Bolton's Unlikely Superstars

  • July 06, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Years and years on, it seems strange the amount of big names who have passed through our humble little club.

Of course, there's the likes of Frank Worthington and Nat Lofthouse - heroes to step out on the Burnden turf, but what about those foreign imports of the early 2000s? It would seem crazy now to see players signing from the Galacticos or PSG.

We've seen Real Madrid stars, international legends and a man so good they named him twice pass through the Reebok changing rooms over the years. We take a look back at some of the Wanderers' finest imports.

Jay-Jay Okocha

It's kind of impossible not to start with the Nigerian superstar. He somehow managed to bring an air of Hollywood to very centre of Horwich Parkway. His trickery was mesmerising, confusing defenders and spectators alike, going on to captain the side to the League Cup final, as well as doing a great deal to keep them in the Premier League in 2003.

Perhaps the finest free-signing of all time for Bolton, he arrived in 2002, spending four years at the club, yet his legacy means we're still trying to figure out his impossible showboating.

Fernando Hierro

A man who led Real Madrid to five La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies, captaining the likes of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, and the now card playing extraordinare Ronaldo who has taken to playing poker.

However, it was Hierro who took the gamble, under the advice of Steve McManaman, joining the Trotters in 2004. He spent one year with the club and despite Big Sam asking him to stay on for one more season, retired at the end of the 2004/05 campaign.

Ivan Campo

A former teammate of Hierro, the Spanish international notched up 172 league appearances for the Whites, after joining from Real Madrid - the deciding factor being, following a loan spell, he preferred living in Bolton!

His experience in the Champions League, where he lifted the trophy in 2000, helped Allardyce's men survive on the final day of the 2002/03 season.

Nicolas Anelka

Anelka's scoring record at Bolton helped Wanderers finish in the top-eight for two consecutive seasons, and get into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup - defeating Red Star Belgrade and Atletico Madrid in the process.

He re-found the lethal form he'd had at Arsenal as an 18-year-old, scoring 23 in just 61 appearances before Chelsea put in a big money offer of £15million to acquire his services.

Youri Djorkaeff

Just four years after winning the biggest trophy of all with France, in 1998, he joined up with Okocha and Campo to create one of the most irresistible looking midfields in the Premier League. His creativity allowed Okocha to run wild during his two-year spell with the club, whilst his overhead kick at the Valley in 2003 will long be remembered as one of his greatest goals.

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Pos Team Pld Pts
5 Tranmere Rovers 32 54
6 Newport County 32 51
7 Bolton Wanderers 33 51
8 Exeter City 31 50
9 Salford City 32 50
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