I thoroughly enjoyed writing the last article (read here). This one proved a bit trickier. There was a time when I'd happily call Sam Allardyce a lot of things. However, time has passed and the anger has subsided. I'm over it. I think.
The worst kept secret amongst Bolton Wanderers fans, but relatively unknown to those outside of a BL postcode, was that Sam Allardyce made some terrible transfer moves. Many could have taken the mantle in this chapter: Dwight Pezzarossi, Fabrice Fernandes, Akin Bulent. But one stood out above all others - Blessing Kaku.
I'll keep this brief. Blessing Kaku signed for Bolton in August 2004 from FC Ashdod. He made one appearance. He signed for Derby after his release from the Wanderers. He played another 4 times. He has 4 caps for Nigeria. The end. Well, not quite.
Despite proving worse than worthless to the Whites, Kaku nearly landed the club in hot water, or maybe his agent did for alleged payments to Sam Allardyce via his son and failed footballer Craig.
In 2007, the Stevens Inquiry began an investigation into 39 transfers involving English Premier League clubs. Four of those transfers involved players that had signed for Bolton: Ali Al Habsi, Tal Ben Haim, Julio Cesar and finally Kaku. Other clubs indicted included Chelsea, Newcastle, Middlesborough and 'Arry Redknapp's "I'm not a wheeler dealer" Portsmouth.
Two agents were secretly filmed claiming that "bung" payments were made to Wanderers manager Allardyce through his son. Although no charges were brought against Allardyce Snr or Jnr, the Stevens Inquiry expressed its "concern" at the apparent "conflict of interest" involving Allardyce Jnr and the club. At a time when both Allardyce and Redknapp were outsider candidates for the England job in the not too distant future, these claims significantly hampered their claim for the top job. For reasons unknown, Allardyce's reputation appeared to recover long before that of 'Arry.
A dark and relatively untapped chapter in our recent history, but a chapter worthy of note in our rise and fall nonetheless. Next week: The Bolactico.