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Bolton Wanderers’ Former Tunisian: Radhi Jaidi

Only one Tunisian has appeared for Bolton and it was Big Sam’s centre back. 

Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers
Jaidi runs past an angry Jose Mourinho having just bagged Bolton’s equaliser at the Bridge.
Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images

Jaidi played for Bolton Wanderers between 2004 and 2006 making 43 appearances for the club. Internationally he played for Tunisia over 100 times. He was a part of Tunisia’s African Cup of Nations winning side in 2004 and he also represented Tunisia at the World Cup while at Bolton.

Bolton signed Jaidi as a league title winner from Esperance Sportive de Tunis where he played for 11 years making nearly 300 appearances. While playing in Tunisia he won a number of league tiles and the African Champions League along with some other domestic and continental cups.

He was a part of the Bolton squad which qualified for the Europa League for the first time in their history in 2005. He played 27 games during that season scoring on 5 occasions. That season he grabbed his first goal for the club against Arsenal in a 2-2 draw, making him the first Tunisian to score a Premier League goal. He left Highbury that day with a Man of the Match award and a bottle of champagne he wouldn’t drink for religious reasons.

Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool
Yet another goal against the big four with Liverpool this time on the recieveing end.
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Jaidi had something of a knack of scoring against the big sides and I remember watching on at Stamford Bridge as he grabbed Bolton’s equaliser as we came back from 2-0 down against the big spenders. He was a less important player during the following season but still made 16 appearances during Bolton’s maiden European campaign.

He may not have been at Bolton that long, but his impact was immense. This is evidenced by him being voted as Bolton’s 25th greatest ever player.

Bolton had a reject a transfer request from the player and there were reports that his representatives had been offering him to other Premier League clubs. Jaidi would eventually leave Bolton moving to Championship side Birmingham City for £2 million and he made over 80 appearances during his 3 years at the club. He then moved to Southampton where he made over 50 appearances. To this day he remains on the south coast as assistant for Southampton’s Under-23 side.