2003: Youri Djorkaeff and Jay Jay Okocha inspired a 2-0 home victory over Everton that had manager Sam Allardyce claiming Bolton Wanderers fans had never had it so good – well, not since the Nat Lofthouse era.
Big Sam, who stunned the football world when he convinced Djorkaeff and Okocha to join his Reebok revolution, was himself a member of a Bolton side that had graced the top flight.
But he readily admitted the current crop eclipsed not only that Ian Greaves crew but any team Wanderers fans had followed in half a century.
“Not only have they got great players to watch but this is the best period in the history of Bolton Wanderers since way back in the Nat Lofthouse days,” the manager said after witnessing the comprehensive victory over Everton.
1998: Colin Todd’s Wanderers side answered their critics in stunning fashion by playing their way back into the promotion reckoning with a third win in eight days – a four-goal trouncing of neighbours Bury.
Relegated from the Premiership the previous season, the Whites started the campaign as favourites to bounce straight back but an appalling run of one win in 10 games saw them drop into mid-table and doubts were starting to creep in. But after man-of-the-match Michael Johansen led the charge with the first two goals in a demolition derby that also brought a brace for Arnar Gunnlaugsson, Todd praised the team spirit and the inner strength of his players.
“When you have an indifferent spell you get out of it by pulling together,” the manager said. “I keep saying we have very good players here but ability is one thing and character is another – and that is one aspect that has been excellent.”
1990: Phil Neal accepted the Barclays Division Three Manager of the Month award for November on behalf of “everyone at Bolton Wanderers”.
It was Neal’s third top-boss award in 13 months and came on the back of five wins in as many games as they extended their unbeaten run to nine matches.
1965: The headline announced that Wanderers had been drawn at home to West Brom in the third round of the FA Cup but, with the benefit of hindsight, the most significant story of the day was tucked away under the headline “Bolton sign starlet”.
The starlet in question was a certain Garry Jones – a 15-year-old Wythenshawe lad who had made a name for himself playing for Manchester Schoolboys, attracting interest from both City and United. The report included a picture of the latest recruit to the Burnden youth ranks but, not for the first time in those early days, his name was spelled wrong. Newspapers up and down the land would soon become accustomed to referring to Garry not Gary as that fresh-faced teenager became the golden boy of the Seventies.
Spelling apart, though, somebody knew what they were doing when they scouted young Jones and identified him as having “some promise.”
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