Bolton Wanderers gained a reputation in the 2000s for signing old legends and building a team of world class misfits. So, as rumours are swirling that Julio Baptista is about to sign, we thought we’d look back on some of the older players that the Whites have signed in an effort to stay competitive.
With a combined age of age of 638, here is the line up...
GK - Peter Shilton (Age 45)
England legend Peter Shilton signed for Bolton Wanderers in 1995 after being released by the then Premier League side Wimbledon FC. He was in the 29th year of his distinguished playing career and made only one appearance for the club, in the first leg of the 1995 play off semi final against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Whites lost the first leg 2-1 but the tie would go down in the history books when Super John McGinlay led the team to a 2-0 victory in extra time of the second leg, taking Bolton to Wembley. Keith Branaghan played in the home match.
A First Division play-off semi-final which often resembled a private duel between two former England colleagues, Steve Bull and Peter Shilton.
The Independent, Wolves 2 - 1 Bolton, May 14th 1999
CB - Colin Hendry (Age 35)
Colin Hendry helped get Bolton Wanderers back into the Premier League after beating the side he’d later join, Preston North End, in the play off final. He had to wait to make his international debut, but he was captain of the last Scottish side to qualify for a major tournament, the 1998 World Cup in Paris.
After playing Crystal Palace and beating them 2-0 in 2001, Alan Smith, the then under pressure manager of the defeated Palace, said ‘We need people out there like Colin Hendry who goes out and does his job with no mistakes made. That kind of experience in the team makes it easier for a manager’. Dougie Freedman had missed a chance to score after hitting the crossbar and Dean Holdsworth also missed the mark, making for a scrappy win in Bolton’s hunt for promotion.
After retiring, he went into the back rooms and returned to his beloved Blackburn, after managerial stints at Blackpool and Clyde.
Colin Hendry's early goal, his fourth in a week after claiming two for Scotland and a weekend effort for his club, helped move Bolton back into the second automatic promotion place but that is surely only temporary.
The Guardian, Bolton 1 - 1 Stockport, 4th April 2001
CB - Ian Marshall (Age 34)
Ian Marshall grew up supporting Liverpool but started his career at Everton, however the club on which he would truly leave his mark was Oldham, where he made 170 appearances and scored 36 goals. His ability to play both in the defence and up front made him a unique player, one that would go on to win the League Cup with Leicester City in 2000. He came on as a sub in the final, coming on for Tony Cottee.
After turning down a move to the MLS, he signed for Bolton on a loose contract and led the defence, alongside Hendry, in the 2000/01 promotion winning campaign. Afterwards, he went out on loan to Blackpool and retired a few years later, setting up a football academy in Ipswich (having played there) and in Canada.
Ian Marshall is one of football's survivors: an honest and hard-working character without the petulance and pretensions of the more high profile among his profession.
The Guardian, Bolton to Reward Vintage Marshall, 16th October 2000
CB - Bruno N’Gotty (Age 30)
After initially being hesitant to join Bolton, N’Gotty became a fan favourite in the 2004/05 season and won the player of the year award. It was said that he wanted to retire at the Reebok, however he was released in 2006 when Allardyce decided to lower the average age of the squad.
1⃣9⃣th place in our best Wanderers players to have played at The Reebok Stadium/Macron Stadium vote goes to Bruno N'Gotty! #BWFC pic.twitter.com/3B2RttAzw8— Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) September 5, 2017
In a recent poll, fans voted him the 19th best player to have played for Bolton at the Macron Stadium, just ahead of Fabrice Muamba and behind Stuart Holden.
Bolton Wanderers did their best to self-destruct in the first half, giving Scott Dobie time and space to ram home an early goal before seeing defender Bruno N'gotty sent off after 20 minutes.
The Guardian, Bolton 1 - 1 West Bromich Albion, 10th November 2002
CDM - Andy Hughes (Age 36)
Andy Hughes never played a game for Bolton Wanderers but stayed at the club as a coach after his contract expired. He spent the majority of his career at Notts County, Reading and Leeds United, where he became a fan favourite for his work rate and likable character.
He was selected as the caretaker manager Bolton Wanderers after the sacking of Dougie Freedman, taking charge for one game and losing 2-1 to AFC Bournemouth. After becoming a coach at the club, he later went on to work for Rotherham, Palace and Huddersfield.
Andy Hughes is fucking brilliant!
CDM - Fernando Hierro (Age 36)
Whilst Sam Allardyce brought a number of big names to Bolton, few of them had Hierro’s toughness and rugged strength. The Spaniard made his name at Real Madrid, having moved their from his home town club of Malaga, making 439 appearances for Los Blancos. He even scored 26 goals in the 1991/92 season at Real Madrid, when he played as a defensive midfielder.
Hierro glided round the pitch and was irresistible to watch, adapting well to the Premier League. He was undoubtedly one of the biggest names ever to play in a white shirt. After one year at the Reebok he decided to retire with 89 caps and 109 career goals.
Their disadvantage roused Bolton after half-time and Fernando Hierro, playing his final game before retirement, swung in a free-kick that was met by a powerful header from Radhi Jaidi.
The Observer, Everton 3 - 2 Bolton, 16th May 2005
LW - Gary Speed (Age 35)
A legend in his own right, Gary Speed joined Bolton towards the end of his illustrious career. He made his pro debut at Leeds and enjoyed a long spell at Newcastle, playing over 200 games for both clubs, and scoring many goals. He remains the most capped outfield player for Wales, making 85 appearances and scoring 7 goals.
While in a Bolton shirt, he became the first player to make 500 Premier League appearances and scored in every Premier League season, a record later held by Ryan Giggs. He was given a coaching job towards the end of Big Sam’s time as manager, but returned to playing after the appointment of Sammy Lee.
He later played for Sheffield United, became their manager and then managed his native Wales. He is sorely missed.
A skilful, athletic and versatile left-sided attacking midfield player, Speed was also an exceptional header of the ball and had a healthy knack of scoring goals.
The Guardian, Obituary, 27th November 2011
RW - Filipe Morais (Age 31)
Filipe Morais signed with Bolton after being released by Bradford and whilst not carrying the same stature as some of the legends in this team, has made as big as an impact on the Wanderers. He was a key part of the second half of Bolton’s promotion push last year, recording the highest of assists nationwide in 2017. His efforts ensured the Whites went up through automatic promotion on the first time of asking for the first time in the club’s history.
He had previously played for Bradford, where he made 54 appearances, however spent most of his career in Scotland. His first Championship game came this season.
What a revelation this lad has been; he offers something we haven’t seen for as long as I can remember - his winding runs and lethal crosses proving far too much for opposition defences to handle.
Lion of Vienna Suite, Oxford 2 - 4 Bolton, 22nd March 2017
CAM - Youri Djorkaeff (Age 33)
During his career, Djorkaeff won the World Cup and Euros with France and Allardyce securing his signature was considered one of the biggest transfer coups in Premier League history. Before coming to Bolton, he had played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, like Paris St Germain and Inter Milan.
He made 75 appearances for Bolton, scoring 20 times, and even captained the side on occasion. He left to join Blackburn, where he made a handful of appearances.
He captained the Wanderers on occasion but was a key part in our survival,
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce believes the high standards of French World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff have lifted the entire team. Djorkaeff's last-minute header salvaged a point for Bolton...
BBC Sport, Southampton 1 - 1 Bolton, 29th September 2002
ST - Eidur Gudjohnsen (Age 36)
A man who needs no introduction. Eidur Gudjohnsen was a magician on the ball during his first stint at the club, securing him a move to Chelsea and later Barcelona. He also made 88 appearances for his country, even featuring Iceland’s successful Euros campaign in 2016.
When he resigned for the club in 2014, he got a hero’s welcome and took the number 22 shirt. He made his return in a draw to Ipswich but set up Emile Heskey’s goal on Boxing Day to beat Blackburn Rovers. In his second stint, he scored 5 goals, which earned him a place in the Icelandic national side after having fallen out of favour. He left again to play in China after Neil Lennon celebrated him as one of the best players he’d ever worked with.
Few players in recent times have provided genuine and undoubted quality, but the former Barcelona and Chelsea forward is undoubtedly one of those.
Lion of Vienna Suite, Bolton 2 - 0 Millwall, March 15th 2015
ST - Rivaldo (Age 32)
ST - Emile Heskey (Age 36)
Emile. Heskey. His goal against Blackburn on Boxing Day 2014 justified all the money we paid him in my opinion. The notorious England striker played for Leicester and Liverpool in his prime, with his stature making him a unique player who holds up the ball and creates holes in defences. After stints at Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Aston Villa, he made a total of 546 appearances in the Premier League and was capped 62 times.
Neil Lennon was looking for free agents to sure up the strike force, rather than create a partnership with the combined age of 72, and they did make an impact on the team. Heskey was confined to a 12th man role, being brought on in the 80th minute to shake things up and so he didn’t get a chance to be the player he once was. He made 45 appearances and scored 3 goals.
Now Scholes, Beckham, Scholes is on his way he’s got Heskey up with him... Emile Heskey... Is this going to be another one? It is! 5-1 to England, Heskey on the scoresheet now!
Peter Brackley, Germany 1 - 5 England, September 1st 2001
And on the bench...
Paddy Kenny (Age 36)
Dietmar Hamman (Age 36)
Aaron Wilbraham - (Age 37)
Les Ferdinand (Age 38)
Shola Ameobi (Age 34)
Peter Beardsley (Age 36)
Robbie Blake (Age 34)