Gudni Bergssson has told Wanderers fans to keep faith in testing times on and off the pitch.
The Icelander was signed at Burnden Park exactly 25 years ago for the initial bargain fee of £65,000 and made his debut in the Coca Cola Cup final against Liverpool.
He went on to play another eight seasons for the club, winning promotion three times under three different managers.
And in a special message to Bolton fans currently looking after their families with no football as a distraction, he hoped the community spirit which made him fall in love with the town will prevail.
“I didn’t expect to play for Bolton 25 years ago but it is an honour and a privilege to have done it,” he told The Bolton News. “I was lucky to be a part of the town, my kids grew up there, and it became my home.
“Whether we had success or hard times at Bolton Wanderers we were all in it together – the players, the staff, the coaches, the fans. The whole community was part of what we were doing.
“I hope that stays close again because things will improve, I am sure of that.”
Bergsson, now the head of the Icelandic FA, also forecasts better times for the club after a forgettable season in which its very existence was threatened.
“The fans were treated badly by the previous owner, it was such a disappointment with Ken Anderson in charge,” he said. “From what I saw and what I heard it was not going in the right direction – but the club can rise again.
“We have to make sure we recharge that spirit and that the club is ambitious.
“If you get the right strategy, the right business plan and get the right people around you then anything is possible. And the onus is now on the owners to build the club up again.
“It will take some time but it will be worth it in the end.”