The big news of today (I wrote this a long time ago) is that former Wanderers graduate Aaron Mooy has become the most expensive Australian player in history, signing for Huddersfield for up to £10,000,000. Mooy was not the only foreign import in to the academy at this time however. Wanderers were somewhat ahead of their time by going to nations with under-developed leagues and creaming off the top talent. So have they fared as they all approach 30 years old?
Aaron Mooy - Huddersfield Town, 26.
The aforementioned Mooy is probably the most successful on this list. Brought to Wanderers from Australia in 2006, there was an immediate buzz around the talented midfielder. A first team appearance never materialised however and he rejected a contract extension in 2010 in pursuit of first team football. This took him to St.Mirran and then back to Australia for Western Sydney Wanderers and latterly, Melbourne City. After impressing in the A-League, Melbourne's sister team, Manchester City brought Mooy back to the English game and loaned him out to the Championship. Landing at Huddersfield he impressed as a tenacious, cultured midfielder and enjoyed promotion with them to the Premier League. This prompted Huddersfield to buy Mooy outright for a deal potentially worth £10,000,000; breaking Huddersfield's transfer record and making him Australia's most expensive player ever.
Scott Jamieson - IFK Göteborg, 28.
Another Ozzy in the Junior ranks having also signed in 2006 from Backtown City. Jamieson was a talented left back that many saw having a decent future in the game. He too failed to register a single appearance for Wanderers before being released and returning to Australia. There he really came in to his own winning the Rising Star award after his first season in the A-League. Since then he has moved around the A-league being one of its most coveted left backs. A handful of Australia caps followed as did talk of a European move that he was keen for having tasted the life whilst at Bolton. This materialised when he signed for IFK Göteborg in 2016, playing 16 times in his first campaign.
Johann Smith - Unknown, 30
Our only American of the list. Smith was an exceptional athlete in his school years at both 'soccer' and on the running track. Smith reportedly ran 100m in a blistering 10.5 seconds - a truly astonishing feat for a young, unprofessional athlete. Smith wanted to pursue his first love of football however and was scouted by Wanderers who offered him a 3 year deal in 2006. Smith made a couple of substitute appearances as a striker/winger in cup games and also made his Premier League debut against Manchester United as a late substitute. Smith was loaned out to Carlisle United, Darlington and Stockport County to gain experience but did not develop as Wanderers wished. He was released in 2008 and was immediately signed by MLS team, Toronto FC. From there he went to Croatia to Sweden to Finland, Australia and finally Canada with FC Edmonton. He was also offered multiple trials at notable clubs such as New York Red Bulls along the way but it seems whilst initially impressed with his physical prowess, his technical skills let him down. He is no longer at Edmonton but his twitter appears to indicate he is still involved with the game.
Błażej Augustyn - Ascoli, 29.
The Polish midfielder joined Wanderers in 2006 after our scouts spotted him playing at youth international level. He was one of our Polish trio whom probably has had the most success in his career. Despite being offered a contract by Sammy Lee, he turned it down for a familiar reason; lack of opportunities. From us he moved back home to Legia Warsaw where he made 4 appearances. After a spell on loan to Serie B team Rimini, Serie A team Catania saw enough to sign him permanently from Legia the following season. He saw his time there hampered by a knee injury that would resurface throughout his career. Despite this he made 17 appearances in Serie A and even played under Diego Simeone whom he described as a ‘madman’. Following a move back to Serie B he then found himself back in Poland before once again returning to British shores. Augustyn signed for Hearts in the SPL and became a cult figure amongst fans. He left having made 21 appearances and moved back to Serie B with Ascoli where he made 30 appearances last season. Look out for an interview with Augustyn on the site soon where he talks Bolton and Serie A.
Jarosław Fojut - Pogoń Szczecin, 29
Fojut was brought to Bolton in similar circumstances to Augustyn in 2004 and was widely regarded around the club as a top prospect. He was captain of the under 18s and the reserves. He frequently found himself on the bench but only made 1 Premier League appearance and one FA Cup appearance. He went on loan to Luton and Stockport County but found both loans hampered by injuries. After his release from Bolton he signed for Polish league leaders, Śląsk Wrocław. After 3 years and 58 appearances he signed a pre-contract agreement with Scottish giants, Celtic. In a terrible case of misfortune however Fojut suffered a cruciate-ligament injury before the end of the season and saw his contract with Celtic terminated before he had officially joined. After the disappointment of missing out on Celtic he moved to Norway and then made his way to Scotland, signing for Dundee United. After 34 games and 4 goal at Dundee he moved back to Poland and was quoted as calling Dundee ‘a shit city’.
Przemysław Kazimierczak - ŁKS Łódź, 29.
The last of our Polish trio, Przemysław signed with Fojut in 2004 and was immediately considered one of our best youth goalkeeping options. After his realease from Bolton after a couple of loan spells in the English game, it looked as though he might not have lived up to the early promise he showed. He signed for Darlington on an 18 month deal and from there moved around the lower echelons of the Polish leagues. As we all know keepers mature later on in their careers and this seems to be the case for Przemysław. He signed for his current team ŁKS Łódź in 2016 and they have since been promoted to the 1st tier in Polish football. He wears the number 1 jersey for this season.
Ricardo Vaz Tê - Henan Jianye, 30
Perhaps the best know player on the list. Vaz Te was a highly sought player when Bolton signed him in. When he came on trial Bolton signed him the first day he trained and quickly found himself in the first team picture at a young age. He was tall, pacey and decent with the ball at his feet. He reached the pinical of his Wanderers career with ‘that goal’ against Vitória de Guimarães which salvaged Wanderers’ European campaign. Nothing looked as though it could stop the striker who had represented Portugal all the way up to under 21 level at that stage. Alas it would not turn out to be so. Vaz Te suffered numerous injuries during his time at Bolton which he blames for hampering his progress. Despite playing 58 times for the Wanderers and getting capped at under 23 level for Portugal, he was released in 2010 by Gary Megson. After 2 failed moves to Greece and Hibernian, he found his way to Championship side, Barnsley. Here he scored 12 goals in half a season which promoted interest from Championship side, West Ham (managed by former manager Big Sam). His hot streak continued scoring 10 goals in 15 games taking his tally to 22 goals in 37 game for the season. Once promoted Vaz Te got a good amount of game time for West Ham but did not relive his goal scoring exploits. Following 4 years at West Ham he moved to Turkey scoring 5 in 14 games, then back over to Charlton where he failed to score. He has since signed for Chinese Super League team, Henan Jianye.
David Gbemie - Retired, 27.
The final player on our list but little is known about the former Liberian international. We signed him in 2003 and he remained with us until 2009. Normally playing at CB he never made an appearence for the first team but did receive 1 cap for Liberia. Last known club was Leigh Genesis in the 09/10 season.