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The Quentin X File - What's in a Number - 5


Everton v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Bloody hell. Two in a week. This feels like the old days when I was writing every day and Mrs X was saying, in her lovely Wirral acccent, "Come ed lah, do you need to rite all that khrap?" But that was in the heady days when I was in for four and then off for four and I could write during late nights when the good people of London weren't kicking each others heads in.

So, here we are at number five. Usually central defence, usually quite big and usually quite effective. So, let's have a look at who we have eh?

1995-1996 - Guðni Bergsson

We've already dealt with the Icelandic God last week. Suffice to say, his very name still brings a tear to my eye.

1997-1998 - Gerry Taggart

Taggart had previously worn the twenty two shirt in Bolton's previous Premiership season, but he was designated number five for the club's second flirtation with the top division. Signed from Barnsley in 1995, he stayed at the club for three years, scoring one of the last goals at Burnden Park. Our relegation back to Division One saw Taggart leave the club and he signed on a free with Leicester City, where he undoubtedly had the most successful period of his career, winning the League Cup with them in 2000. He saw out his career at Stoke and then Tamworth before returning to the coaching staff at Leicester under Gary Megson, before reportedly driving the taxi that took Megson to Bolton then hot footing it back to Leicester to become caretaker manager. Has since been assistant manager to Paul Dickov at Oldham and also his chief scout at Doncaster. Reportedly showed his wang to an air stewardess whilst on a flight back from international duty with Northern Ireland in 1998. According to Keith Gillespie, Taggart was "always at the heart of the banter". Ahem.........

1999-2001 - Paul Warhurst

Always giving the impression of someone who had just arrived at the stadium after a cracking night out in the town centre, Warhurst signed from Crystal Palace, initially on a loan basis, Although well known as an adequate striker during his time at Sheffield Wednesday, Warhurst was usually employed either in midfield or defence during his time at the club. Already a nomadic player, having been at five clubs before rocking up at The Reebok, after his ninety odd games for us he signed on loan for Stoke and ended up turning out for a further nine clubs before his eventual retirement in 2007 at the age of thirty eight. Was a caretaker manager at Northwich Vics for a while but has since left football. He moved to the number six shirt during his two seasons with the club in the Premiership to make way for....

2001-2003 - Colin Hendry

I swear, when myself and Mrs X Snr used to sit in the Lofthouse lower, there was a guy who was still wearing a Hendry shirt in 2008, despite the player himself being long gone. Initially brought in on loan from Coventry City during the promotion season, and wearing the number thirty shirt, he was given the number five during his two Premiership seasons. And then hardly played in it, playing four league cup games and three league games in the first season before being loaned out to Preston and then spending the majority of the following season at Blackpool. He then moved into management with Blackpool and Clyde, lasting barely a season at the first and only half a season at the second. Has had issues with the law since, being declared bankrupt in 2010 and pleading guilty to harassment in 2015. Tragically he lost his wife in 2010 due to infections caused by cosmetic surgery.

2002-2006 - Bruno N'Gotty

A French international early in his career, N'Gotty first arrived at Bolton on loan from Marseille in September 2001, after initially turning down the move. Despite taking some time to adapt to the English game, being booked and sent off in three of his first six games for the club, he remained a mainstay of the defence for the following four years after his £500,000 permanent move. Won the player of the year award in 2005 and remained a firm fan favourite. Was released by Big Sam at the end of 2005-06 as he was approaching his 35th birthday. Signed for Birmingham and the Leicester, spending some time on loan at Hereford before retiring.

2006-2008 - Abdoulaye Méïté

Not exactly eveyone's cup of tea at LOV Towers, Méïté followed N'Gotty from Marseille and took his place in the team. Initially a solid central defender, he barely missed a game before Cristiano Ronaldo tore him a new one in a game at Old Trafford in March 2008 and he refused to come out for the second half, citing an injury. The Bolton physio's could find no injury and Méïté didn't play a game for the club again, Megson singling him out for criticism for the two goals that Ronaldo scored. To be fair, many have had that issue since, so maybe the criticism wasn't necessarily fair. Dropped from the first team, training with the reserves, Méïté quickly left the club the following season for West Brom in a £2million deal, but not before being given the number ten shirt. After West Brom he spent time bouncing backwards and forwards to Europe, playing in France, Finland and Scotland, as well as Doncaster, which is like a foreign land anyway and Newport, before being released by the latter at the beginning of this year.

2008-2012 - Gary Cahill

Undoubtedly the best player to wear the number five squad shirt, Cahill signed from Aston Villa in January 2008 and wore the number thirty three shirt until it was vacated by Méïté. For the following four and a bit years, he became a leading light in a gradually weakening team and, whilst Bolton started to struggle, his performances for the club got him an England call up, the first from the club since Michael Ricketts got his two caps (his first and his last....) in 2002. It became apparent to most football followers that Cahill could not stay at a club heading downwards and in January 2012 he signed for Chelsea for £7million after Owen Coyle either refused to or couldn't shift a player whose contract was running down the previous summer. There is no doubt that Bolton made Cahill the player he is and there is always a little shiver of pride whenever I see him lift trophies or play for the England national team. Being Irish, I still want him to lose mind.

2012-2015 - Tim Ream

Although signed after Cahill left, Ream was given the number thirty two shirt when he signed from New York in late January 2012 before being given the number five the following season after Bolton's relegation. He famously cancelled his honeymoon to sign for the club and went on to win the Player of the Year award in two consecutive seasons, the only player other than SKD to do that. Obviously, due to the club's ongoing financial difficulties, our best players were fair game and Ream was signed by Fulham almost as soon as the 2015-16 season started. Is pretty much a first choice at the club and, all things being equal, will play at The Macron next season after Fulham lost their play off last night. (I bet you think I write these en bloc don't you? Finger on the pulse me.)

2016 - Mark Beevers

Ream had already been registered as number five before his transfer and the shirt remained empty until the beginning of this season when the mighty Mark Beevers signed from Millwall and alongside defensive partner David "Wheats" Wheater, absolutely bossed the division. The stingiest defence last season was down in no small part to the two central defenders and it was no surprise that they were both in the PFA League One team of the years. Wheevers are also current favourites to represent the UK in next year's Eurovision after their splendid and apparently ongoing rendition of Sweet Caroline at the player of the year awards earlier this month.

So, there you have the number five. Next time, Youri Djorkaeff and Gary Speed. Exciting.