Having spent an eventful six months at Bolton Wanderers at the start of the century, centre back Paul Ritchie finally sealed his long rumoured move to Scottish giants Rangers.
But his time at Ibrox was short lived. After just a month, Ritchie returned to the North West to sign for Manchester City for £500,000 without playing a competitive game.
In a recent interview with The Scotsman, the former Hearts player spoke about his regret of his move to Rangers, stating that he felt his move was to stop the criticism that the club wasn’t signing Scottish players. He also revealed that he might have been better off staying at The Reebok Stadium.
“But, if I’m being truthful, once I knew my time at Hearts was up, I should have stayed at Bolton. That time under Sam Allardyce and Phil Brown was probably one of the happiest times of my career outwith playing for Hearts”, Ritchie stated.
“During that six months I was there, Bolton were flying. We reached the semi-finals of both major cups and just lost out on promotion in the play-offs.
“But there were things already in the pipeline with Rangers and the decision was made. At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do.
“Looking back, it was far from the right thing to do. That’s life. Everybody makes decisions and you have to live by them.”
One of Big Sam's first signings, Paul Ritchie played twenty-one games for Bolton, including the semi-finals defeats of the League Cup, FA Cup and 1st Division play-offs to Tranmere Rovers, Aston Villa & Ipswich Town respectively.