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What the Bolton Galacticos Means to Me

With the 'legends' match coming tomorrow, what's it like to have missed the era they played?

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I've had this article in my head ever since the plans for Kevin Davies' testimonial first started taking shape, when the twitter account for what would be a prestigious event began to confirm that so many legends of our great club would be back to don the white once again. Then things happened and the testimonial was pushed back, and then again and now it seems in the wind altogether. Super Kev may never actually get the testimonial match he so thoroughly deserves.

But tomorrow, at long last, some 'legends' will be taking to the Reebok turf. Even if it isn't for Davies' testimonial and the list is mostly C-list at best, I genuinely can't wait to see the best finisher I've ever seen in white, Ivan Klasnić, to be back, I am curious to see whether or not Sasa Curcic will do something mental, seeing Fabrice Muamba on the pitch again may be a genuinely emotional moment, I want to see Abdoulaye Faye smash through the back of someone, preferably Shane Ward.

I'm intrigued to see how team captains Tony Kelly and John McGinlay will last, I fully expect to see David Lee rip it up and earn man of the match, I'm interest to learn just what a Fabian De Freitas actually is and my heart flutters at the thought of seeing my beloved Jussi back home again.

But more then any of that, what is making me giddy like a child is the fact I'll get to see the actual, undoubted, legend that is Jay Jay Okocha play for my team - for the first time ever.

So good they named him twice, I've heard the stories and endured the 240p youtube video set to "World's Greatest". I know the legend, but I've never seen him. On Saturday I get to and I can't fucking wait.

I'm not going to set my expectations too high, ol' Jay Jay's getting on a bit now and I'm not going to be disappointed if I don't see him pull out a mind bending free kick. No, seeing him in white and on that pitch will be enough. I will no longer have to say that I never got to see Jay Jay Okocha play for my team.

You see, I only got into football and started watching Bolton at the tail end of the Big Sam era. So while I managed to catch the likes of Ivan Campo, Gary Speed, Stelios, Kevin Nolan, Ricardo Gardner and Nicolas Anelka, I missed out on so many more.

Youri Djorkaef, Fernando Hierro, Bruno N'Gotty, Hideotoshi Nakata, Vincent Candela and all the other legends of the game that somehow ended up at Bolton Wanderers, not forgetting Jay Jay.

Simply put, I missed when we were genuinely brilliant. I missed the good old days. I missed your "good times". When I reminisce about how good Bolton once were all I've got is a season in which we did really well in the Uefa cup but was then nearly relegated and a season that was going brilliantly but then ended with our best player's career getting ended and being battered 5-0 at Wembley.

I don't have many good days to look back upon.

I've often marvelled in disbelief over some of the players who've actually played for us. I mean, Fernando fucking Hierro, a Champions League winner and one of the best defenders ever ended his career at my club. That is mental, and some times it's hard to believe it even did happen.

And that's why the Big Sam era, the Bolton galacticos, mean so much to me. Bolton shouldn't have been able to be as good as they were, the worldly talent that turned out for our club should never have even stepped foot in Lancashire.

But they did.

It, more than anything, gives me hope for our little old club. The hope that one day we will return to that peak. It's a long, treacherous climb and we're going to get caught up in plenty more avalanches yet. But some day, god knows when, we will reach the summit once more and when we do I'm really going to enjoy the view.