderers manager Colin Todd who gave Eiður Guðjohnsen a chance at Bolton in 1998. At PSV, Eidur had suffered a severe ankle injury, and was told by Doctors he would never play at the highest level again. But, under the stewardship of Colin Todd and later Big Sam, Eidur's career was rejuvenated. His two years at Bolton pushed the forward back into the spotlight, which led to a glittering career with Chelsea and then later Barcelona.

The pair's experience is something that could be beneficial to Bolton's younger squad members.

Wanderers should also consider re-signing these players as the club has a history of not giving players the exit they deserve. Ivan Campo, Stelios and Kevin Davies were all harshly treated by Gary Megson and Dougie Freedman respectively.

Even Jussi Jääskeläinen was denied a return in 2015 by Phil Gartside, who apparently wouldn't even answer when the Big Finn called.

The one exception being Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro, who was given a heroes send off in his last professional game against Everton in 2005.

Bolton Wanderers v Everton Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

And of course Gudi Bergsson, who was given a heroes send off after his last game for Bolton against Middlesbrough back in 2003.

Personally, I would love it if both players could come back. It's purely for sentimental reasons, but why is that a bad thing?