When looking for awful players to wear the Bolton Wanderers shirt, there are many. There were a stream of dodgy players when we played in the old fourth division, but it’s hardly fair to single them out because in those days, they were barely sportsmen at all, all 20 fags a day and a pint of stout at half-time. In more recent years, there’s been a cavalcade of lousy signings thanks to Sam Allardyce’s ‘Buy In Bulk’ policy.
Alas, Bolton fans have a fondness for those plucky, but dreadful players who have graced the turf at Burnden and the Middlebrook. Mario Jardel was in a terrible mental place while playing for Bolton, and approximately 500 tonnes overweight. His performances were hardly memorable, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Trotter who actively dislikes him. Same goes for the unfortunate Henrik Pedersen with his terrible peacock celebration (which got mercifully few outings). So poor was Henrik at being a centre-forward, he saw his Bolton days out as a makeshift left-back because he was the only left-footed player we had.
Elsewhere, Owen Coyle played few and scored few at Burnden Park, despite being hailed as a ‘returning legend’ as he took up his managerial post. That said, a couple of vital goals ensures his place in the annals of great Bolton moments. Same goes for the hapless Fabian de Freitas. Wearing 14 like another Dutch legend, Johann Cruyff, Fab invented a new style of football, but rather than being ‘Total’, it was more a case of ‘Baffling’. However, his brace against Reading in the play-off final (one with an assist from his hand) will see Fabian as a folk hero... despite being absolutely awful. A brief nod has to go to Michael Ricketts who went from being one of the most promising players in the country, to an overweight, workshy, cocky catastrophe. In many respects, Ricketts is the most hopeless of the lot.
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