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Bolton’s 2017 summer released list: Where are they now?

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Did Parky get it right? A pointer for this year?

Northampton Town v Blackpool - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

With debate raging as to whether Parky’s 2018 released list is too little or too much, what happened to last summers departures?

Goalkeepers:

Will Jaaskelainen; Son of Bolton legend Jussi, Will was a surprise release last summer and seen as a victim of a squad with too many goalkeepers. He joined Crewe (where legendary coach Fred Barber now works) on a one year deal in Aug 2017. The 19 year old didn’t make a first team appearance and was loaned out to two of Crewe’s non-league competitors, Nantwich Town and Chester respectively, during the season. Will must have made an impression though, as he has recently signed a three year extension with Crewe.

Defenders:

Reece Wabara; Was named in the League One’s PFA Team of the Year for his Wigan performances during their 2015–16 promotion season. Bolton fans had high hopes when the former Man City defender signed for Bolton in Feb 2017, after a period out of the game. Safe to say that it didn’t go well, after one particularly shite performance, Reece disappeared out of contention and was released at the end of the season. Wabara is now out of football and working in the clothing industry despite still only being 26 years old.

Lawrie Wilson; He of the lovely hair and a fan favourite, now plays for National League club Ebbsfleet. Lawrie did sign a two year contract with League Two side Port Vale after his Bolton departure, but their manager got sacked shortly after and it seems that the incoming manager, bald eagle Neil Aspin, didn’t like the cut of Lawrie’s jib or his luscious wavy hair. Either way Wilson was frozen out and transferred off to Ebbsfleet in January this year. Wish the lad well, as he always came across as a decent bloke, although, regretfully, Parky made the right decision in letting him go.

Lewis Buxton; Oh dear, he had a shocking early season for us then got injured. His end of season departure was a surprise to no one. Lewis is now effectively retired and the 34 year old has his own business outside of football.

Dean Moxey; I’m not a fan. At all. One of the many Freedman signings from Palace, Moxey had a pedigree that was never witnessed in a Bolton shirt. Additionally, an experienced player who blames his mistakes on youngsters starting out in the game, as I witnessed in an away game at Brentford, gets no kudos from me. Anyhow, it’s safe to say that it was a relief to many fans when Deans contract was not renewed. Moxey returned to his roots at Exeter with a nice three year contract to finish his playing career on. Also writes a column for the DevonLive paper.

Sam Lavelle; the now 21 year old youngster plays his football with League Two club Morecambe. Famous for allegedly being ‘hung out to dry’ by Bolton, thanks to the then embargo restrictions, Lavelle had a point to prove. However, that point was somewhat blunted after just 19 appearances in a team that avoided relegation to the non-league on the last day of the season by goal difference.

Midfielders:

Jay Spearing; Most fans were gutted when a key player and our main team captain during our League One promotion season, could not agree terms with the club. Spearing was reluctantly released by Parky. Fate however, is a fickle beast. Many thought that Jay would be lining up with a Championship competitor to Bolton this season just gone. Jay ended up at... Blackpool, on a one season contract. No matter which way you look at it, that must’ve been a massive kick in the knackers for the midfield maestro. Spearing made a disappointing 23 appearances (for a man of his calibre) for a League One team that finished in 12th place. At the time of writing, there is no confirmation as to whether Jay will extend his stay at Blackpool or move elsewhere. All things considered, I was a Spearing fan and wish him well in whatever he does next.

Liam Trotter; Christ, another Freedman signing, who did well for Millwall, before, buffooning his way through a lucrative Bolton contract. One of a pool of midfielders whose stagnant performances scarred Bolton fans for a number of seasons. Now back down south with League One AFC Wimbledon on a contract of undisclosed length, Trotter has made an impressive 42 league appearances with 3 goals to boot, helping the real Dons to an 18th place finish. However, he’s not a Championship player as he so painfully proved for Bolton. Hope he continues to do well at the Dons though, as I have a soft spot for the revamped AFC Wimbledon.

Mark Davies; still only 29, Mavies/Sparky shows the other side of football. A hugely talented player but someone who was always one game away from a serious injury. Paid well no doubt, but that must be of little comfort when forever in the treatment room. Mark is still trying to make a comeback, although our chairman indicated that it will be unlikely. I loved Sparky as a player, so I do hope he can confound the medics and at least get some game time before age has its say. It goes without saying that Davies has been unattached since his release from Bolton.

Tom Walker; Early promise the season before wasn’t maintained and it was of little surprise to hear of his release. After then failing to impress during a summer trial at Port Vale, Walker has subsequently played for Stockport County, United of Manchester and Salford City this past season. Tom has another year under contract at National League side Salford.

Hyuga Tanner; Another one of the embargo ’hung out to dry’ starlets. As not considered worthy of his own Wikipedia page, I’ve actually had to do a bit more research. Hyuga joined Welsh League side Bala Bridge last season, after a TEN week trial, which in turn followed a trial out in the Japanese J League. Tanner then moved to Bamber Bridge in the Evo-Stick North League last February. Glory followed. As I’m sure you all know, Bamber beat Prescot Cables 1-0 in front of 1600 fans at the Sir Tom Finney stadium to gain promotion to the Northern Premier League. Alas after that the trail goes cold. I can only assume that Tanner is with BBFC next season.

Strikers:

Max Clayton; Joined Blackpool on a two year contract after his Bolton release and made two scoreless appearances last season. Not exactly a great year. Many Bolton fans voiced their disapproval when Bolton announced his departure but hindsight shows that Parky was right to let him go.

Connor Wilkinson; hmmm, I’ll try to give a neutral review for the bellend. Signed a two year deal with League One Gillingham after his joyous departure from Bolton. A transfer fee was apparently involved as well, how we laughed. Played 34 league games for the Gills (according to TransferMarkt, as Wikipedia gave up on him after 10 games), mostly off the bench, whilst to the surprise of no one, other than the mad man who signed him for Gillingham, scored just four times. Moving on...

Jamie Proctor; After totally bombing in his one season for Bolton, Jamie transferred to newly relegated League One side Rotherham on a two year contract for an undisclosed fee. As per the Wilkinson sale, this was greeted with much joy by the Bolton faithful. This is were some seriousness is needed. A promising pre-season and early start with his new club, including a League Cup goal, was curtailed after Jamie suffered a serious ACL knee injury against Charlton. That was the end of Proctors season and we can only wish him well in his recovery. On a touching note, the Millers manager, Paul Warne, let a still injured Proctor lead out the team for the recent League One playoff final at Wembley, to recognise the effort Jamie had put in to get fit again. What a top bloke.

George Newell; Son of the famous Blackburn striker Mike Newell, George signed a one year contract with Scottish Prem side Motherwell after his Bolton departure. The 21 year old went on to play 8 league games in an injury hit season that included a fractured cheekbone in the Scottish Cup semi-final in April. At the time of writing there is no update as to whether Newell has been offered a contract extension or released to further his career elsewhere.

Alex Samizadeh; Scenes at the Macron when the prospective Bolton Messi was released, similar to the scenes at the Macron the previous year when the prospective Bolton Messi, Jamie Thomas was released. Alex signed a one year contract with Scottish Prem side Kilmarnock after leaving Bolton. He went on to make one solitary appearance before the Killies released him last month. Samizadeh is currently without a club at time of writing.

So, in summary, it seems that Parky nailed it in regard to those players considered not good enough to continue their careers with Bolton. So much so, I wonder as to whether last seasons ongoing embargo actually affected his decisions.