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The day Youri became a Wanderer

Seventeen years ago today, Le God joined Bolton

Youri Djorkaeff celebrates 1st goal Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

As I scrolled social media this morning, a delightful throwback instantly drew my attention. On this day in 2002, Youri Djorkaeff signed for Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer.

It seems almost surreal to look back and think that such a decorated player, a World Cup and Euros winner, would want to sign for little ol’ Bolton.

At the time, Djorkaeff was 33 and playing for German side Kaiserslautern, but was out of favour and needed a fresh start.

It was a mixture of his desire to be in the French team for the 2002 World Cup, coupled with Big Sam’s sale pitch, that convinced Youri to become a Wanderer.

Upon his arrival, Big Sam stated:

“Signing a player of Youri’s calibre and class underlines our determination to stay in the Premiership. He is an outstanding world-class player and a World Cup winner, and perhaps the biggest signing in the club’s history.

“From the club’s point of view, it shows our great determination through long and protracted negotiations in getting our man.”

Youri, alongisde Bruno N’Gotty and Fredi Bobic, were the first generation of the so called Wanderers ‘Galacticos’.

His impact was instant. Impressing with his technique and style, Le God quickly became a fans favourite at The Reebok & helped Wanderers go from relegation favourites to a top ten side in two years. Djorkaeff played 80 times for Bolton, scoring 21 goals.

Who could forget his stunning overhead kick at Charlton or his chip against Brad Friedel at Ewood Park that sparked a superb comeback?

Youri left Wanderers a legend.

Merci, Le God.