The Curse Behind Bolton's Golden Boot Award

  • November 21, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/6e341

Following Bolton's decision to loan last season's top goalscorer, Jermaine Beckford, to Preston North End, we look at the poisoned chalice behind the club's Golden Boot award.

Six months after he ended a debut campaign with Wanderers as their leading 'scorer, Beckford will be playing League One football at the weekend after failing to impress new manager Neil Lennon.

By departing Macron Stadium, almost certainly for good, Beckford is likely to join a list that could see him become the fourth successive winner of the club's Golden Boot honour to leave within the 12 months that followed.

In the campaigns that preceeded last season, Chris Eagles, Ivan Klasnic and Johan Elmander all basked in individual glory, only to see their fortunes turn sour in short periods of time.

In fact, after Nicolas Anelka's departure in January 2009, five of Bolton's last seven Golden Boot winners have departed the club at some stage in the year that followed. Since the end of the 2006/07 campaign, the only man to survive more than one further season with Wanderers is Kevin Davies - who won the award in 2008/09 and 2009/10, respectively.

The sale of goalscoring players isn't uncommon for a club outside of the Premier League's elite few, as demonstrated by the £15million Bolton received from Chelsea for Anelka, but Beckford, Eagles, Klasnic and Elmander's departures all failed to generate a fee for Wanderers, who, as latest figures show, are £163.8million in debt.

The 'curse', as we have dubbed it, began when the club's top marksman for 2010/11, Elmander, left at the end of that same season. An £8.2million club-record signing from Toulouse three years earlier, the Sweden international netted 12 goals in his most successful season at the Reebok Stadium before opting to join Galatasaray on a free transfer upon the expiry of his contract.

In the season that followed, Klasnic scored nine goals as Wanderers' 11-year stay in the Premier League came to an end. Like Elmander, the Croatia international had also spent three years with the Trotters, but decided to leave after they were relegated to the Championship.

In their first year back in the second-tier, Eagles scored 12 times from midfield as Bolton missed out on the Championship play-off places by virtue of goal difference. His performances in 2012/13 saw him finish as runner-up to Jay Spearing in the club's Player of the Year awards, but a combination of injury, poor form and reported attitude issues led to him falling out of favour just months later, leading to his release in the summer of 2014.

Beckford, who ended last season as Bolton's top goalscorer, with nine goals, is likely to join that list when his contract expires next summer. Prior to Thursday's announcement that he will spend the remainder of his deal on loan at Preston, the former Leeds United forward had made 16 appearances this season - scoring twice - although he had registered just five league starts.

With the fall from grace that seemingly comes with the Golden Boot award at Macron Stadium, who is likely to suffer from their own success over the course of the next 12-18 months?

Craig Davies, Joe Mason and Matt Mills currently head the scoring charts, all of whom have four goals to their name, but there is only one name from that particular trio likely to stay there for the duration of the season.

As a defender, Mills' goalscoring exploits, while impressive, are unlikely to continue, while Mason has fallen down the pecking order since Lennon's arrival as manager. That leaves Davies as the favourite to lift the Golden Boot this season.

Davies is currently producing the form of his career, just months after he was shipped out on loan, like Beckford, to Preston. He has returned to Bolton with a new lease of life and is currently a popular figure in the stands. What happens between now, the end of the campaign and throughout the course of next season remains to be seen - will he be the man to break the curse?

Bolton Wanderers Golden Boot Winners (2007-2014)

2013/14 - Jermaine Beckford (9)
2012/13 - Chris Eagles (12)
2011/12 - Ivan Klasnic (9)
2010/11 - Johan Elmander (12)
2009/10 - Kevin Davies (9)
2008/09 - Kevin Davies (11)
2007/08 - Nicolas Anelka (11)
2006/07 - Nicolas Anelka (12)

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Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Reading 46 47
21 Millwall 46 44
22 Rotherham United 46 40
23 Bolton Wanderers 46 32
24 Ipswich Town 46 31
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