Remember the time Bolton Wanderers forced their way into the UEFA Cup in 2004/05 season? Yeah, the same season when they also should have easily pushed their way into a Champions League spot. All under the guidance of Sam Allardyce; the good ol’ days of the Premier League.
Bolton may have had a solid season in 2003/04, although Steve McClaren’s Middlesborough spoiled the party in the League Cup final. Fast forward a year and with a squad littered with transfers that almost seemed too good to pull off (…ahem, we’re looking at you Sam) the Wanderers were able to pull off a brilliant season, with, a rather brilliant little squad. So, here’s a look at just what has happened to 15 of that squad, and, where they are now…
FIFTEEN YEARS and 500+ appearances at Bolton, the 41-year-old will leave Wigan, becoming a free agent, in the Summer. Wow. Image source: Lion Of Vienna Suite
Tunisian League winner joined Bolton in 2004, stayed for two years, now finds himself coaching Southampton's U23's. It's a strange world. Image source: Twitter
Tal Ben Haim
Three successful years with Bolton earned him a move to Chelsea, as well as almost every other PL club. After moving between nine clubs, he finds himself back at boyhood club Maccabi Tel Aviv. Image source: Pundit Arena
A Bolton youth product with eight seasons for the senior team. Still playing, currently with League 2 side Leyton Orient. Image source: Wikipedia
A legend at Bolton, the hair guru has since returned to Spanish shores and is a director on the board at Mallorca. Image source; Alchetron
Having played for PSG, Milan, Lyon and Marseillie he was released by Bolton in 2006. Now coaching at French amateur side, Union Football Belleville Saint Jean d'Ardières. Image Sourced; BWFC
One year in Bolton was enough for one of the most underrated midfielders in football. Unfortunately for Bolton, he was past his best at this point.
Now, managing Real Oviedo in Segunda Division. Image source: Coral
An absolute legend of the game, RIP. Image source: Lion Of Vienna Suite
Won it all in Greece, won the Euro's with Greece in 2004 and finished second highest goal scorer for Bolton. Now? Oh you know, just working as a firefighter for the Hellenic Fire Service. Standard. Image source: Lion Of Vienna Suite
Jay Jay Okocha
One of the ALL-TIME greats of the Premier League. So good they named him twice, the Bolton captain was Nigeria's answer to Ronaldinho. Uncle to Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, he now runs the Okocha Foundation. Image source: The National
A striker who also filled in at left-back. Pedersen was joint top goal scorer for the season, and, now retired owns a sports bar in Silkeborg, Denmark. Image source; Bolton Wanderer's Supporters Trust
Three-time Bolton's POTY, we all know about this mans style of play!
Won his only England cap at the age of 33, now in the punditry game, recently put on a charity match to raise funds for Team GB's deaf football team. Kudos to that man. Image source; Football League World
Kevin Davies' partner in crime. 10 years at the club before moving on. Currently player manager of League 2's Notts County. Image source; Goddardbcoliy
El Hadji Diouf
Potentially one of the most hated players in Premier League history. Diouf enjoyed a successful year on loan from Liverpool before the move was made permanent. Rumoured to be sitting at random passer-bys instead of football fans now. Or, going into politics in Senegal. Image source; Lion Of Vienna Suite
14 years at Bolton; he now finds himself coaching boyhood club Harbour View, and, CEO of music label Heart of Love Production...Yep! Image source: Twitter
This bizarre Bolton squad qualified for the UEFA Cup, the first time the club had been in a European competition. But, Bolton were only 3 points off of a Champions League spot. A bittersweet moment for all involved, none more so than the gaffer.
“We had 39 points after 21 games…ahead of Arsenal, ahead of Liverpool. We needed to spend some money to give us an opportunity to finish in the Champions League and I was turned down flat and told that we don’t want to finish in the Champions League.”
– Sam Allardyce.
Oh what could have been for Bolton, and, for Sam Allardyce. Still, at least everyone involved with this breakthrough Bolton team have gone on to have successful careers in and out of football, eh?