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ON THIS DAY: Villa target Tommo is shunned and Okocha gets booked

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
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1998: COLIN Todd insisted that Alan Thompson was going places – even if that proved to be Aston Villa.

The Wanderers boss was trying to ignore strong speculation that the Geordie midfield ace was top of Villa's summer shopping list.

But he has repeated his forecast that Tommo was destined to play for England - even though Glenn Hoddle had overlooked him when he announced two bulging squads for the next week’s set of internationals.

Todd says he was 'B'-itterly disappointed to see Premiership reserves and Division One and Two players selected ahead of the Reebok ace.

"Alan's an England player for the future," Todd said, repeating his long-held view of the talented 24-year-old, "and it was a great opportunity for Glenn Hoddle to have a look at him when he named two big squads. I thought he was planning for the future.

"I know Alan will just shrug it off but, as his manager, I was extremely disappointed when I saw those lists. He certainly deserves to be in the B squad."

Hoddle named 59 players for the two games - 34 in the seniors for a sell-out Wembley clash with Portugal, another 25 for a B international against Russia at Loftus Road the night before.

The inclusion of Matt Le Tissier and Darren Anderton in the B squad gave the tabloids plenty to get their teeth into but it was the naming of some of the lesser lights that shocked Todd.

No fewer than 13 of the 25 are currently playing outside the Premiership while Manchester United pair John Curtis and Michael Clegg and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher are not regular first teamers.

Todd says: "It's annoying! I've said all along that Alan has the ability and he will get in the full England squad at some point in the future. He's played in the U-21s and I wouldn't have recommended him for the full squad if I didn't think he was capable.

"He's playing well and he's playing regularly in the Premiership. I wouldn't have minded if he'd been playing badly but he's been outstanding lately. What more can he do?"

Another noteable omission from Wanderers point of view was Andy Todd. But the Wanderers boss is reluctant to be seen pushing his son. Yet, if Hoddle was casting his net wider than ever and looking at future England prospects, Todd Jnr has done enough this season to have earned a chance to stake his claim.

"I've got to be careful what I say about Andy for obvious reasons," the manager said. "But it is fair to say he has been one of our most consistent players this season. He had a poor game at Derby on Monday but he was outstanding against Blackburn. Every player will have a 'blip' from time to time."

2003: JAY-JAY Okocha got booked when he took his monster new car for its first spin.

The Wanderers midfield star, then 29, made transport history by becoming the first ever driver in Britain to get a £40 parking ticket on an American Lincoln Blackwood Jeep.

Okocha splashed out £44,000 on the luxury motor, which has a massive 5.4 litre engine, after learning it is the only one on the road in this country. But the Nigerian star had to eat humble pie when he popped to the shops.

Within hours after taking delivery of the car, traffic wardens pounced after he parked it on a double yellow line to go shopping in Manchester city centre.

One on-looker said: "Jay-Jay was only gone for a short time. It's a distinctive vehicle so it was probably hardly surprising the traffic wardens noticed it. Thankfully Jay-Jay took it all in his stride and just popped his food into the boot.

"He will be too busy beaming over getting his new motor to worry about a parking ticket. These cars must be like gold dust."

1989: Nat Lofthouse was the guest of honour at the annual dinner of the PFA at London’s Hilton Hotel, receiving a special merit award in recognition of his service to Bolton Wanderers and his 50 years in the game.

1973: Stuart Lee scored a hat-trick for Wanderers as they beat Halifax Town 3-0 at Burnden Park.

Jimmy Armfield’s side were closing in on a return to Division Two and would clinch promotion the following weekend.

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