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ON THIS DAY: Kelly's finest hour at Wigan and legal wrangles over Big Sam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
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FROM The Bolton News – April 10, 2020

THE Football League’s verdict that Wanderers had ‘poached’ Sam Allardyce’s services from Notts County sent both clubs running to their lawyers.

Bolton had been hit with a £45,000 fine from the league for enticing their former player from Meadow Lane in October 1999. Big Sam had also been fined what equated to a week’s wage for breaking his contract.

But the squabbling continued after the disciplinary panel had given their verdict which claimed Allardyce had “not been in a position to talk to other clubs” after handing in his notice.

The fact Allardyce had led Wanderers to two cup semi-finals and the fringes of the play-offs had rubbed salt into Notts County’s wounds.

And Magpies managing director, Geoff Davey, said the verdict had given the green light to managers to break their contracts and for clubs to tempt them away.

"I am amazed, disappointed and simply staggered by this ruling. Not only will there be managers out there looking at this and rubbing their hands together but clubs looking to replace their manager will be thinking that it only cost Bolton £45,000 to get the man they wanted.

"If we had sacked Sam we would have had to pay him well in excess of £100,000. I find it astonishing that the league have found him to be in breach of contract and Bolton guilty of enticing him to join them, yet we have come out of it with nothing.”

FROM The Bolton News - April 10, 2010

PADDY McGuinness recalled how he fell in love with Wanderers from the top of Normid’s roof.

The comedian was doing some promotional work at the club when he stopped for a chat with The Bolton News, citing Chung-Yong Lee as his favourite player in the current squad.

“I’ve always supported Bolton,” he said. “Never even considered United.

“My earliest memory was hanging about outside Burnden Park to get an autograph from George Oghani.

“Back then, Burnden Park always seemed to be quite miserable. It was always cold and me and my mates were only kids, we couldn’t see the game properly.

“All I remember seeing was the backs of bloke’s elbows and shoulders. I never saw the pitch or the players.

“But it was fun. I used to love all the singing. Even watching games from Normid’s roof.”

Despite being one of the town’s most recognisable faces – the Farnworth-born McGuinness said he rarely met his current footballing heroes.

“It’s strange, I’ve only met Kevin Davies once,” he said. “I live in Bolton and I know lots of footballers, but actual Bolton Wanderers players, I have only ever met him.

“Sometimes though, because it’s your team, it’s probably better you don’t meet them.

“That means I can cheer them on and not think ‘I was doing sambuca shots with him last night.’”

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ON this day - April 10, 1993

ANDY Walker scored his last goal of a prolific 1992/93 season as Wanderers beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Springfield Park.

The Scottish striker had formed a deadly partnership with John McGinlay that had put Bruce Rioch’s side in good stead for promotion and equalled Nat Lofthouse’s post-war scoring record with his 33rd of the season.

But the headlines would be claimed by Kelly and a solo goal that still gets a yearly airing on social media to this day.

After surging into the penalty box he swapped passes with McGinlay then rounded the keeper and passed the ball into the net in front of thousands of Bolton fans on the open terrace.

“You get surprised sometimes,” remarked Bruce Rioch after the game.

1940: GEORGE Hunt scored the first Wanderers hat-trick of war time when he helped the team beat Barnsley 5-1 at Burnden Park in front of a crowd of just 700 people – an attendance dramatically affected by government guidelines on gatherings.

1902: DURING April Burnden hosted games to raise money for those affected by the Ibrox disaster, in which a stand collapsed during a Scotland v England international and killed 25 people.

Wanderers staged a friendly game against local foes Preston North End and another match was contested between the Bolton Bakers and the Bolton Chimney Sweeps.

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