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The Quentin X File - What's in a Number - 4

The midfield powerhouse.

Notts County Press Conference Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It's been a while, I know. How are you doing? Good? Me? Ticking along. Couldn't get onto the pitch at the end due to having to get into a lift, through three doors and a gate and also having to push a wheelchair.

But that's not while we're here. You're looking good mind. Sunny weather suits you.

So, a while ago, I started on the history of Bolton's squad numbers. I got to three and then stopped. I finished partly because I was in a play (because I'm an actor in real life these days darling) and partly because some people hadn't grasped the concept of the articles. Yes, I know Ricardo Gardner was a left back and that left backs normally play in the number three shirts. But he never wore number three. It was number eleven. Because these are about the shirt numbers, not the positions. Hopefully those slow on catching on will have got there by the time we get to Gérald Forschelet.

So, number four. The powerhouse in midfield. Normally. Not necessarily at T' Wanderers.

Here we go. Strap in.

Saša Ćurčić - 1995-1996

As mad as ten boxes of frogs and a few bottles short of a crate, the Serbian spent one year at Burnden Park, endearing himself to the faithful with his technical ability and all round commitment. Years later, a different kind of commitment was probably needed. On Bolton's relegation back to Division One, Ćurčić was sold to Aston Villa for £4million. He never showed the same form for any other teams as he had for Bolton and retired, aged 29, in 2000.

He is better known in his home country for his various appearances on reality programmes, winning their version of Celebrity Big Brother and having a fight with a Serbian rapper in another programme. On his retirement from football, according to Wikipedia, he said

"I would not sign for another club, not even if I was offered 15 million dollars. However, it would be different if they were to instead offer me 15 different women from all around the world. I would tell the club chairman: 'Please let me make these women happy – I will satisfy them like they have never been satisfied before".


1997-1998 - Per Frandsen

The great Dane spent more years in the number eight shirt once he returned from his ill fated stint at Blackburn, so I'll have a look at him there.

1999-2003 - Guðni Bergsson

Iceland's most famous lawyer, Bergsson spent eight great years at Bolton, captaining the side. In the two initial stints in the Premier League he had been given the numbers five and twelve, but by the time squad numbers reached the Football League, it was number four that the captain was given, and he held it with distinction. Twice he had to be talked out of retirement by Sam Allardyce but the third attempt in 2003 failed and Bergsson's last game was the game against Middlesbrough that kept the club up, where he kept Michael Ricketts in his pocket, like the big massive tart he was.

In such high esteem is Guðni held in his homeland, earlier this year he was elected President of the Icelandic Football Association.

2003-2009 - Kevin Nolan

Another captain to hold the number four shirt, Nolan moved from number fifteen on his predecessor's retirement. A player who split opinion in his later years at the club, especially as he stood in the centre circle, pointing at players for not doing their job properly whilst being more guilty of the same thing (like another, more recent captain anyone....?), there is no denying the impact he made when he burst into the team, coming up with some special goals, especially against Man U at Old Trafford in 2001 and 2002. He was made captain when Jay Jay Okocha left the club in 2006 but it was around this time that he form started to suffer and a player who should, in all honesty, been in England squads ahead of the likes of Jermaine Jenas (I mean, JERMAINE JENAS? COME ON!!!!), seemed to put on a bit of bulk in unwanted areas, eventually allegedly falling out with Gary Megson (good lad) and being sold to Newcastle, where he was almost immediately relegated.

Immediate promotion back to the Premier League followed and he was made club captain. He then became, bizarrely, Andy Carroll's landlord due to the ponytailed ones disciplinary issues before rejoining Allardyce at West Ham, securing another promotion. Made captain as soon as he joined, he led the club for most of his time there, but Allardyce's departure also meant the end for Nolan and he left the club in August 2015.

He then ended up, somewhat bizarrely, as Leyton Orient's player manager, before, almost as bizarrely, being relieved of his duties whilst two points shy of the play off positions three months later. He has recently rocked up as Notts County's player manager, although he hasn't played a game.

Nolan holds a special place in the hearts of most Bolton fans, as he always seemed to be committed to the club when others weren't. He epitomised the rise and gradual fall of the club in the Premier League and his departure, which was met with mixed emotions amongst fans, didn't really help the club in the grand scheme of things. Except to show what an utter twat Megson was. But that's another story.

2009-2012 - Paul Robinson

Sweet Jesus, a player of such limited ability he makes last season's version of Dorian Dervite look practically Messi like. If Nolan's departure was one thing that summed up Gary Megson, his 'capture' of Robinson was the other. I swear that Paul Robinson from Neighbours has more tactical acumen, and he only has one leg. In the two and a bit years he spent with us, he managed to rack up twenty five yellow cards. That, it would appear, was the only thing he was good at. Owen Coyle finally realised that even in a depressingly bad team, Robinson wasn't good enough and loaned him to where most players of his kind go. Leeds. He then signed for Birmingham, where he was made captain and they love him. Which tells you all you need to know about Birmingham City. Still shouldn't have fired Rowett though, the dicks.

2012-2015 - Matt Mills

Another central defender to wear the number four shirt, Mills signed from Leicester for one of those famous "undisclosed fees" (e.g. we paid too much for him), in the 2012 close season. Along with Bergsson and Nolan, Mills became captain towards the back end of his final season after Jay Spearing left on loan and ended his final season in third place in the player of the year awards. Mills left the club at the end of the 2014-15 season when his contract came to an end and joined Notts Forest. Where he remains. For now.

2015- Dorian Dervite

All hail the renaissance of Dorian Dervite. A player who, in the past, I have likened to an alcoholic freight salesmen with a sixty Marlboro red a day habit from the eighties, certainly came into his own at the back end of this season, partnering, if that's the right word, with Wheater and Beevers in a strong back three. Let's overlook his limitations as a footballer and marvel in that mazy run against Peterborough. What a man. What a player. What am I saying?

So, there you have the history of the number four shirts. Not so much a midfield powerhouse as a central defensive titan. And Paul Robinson. Until the next time.