Tag Archives: Bolton Wanderers

Memorable Matches: Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea (April 2005)

Goalscorer: Frank Lampard 60, 76

Teams:

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Tal Ben-Haim, Vincent Candela (Radhi Jaidi 77), Fernando Hierro, Bruno N’Gotty, Ricardo Gardner, Stelios Giannakopoulos (Henrik Pedersen 63), Gary Speed, Jay-Jay Okocha (Kevin Nolan 63), Kevin Davies, El-Hadji Diouf

Chelsea: Petr Cech, Geremi, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, William Gallas, Claude Makelele (Alexei Smertin 90), Jiri Jarosik, Tiago, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba (Robert Huth 65), Eidur Gudjohnsen (Joe Cole 85)

Referee: Steve Dunn, Attendance: 27,653

April 30th 2005 will be a date that Chelsea supporters will never forget. It was the day when their 50-year wait for being crowned champions of England would end. Only a defeat at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium would delay their crowning as the kings of English football.

Chelsea had been outstanding all season. Coming into this match, Jose Mourinho’s side had only lost once all campaign in the league and had sprinted clear from their nearest pursuers, reigning champions Arsenal and Manchester United. Bolton weren’t going to roll over though. They were looking good for a top-six finish and with it, the prize of European football next season. They’d also come back from 2-0 down to grab a point at Stamford Bridge in November.

The first half was a cagey affair with few clear-cut goalscoring opportunities. It seemed like the nerves had hit the Chelsea players and it was the home side who missed the best chance of a goalless first 45 minutes. Kevin Davies headed straight into Petr Cech’s midriff when he was given a free header in the penalty area.

Fittingly, it was one of Chelsea’s stars of the season who produced the seminal moment. Frank Lampard broke into the penalty area and fired Chelsea into the lead just before the hour mark with another emphatic finish. Bolton thought Jiri Jarosik had fouled Fernando Hierro in the build-up to the goal but their protests fell on deaf ears. The title loomed large for the west Londoners.

There were still some scares though. Gary Speed’s long throw-in saw Geremi almost score a spectacular own goal. The Cameroonian, playing in an unfamiliar full-back role leapt to reach Speed’s throw-in but rather than clear the ball, he forced Cech into an impressive reflex save.

With 15 minutes remaining, the game was still in the balance. Chelsea needed another goal to be sure of their success and it was Lampard who sealed the coronation. A Bolton attack broke down from their corner and Claude Makelele played a delicious pass into the feet of Lampard. With Wanderers defenders stranded up pitch, Lampard bared down on-goal. He had Ricardo Carvalho alongside him but he was never going to pass to the Portuguese defender. Lampard rounded Jussi Jaaskelainen, sent the ball into the empty net and the celebrations could properly begin. Chelsea were champions and they were going to tell the world about it.

The Blues became only the fourth side in the Premier League era after Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal to win the title and this came in just Roman Abramovich’s second season of owning the club. In 2004-2005, Mourinho was definitely the “Special One.” Chelsea would win the League Cup too and finished with a record-high points tally in Premier League history. They collected the trophy a week later after a breathtaking campaign by the Londoners.

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Shock Results: Manchester United 1-2 Bolton Wanderers (October 2001)

Goalscorers: Juan Sebastian Veron 25, Kevin Nolan 35, Michael Ricketts 84

Teams:

Manchester United: Fabien Barthez, Phil Neville, David May (Gary Neville 78), Wes Brown, Mikael Silvestre, Nicky Butt, Juan Sebastian Veron, Paul Scholes (Ryan Giggs 66), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke (Luke Chadwick 67)

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Simon Charlton, Gudni Bergsson, Bruno N’Gotty, Mike Whitlow, Bo Hansen (Anthony Barness 82), Paul Warhurst (Jermaine Johnson 54), Kevin Nolan, Per Frandsen, Ricardo Gardner, Michael Ricketts

Referee: Graham Barber, Attendance: 67,559

This was the 100th meeting between Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers. After this surprising victory in October 2001, Sam Allardyce said: “There is no better feeling, apart from watching my children being born – it is my best result as a manager.”

Bolton had made a strong start to their Premier League return and had already beaten Liverpool FC and held Arsenal at Highbury. However, they had just lost 4-0 at home to Newcastle United seven days earlier.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side weren’t at their free-flowing best and had been beaten in the UEFA Champions League in midweek by Deportivo La Coruna. Nevertheless, they were expected to brush the Trotters’ side aside with relative ease infront of their biggest crowd of the season.

Ferguson did make eight changes following the defeat to the Spanish side in midweek and as expected, they did a lot of the pressing in the opening exchanges with Bolton sitting and containing their more fancied opponents. Allardyce’s tactic was working until the 25th minute.

Juan Sebastian Veron drove a free-kick into the back of the Bolton net from 30 yards out. However, 11 minutes later, the visitors’ silenced the Old Trafford faithful with an equaliser that suggested they were playing with utmost confidence. Bruno N’Gotty floated a long ball towards the back post. It was met by Michael Ricketts, who nodded the ball down into the path of Kevin Nolan. Nolan hit the deftest of volleys and it flew into the back of the net. Fabien Barthez had absolutely no chance.

The Red Devils were sprung into life by this shock equaliser and Jussi Jaaskelainen had to be sharp to make a remarkable double save to deny Paul Scholes and Andy Cole in very quick succession. Jaaskelainen’s acrobatics here would see him earn a nomination for the Premier League Save of the Decade at the 10 Seasons’ Awards. He was beaten by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shortly afterwards but the Norwegian was denied by an offside flag.

Many would have felt Bolton would try and hold on for a fantastic point but they sensed a real upset and having matched the men from Old Trafford throughout the second half, they seized their opportunity six minutes from the end. Ricketts shook off the attentions of Wes Brown, broke clear and smashed the ball past Barthez to set Allardyce’s side up for only their second win at the Theatre of Dreams in 40 years.

Bolton would stay up in 16th place on their return to the Premier League. Six home defeats for Manchester United during the season would see Ferguson’s side restricted to a third-place finish, nine points adrift of eventual champions Arsenal.

Shock Results: Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers (August 2001)

Goalscorers: Kevin Nolan 15, 41, Michael Ricketts 33, Per Frandsen 45, 83

Teams:

Leicester City: Tim Flowers, Callum Davidson (Lee Marshall 46), Matt Elliott, Gary Rowett, Frank Sinclair, Robbie Savage, Dennis Wise, Muzzy Izzet, Andy Impey, Ade Akinbiyi (Arnar Gunnlaugsson 46), Dean Sturridge (Junior Lewis 46)

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Anthony Barness, Gudni Bergsson (Ian Marshall 76), Simon Charlton, Mike Whitlow, Ricardo Gardner (Henrik Pedersen 66), Paul Warhurst (Nicky Southall 71), Per Frandsen, Kevin Nolan, Bo Hansen, Michael Ricketts

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 19,987

Bolton Wanderers were the favourites with many of the bookmakers to be relegated at the start of the 2001-2002 season. Sam Allardyce’s side had been promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs and unlike fellow promotion teams, Fulham and Blackburn Rovers, had barely spent a penny in the summer transfer window.

First up for Bolton was a trip to Leicester City. Leicester had finished the previous campaign in very poor form, slipping from sixth to 13th in the final two months of the season. Yet, no-one could have predicted the start Bolton would make. By half-time, they were an incredible 4-0 up. They went ahead after 15 minutes. Per Frandsen did well to escape the attentions of Muzzy Izzet, before outsprinting Robbie Savage to the by-line. He got his cross into the box and Kevin Nolan produced a looping header that managed to elude Tim Flowers in the Foxes’ goal. It was the start of a remarkable first half for Bolton as they enjoyed their first Premier League game since May 1998.

Although Leicester went close through a Matt Elliott header, it was the away side that were dominating the play and they doubled their lead 12 minutes before half-time. Ricardo Gardner picked out Michael Ricketts, who showed far too much strength for Leicester defender Gary Rowett. As Rowett fell to the floor and turned to the referee in the vain appeals of winning a free-kick, Ricketts continued and scored to send the 2,000 away supporters into sheer ecstasy. Their joy was soon to increase.

Four minutes before half-time and Nolan added his second goal of the afternoon. Frandsen chipped a free-kick into the box. Long-serving defender Gudni Bergsson flicked the ball on and there was Nolan, who had all the time in the world to drill home past shell-shocked goalkeeper Flowers. By now, Leicester supporters were already calling for manager Peter Taylor’s head and Bolton’s demolition job was not complete yet.

In the final minute of stoppage-time at the end of the first half, Frandsen turned from goal provider to goalscorer. His free-kick flew into the bottom corner of Flowers’ net to complete an almost perfect first 45 minutes for the visitors.

Taylor reacted by making three half-time changes but all that did was stem the flow of the match slightly. Bolton were more than happy with the lead they’d already built up. However, there was still time with seven minutes left to add a fifth goal. Frandsen produced another brilliant free-kick which was arguably better than his first effort. The 5-0 scoreline set the course for both teams’ seasons.

Leicester sacked Taylor a month later and were relegated in April 2002. Bolton survived for the first time in their Premier League history, ending the season in a creditable 16th position.

Memorable Matches: Arsenal 4-2 Bolton Wanderers (January 2010)

Goalscorers: Gary Cahill 7, Matt Taylor 28 PEN, Tomas Rosicky 43, Cesc Fabregas 52, Thomas Vermaelen 65, Andrey Arshavin 85

Teams:

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Denilson, Abou Diaby (Craig Eastmond 76), Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky (Carlos Vela 88), Andrey Arshavin, Eduardo (Theo Walcott 90)

Bolton Wanderers: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Gary Cahill, Zat Knight, Paul Robinson (Sam Ricketts 90), Gretar Steinsson, Mark Davies (Gavin McCann 56), Tamir Cohen, Fabrice Muamba, Matt Taylor, Chung-Yong Lee (Ivan Klasnic 81), Kevin Davies

Referee: Alan Wiley, Attendance: 59,084

Three days after Arsenal had won 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium, they hosted Bolton Wanderers again in a Premier League encounter which saw them produce plenty of resolve. Bolton had got the man they’d wanted in the dugout, prizing Owen Coyle away from Lancashire rivals Burnley. This was his first away match for the club.

Coyle decided to start with a 4-5-1 formation and try to neutralise the creative talents of Cesc Fabregas who had completely bossed the midfield 72 hours earlier. It meant Kevin Davies was set for a long and battling evening on his own in attack but Davies’ brut physical strength would give the Arsenal backline huge problems and ultimately, a 2-0 deficit inside the first half-hour.

Davies won an early battle against Gael Clichy in the air and nodded the ball down for Gary Cahill to drill home the first goal of the Coyle reign at Bolton. Arsenal were struggling to create chances despite dominating possession and the margin grew when Denilson fouled Chung-Yong Lee. Alan Wiley had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and Matt Taylor’s spot-kick was hit with pinpoint accuracy. Manuel Almunia guessed correctly and got a hand to Taylor’s kick but it crept in and Bolton were dreaming of a rare away win.

They really needed to protect that advantage going into half-time but couldn’t. Moments after Davies had headed against his own crossbar, Tomas Rosicky fired a strike past Jussi Jaaskelainen to give Arsenal a chance of completing a recovery in the second half. They were starting to get into the ascendency at the break and the pause didn’t check their momentum either.

Six minutes into the second half, Fabregas levelled the scores, driving the ball through Jaaskelainen’s legs from an extremely tight angle. Bolton were very unhappy though as they felt Mark Davies had been fouled in the build-up by William Gallas. They had a case as the tackle looked dangerous to say the least, especially as Mark Davies would ultimately have to be stretchered off the field.

Bolton’s resistance had been broken. Thomas Vermaelen would complete the comeback in the 65th minute, striking on the half-volley after the visitors had made a mess of clearing a corner. Arsenal needed another goal to ensure they finished the evening on top of the Premier League table and Andrey Arshavin delivered it five minutes from time, finishing off a neat exchange of passes between the Russian and Eduardo. Arsenal’s victory had completed a turnaround that had seen them wipe out an 11-point deficit on Chelsea after the Blues had won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium in late November 2009.

However, by the season’s end, old habits had returned and Arsenal tailed off to finish third in the table. Although they finished the night in the bottom three, Coyle would guide Bolton to safety, playing a more attractive brand of football than his predecessor Gary Megson along the way.

Premier League Files: Simon Charlton

Premier League Career: Southampton (1993-1997), Bolton Wanderers (2001-2004), Norwich City (2004-2005)

Making over 500 appearances in a career that spanned 18 years, Simon Charlton was a player who never took the limelight at any of his clubs. However, he was a well-respected figure by the supporters of the teams he represented and was a consistent performer throughout.

Frequently deployed as a left-back, Charlton began his career with his hometown club, Huddersfield Town. During that stint, he demonstrated the capabilities to play as a central defender or even in midfield. It was this versatility that helped win stay with clubs and play in prominent squad positions.

He moved to Southampton in June 1993 for £250,000 but barely figured initially under Ian Branfoot at the Saints. His PL debut came in a 2-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers, over five months after arriving on the south coast. However, he went onto make 114 Premier League appearances at The Dell, scoring twice. One of those goals was in a narrow defeat to Manchester United in May 1995.

Three years later, Simon dropped down a division to Birmingham City and would spend three campaigns in the second-tier, eventually escaping Division One with Bolton Wanderers in 2001. On his return to the top-flight, he appeared in 36 of the Trotters’ 38 Premier League matches in 2001-2002. Bolton avoided relegation and Charlton was chosen as the club’s Player of the Year. As Bolton started to improve under Sam Allardyce and more continental stars arrived, it wasn’t a surprise to see him slip down the pecking order at the Reebok Stadium.

He moved to Norwich City in 2004 but couldn’t avoid relegation with the Canaries in his first season with them. He fell out with boss Nigel Worthington and was released on a free transfer in 2006. On his departure, he fired parting shots at Worthington, claiming he had been made a “scapegoat” for the team’s indifferent performance that season. He spent one year at Oldham Athletic before retiring from the game. After playing, Charlton served time as a youth coach back at Norwich before going into management for a season at non-league Mildenhall. He now works in media as a commentator and summariser for Bolton Wanderers matches for BBC Radio Manchester.

Memorable Matches: Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Arsenal (March 2008)

Goalscorers: Matt Taylor 14, 43, William Gallas 62, Robin van Persie 68, Jlloyd Samuel 90 OG

Teams:

Bolton Wanderers: Ali Al-Habsi, Jlloyd Samuel, Gary Cahill, Andy O’Brien, Gretar Steinsson, Ivan Campo, Danny Guthrie, Gavin McCann, Matthew Taylor (Nicky Hunt 78), (Grzegorz Rasiak 81), El-Hadji Diouf (Stelios Giannakopoulos 78), Kevin Davies

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, Philippe Senderos (Theo Walcott 59), Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Mathieu Flamini, Abou Diaby (SENT OFF), Cesc Fabregas, Aleksandar Hleb, Nicklas Bendtner (Emmanuel Adebayor 60), Robin van Persie (Justin Hoyte 90)

Referee: Chris Foy, Attendance: 22,431

Arsenal visited the Reebok Stadium in March 2008 knowing they desperately needed to win to keep alive their title hopes. Having set the pace for the majority of the season, the Gunners had slipped to third in the standings and were without a win in five matches. This included a defeat to Chelsea the previous weekend.

The Gunners’ record at the Reebok was shambolic too. They hadn’t won here since April 2002 and after a nightmare opening 45 minutes in the driving rain, that run looked set to continue. 14 minutes had been played when Bolton took an unlikely lead. Gretar Steinsson produced a wonderful cross and Matt Taylor’s well-executed header flew into the back of the net. Steinsson was exposing Arsenal’s weakness at right-back. Kolo Toure had to play out of position due to an injury to regular full-back Bacary Sagna. His lack of experience in this position was clearly evident.

Arsene Wegner’s side were a goal down and soon a man down too. On 30 minutes, Abou Diaby was dismissed following a poor tackle on Steinsson. Chris Foy had no hesitation in showing the red card and replays proved he had made the right decision. Wenger was left shaking his head and the damage wasn’t over yet.

Two minutes before half-time, Mathieu Flamini was pressured into losing possession on the edge of his own penalty area. The ball dropped to Taylor and his shot deflected off captain William Gallas, leaving Manuel Almunia with no chance. Bolton led 2-0 at the break and looked to be heading towards a vital victory in their battle to preserve their Premier League status.

On the hour mark, Wenger knew he had to change things and threw his last remaining attacking substitutions on. Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor arrived. Within two minutes, Bolton’s advantage had been halved. Cesc Fabregas’ corner was inadvertently flicked on at the near post by Trotters’ skipper Ivan Campo. Steinsson failed to track the run of Gallas, who couldn’t miss from only a few yards out. All of a sudden, nerves were around the Reebok Stadium with both sets of supporters.

Six minutes later, the scores were improbably level. Gary Cahill overstretched and tripped Aleksandar Hleb in the box. Robin van Persie kept his composure to send Ali Al-Habsi the wrong way and score his first Premier League goal in five months. There always looked like being a winner in this game and it came in the 90th minute. Once again, Hleb got to the touchline and pulled the ball back to Fabregas. His shot took a crazy three deflections off Campo, Andy O’Brien and lastly, Jlloyd Samuel before nestling into the back of the net. Cue euphoria in the Arsenal away supporters’ end.

This was the best comeback victory of the 2007-2008 Premier League season and although Arsenal fell short in their bid to win the title, they fell just four points short of champions Manchester United.

Referees in the Middle: Chris Foy

Premier League Career: 2001-2015

First Premier League Match: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Charlton Athletic (15 December 2001)

Final Premier League Match: Manchester City 2-0 Southampton (24 May 2015)

Like many of his colleagues in the game, Chris Foy has taken charge of some of the biggest matches in English club football. The highlight of a 21-year career as both an assistant referee and referee was taking control of the 2010 FA Cup final between champions Chelsea and relegated Portsmouth. In the match, he awarded Pompey a spot-kick which Kevin-Prince Boateng missed four minutes before Didier Drogba’s free-kick was enough for the Blues’ to complete a league and cup double.

His first appointment was as an assistant referee in the Football League back in 1994. That breakthrough came 11 years after he started taking charge of games in the amateur, regional and local leagues. He first started refereeing matches in 1996 and five years later, was promoted to the Select Group Referees list which officiate at the highest level – the Premier League.

Foy’s first Premier League match was uneventful. Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic played out a sterile 0-0 draw in December 2001. His next match was a game between Aston Villa and Everton, the only game he would referee in his career involving the Toffees. There was no benefit on the evening but it was later discovered that Foy is an Everton fan and consequently, appointments are made to avoid such issues in the future.

In 2002, it was the late Ugo Ehiogu who was the first recipient of a red card from Chris Foy in the Premier League. The Middlesbrough defender was given his marching orders during a 1-0 defeat at Upton Park to West Ham United.

In 2005-2006, Foy dished out a staggering 10 red cards in just 41 matches across the top three divisions in England. Among those dismissals was one for Arjen Robben in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Sunderland. The Dutch winger had just scored the winning goal for the league leaders and he promptly jumped into the visiting fans to celebrate. However, having been booked earlier in the match, Robben was accused of “over-celebrating” and was shown a second yellow by Foy, meaning a red card headed his way. It was extremely harsh but Foy was only following a new directive which has never been welcomed with much grace by watching fans.

Chris Foy’s final match was Manchester City’s final day victory over Southampton in 2014-2015 which was also Frank Lampard’s final game in the Premier League. He retired at the end of the campaign and is now a senior referees coach for the PGMOB (Professional Game Match Officials Board), working under another former Premier League ref in Howard Webb.

He was never one to hog the headlines and that’s what made Chris Foy a decent and calm presence within the referees’ community.

Iconic Moments: Howard scores from his own area (January 2012)

Not many goalkeepers have scored in the Premier League. Peter Schmeichel, Asmir Begovic, Brad Friedel and Paul Robinson are four of the five lucky keepers to score. The fifth was the American shot-stopper Tim Howard.

In January 2012, Everton were facing bottom-placed Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park and were expected to win fairly comfortably. It was turning into a frustrating evening though for the home faithful with the scoreline remaining goalless until the 62nd minute.

Howard took a routine goal-kick which picked up plenty of speed in the air due to the blustery conditions on the evening. This completely confused Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal as the ball bounced over him and into the net. The crowd and Everton players celebrated but Howard didn’t. He felt slightly embarrassed for his opposite number. His 101-yard clearance that went in remains the longest-distance goal in Premier League history.

He said afterwards: “It was cruel. You saw the back fours and the keepers not being able to believe balls all night, and at the back one wrong step and it can be a nightmare. For our goal I was disappointed from a goalkeepers’ union standpoint. You never want to see that happen. It’s not nice, it’s embarrassing, so I felt for Adam but you have to move on from it.”

Bolton won the game 2-1 but it was Howard’s bizarre goal that is mainly remembered in this encounter.

Premier League Files: Sam Ricketts

Premier League Career: Hull City (2008-2009), Bolton Wanderers (2009-2012)

Sam Ricketts represented nine different clubs over the course of 16 years before a knee injury forced him to retire from professional football in November 2016. At the time, he was the club captain at Coventry City.

The ex-Welsh international was commonly deployed as a full-back but could play on either side of a back four and should an injury crisis develop, he would also chip in with a role at the heart of central defence. Ricketts played for both Hull City and Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League. These clubs produced the most fruitful spells of his career.

Ricketts came from a showjumping background. His father, Derek Ricketts was the world showjumping champion in 1978 and Uncle John Francome is a former jockey champion in horse racing and a respected TV pundit. As a teenager, he was tempted by the world of horse racing but elected to concentrate on football instead.

He began his career at Oxford United in October 2000 and joined Swansea City four years later after a spell in the non-league with Telford United. He helped Swansea win promotion to League One during his time in south Wales before moving to Hull City for £300,000 in 2006.

Three years later, Ricketts played an important role in Hull’s shock promotion to the Premier League in 2009 and made 29 appearances in his debut Premier League campaign as the Tigers’ stayed in the top-flight by the narrowest of margins at the expense of Newcastle United. Although Hull wanted to extend his contract, Ricketts’ performances had caught the attention of Gary Megson who brought him to Bolton Wanderers in July 2009.

Four months into his maiden season with the Trotters’, Ricketts was involved in one of the most comical own goals in Premier League history. At home to Blackburn Rovers, Ricketts got himself into a big muddle with goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. As the Finnish goalkeeper came out to sweep up a Blackburn free-kick, Ricketts headed the ball towards his own goal, leaving Jaaskelainen stranded and Blackburn given a gift on their way to a 2-0 victory. The reactions of both players summed up embarrassment and massive strain.

In February 2011, he snapped an Achilles tendon in an FA Cup tie against Wigan Athletic which ruled him out of action for the best part of seven months. When he returned to the fold, Bolton were in the midst of a relegation dogfight. He scored on his first game back on New Years’ Eve against Wolverhampton Wanderers but it would be a losing battle against top-flight status. Bolton dropped out of the league on the final day of the season.

He stayed for one more campaign in Lancashire before moving to Wolves and therefore reuniting with his manager from the Swansea days, Kenny Jackett. As club captain, he helped spearhead the Black Country club make an instant return to the Championship with over 100 points. He ended his career with Coventry and played 56 times for the Sky Blues’ before quitting the game on medical advice. He won 52 international caps for Wales.

Premier League Files: John Sheridan

Premier League Career: Sheffield Wednesday (1992-1996), Bolton Wanderers (1997-1998)

Irishman John Sheridan spent the majority of his playing career in Yorkshire. In the Premier League, his career was largely spent at Sheffield Wednesday, featuring for the Owls’ in the first four seasons of the new generation. For the past 11 years, he has been a regular manager in the Football League. He has just finished his fifth spell managing Oldham Athletic, counting caretaker spells.

Born in Stretford and not far away from Old Trafford, many thought Sheridan would become a boyhood Manchester United fan. In fact, he followed Manchester City at a young age and he would start his career with the Citizens. He never quite made the grade with City and ended up making his professional league debut for Leeds United in 1982. Sheridan was very popular with the fans at Elland Road and stayed with the club for seven years, showing great loyalty even in difficult days for the Yorkshire side.

Howard Wilkinson wasn’t his biggest fan though and moved him onto Nottingham Forest in 1989. However, he was sporadically used by Brian Clough. In fact, he turned out just once for Forest in the League Cup and ultimately joined Sheffield Wednesday exactly three months after arriving at the City Ground. It was the fans at Hillsborough who would see the best of Sheridan’s playing career. He would make nearly 200 league appearances for the club. This included scoring the winning goal against Manchester United in the 1991 League Cup final.

He was an integral part of the exciting Owls’ sides in the early 1990s under Ron Atkinson and then, Trevor Francis. Traditionally, Sheffield Wednesday were slow starters but would always come good. They finished third in 1992, reached both domestic cup finals in 1993 and in 1994, were semi-finalists in the League Cup. Individually, Sheridan’s most memorable moment of his Premier League career came at Old Trafford in April 1993. He scored a penalty to give Sheffield Wednesday the lead but victory would be denied by two dramatic Steve Bruce headers in injury-time.

Trevor Francis’ departure at the end of the 1994-1995 season would ultimately spell the beginning of the end for Sheridan’s Sheffield Wednesday career. David Pleat would only pick him occasionally and he was loaned to Birmingham City in the autumn of 1996. He was snapped up by Bolton Wanderers in November of the same year and won promotion to the Premier League as Division One champions. He would play another 12 times in the top-flight but couldn’t prevent the Trotters being relegated back to the second-tier on the final day of the 1997-1998 season.

He would finish his playing career at Oldham, featuring 114 times for them before retiring in 2004, a few months short of his 40th birthday. Internationally, he won 34 caps for the Republic of Ireland and was part of the Irish squads at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals. He began his management career with the club he finished his playing days with in 2006 and has also had spells managing Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle, Notts County and Newport County AFC. He returned to the dugout at Oldham in January 2017 but lost his job with them just eight months later.

The Managers: Gary Megson

Premier League Clubs Managed: Norwich City (1995), West Bromwich Albion (2002-2003, 2004), Bolton Wanderers (2007-2009)

Abrasive is one of the best words to sum up Gary Megson’s management career. If he liked you, you’d play pretty well and frequently too. If you fell out with him, Megson could be a nightmare for your career. He was never the fans’ popular choice at any of the clubs he managed which probably explains why his best finish in top-flight management is 13th with Bolton Wanderers in 2008-2009.

In his playing days, Megson was a tough-tackling, committed defensive midfielder who would play for nine different clubs. The best time of his career was during two spells with Sheffield Wednesday in the mid-1980s, scoring 25 goals in 233 appearances. His worst spell was a five-month period at Nottingham Forest where he didn’t make a single appearance and the late Brian Clough described him as “he couldn’t trap a bag of cement!” Ouch!

Brief fling at Norwich

Megson featured in the first three seasons of the Premier League as a player at Norwich City and when Mike Walker abruptly quit for Everton in January 1994, Megson combined his playing role with a coaching position, working as assistant manager to John Deehan. Towards the end of the 1994-1995 season, Deehan walked away from the job and under-fire owner Robert Chase elected to promote Megson into the hottest of hotseats.

He had five games to try and save the club’s Premier League status but collected just a single point from those matches. Norwich’s relegation to Division One was confirmed on the final Saturday of the season at Elland Road. They collected just 11 points after Christmas which saw them plummet from seventh at the midway point to relegation.

Megson did leave Carrow Road that summer to resume his playing career at Lincoln City and Shrewsbury Town but was back at Norwich before 1995 was out. Martin O’Neill had left for Leicester City but there was to be no magic spark for Megson. The Canaries’ finished a dreary 15th in Division One and he left that summer (this time for good), to seek further opportunities in management.

Beating the odds with the Baggies

Management spells followed at Blackpool, Stockport County and Stoke City. There were good sequences with all these sides but Megson just missed out on possible playoff positions. In March 2000, he was hired by West Bromwich Albion. He preserved their second-tier status against all odds and then spearheaded the Baggies’ to first a playoff finish in 2001, before promotion to the top-flight for the first time in 16 years in 2001-2002. In the closing weeks, Albion had obliterated an 11-point disadvantage on their Black Country rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers to finish runners-up to Manchester City. An unexpected Premier League chance was there for the supporters to savour.

There were no surprises though that relegation followed a year later. Just six wins from 38 matches were achieved and there were to be no wins on home soil from the end of November onwards. In many games, Albion competed well enough but they simply didn’t have the ultimate quality to stay up. Megson mounted a successful promotion campaign the following season but by the summer of 2004, the relationship between the manager and his owner Jeremy Peace had become strained.

It became known that some players weren’t keen on playing for Megson. In 2004, ex-Coventry City forward Darren Huckerby had a choice of joining either Norwich City or West Brom. He chose the former and didn’t hold back either on criticising Megson’s coaching style when asked why he signed for Norwich. He said: “I told him I didn’t like the way he coached, I didn’t like the way he shouted at his players and didn’t like the way he treated seasoned professionals like 15-year-olds. I was just being honest with him. I said: “I’ve seen you on the sidelines and you look like a crazed animal.”

In September 2004, Megson’s job appeared to be under threat after a poor start to Albion’s Premier League return. A month later, he confirmed he would leave at the end of the season and the board decided this was a good reason to wield the axe. Three days after a 3-0 loss to relegation rivals Crystal Palace, Megson left the Hawthorns. He wouldn’t return to the Premier League until October 2007.

Never popular at Bolton

When appointed, the fans at the Reebok Stadium were not impressed with the choice. Megson had been hired despite having only been in charge for nine games and 41 days at Leicester City. He took over with Bolton in the bottom three, having amassed just five points from 10 matches under Sammy Lee’s difficult stint. There was early progress though, including a first home win in 30 years over champions Manchester United.

League form was still ropey in 2008 though. Star striker Nicolas Anelka was sold to Chelsea and no obvious replacement came in. In early April, Bolton slipped back into the bottom three but they rallied to take 11 points from their last five matches and therefore stayed up. It was Megson’s first survival as a Premier League manager.

2008-2009 was a progressive season. He spent £13.2 million on Johan Elmander and Fabrice Muamba in the summer transfer window and guided the club to eighth in the table by November 2008. That was good enough for Megson to claim his one and only Manager of the Month award. Although they dropped to 13th by the season’s end, relegation talk was never considered all season for the Trotters.

It was a different story in 2009-2010. Bolton led several matches but couldn’t close games out and by Christmas, they were in the dreaded drop zone. After throwing away a two-goal lead at home to Hull City to draw 2-2 with their rivals in distress, the board elected to sack Megson two days before 2009 drew to a close. His last management job was at Sheffield Wednesday which ended in February 2012 after a derby loss to Sheffield United.

After a lengthy spell out of the game, Megson returned to West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2017, becoming Tony Pulis’ assistant manager at The Hawthorns. It is a new role and a new challenge for him after being the no.1 for such a long time.

Premier League Files: Peter Beardsley

Premier League Career: Everton (1992-1993), Newcastle United (1993-1997), Bolton Wanderers (1997-1998)

Peter Beardsley had a magical football career that in terms of his playing days, spanned 20 years. He won multiple league championships during Liverpool FC’s last glory period in English football and represented England at two World Cup finals and the 1988 European Championships in West Germany.

Beardsley’s achievements within the game can’t be ignored. His best days might have occurred just before the launch of the Premier League but he still played a significant part in Newcastle United’s free-flowing and entertaining approach they took to the new era of English football under Kevin Keegan.

After winning two league titles and the FA Cup in 1989, Beardsley was discarded by Liverpool FC boss Graeme Souness in the summer of 1991. Souness was reshaping the squad at Anfield and wanted to bring in a fresher, younger player. His decision to sell Beardsley to Merseyside rivals Everton didn’t make him that popular with either side of the city.

He scored 25 goals in two seasons at Goodison Park, including 10 in the first Premier League season. Sweetly for him, one of those goals was a winning goal in a Merseyside Derby against the Reds’ in December 1992. Beardsley became only the second player in the proud history of this famous fixture to have scored for both Liverpool FC and Everton.

The Toffees’ though were in financial trouble off-the-field. When hometown club Newcastle United offered them £1.5m for Beardsley’s services in July 1993, Everton simply needed to take the money, especially as Peter was now 32-years-old.

This was his second spell with the Magpies’, having played for them between 1983 and 1987. He had been Keegan’s strike partner then. Now, Kevin was his new manager and Beardsley flourished back on Tyneside. He scored 21 league goals in a formidable strike partnership with Andy Cole. Their total of 55 combined outscored several Premier League teams in their entitrely. Newcastle finished a fabulous third in their debut campaign and qualified for the UEFA Cup.

A broken cheekbone on the opening weekend of the following season saw Beardsley miss early season matches and he had already hit his peak with his local club. He still achieved 13 goals in 1994-1995 to top Newcastle’s goalscorers’ chart after Cole had departed for Manchester United in January 1995. Beardsley almost captained the club to the ultimate prize in 1996 but the club threw away a 12-point lead and it was the Red Devils’ who claimed their third title in four seasons instead.

When Alan Shearer arrived at St James’ Park for a world-record transfer fee in the summer of 1996, Beardsley switched into a deeper midfield role to accommodate the striking talents of Shearer and Les Ferdinand. His role became more restricted as the season continued and in August 1997, with Kenny Dalglish having replaced Keegan in the dugout, Beardsley was sold to Bolton Wanderers for £450,000. He featured 21 times in 1997-1998 for the Trotters’ but couldn’t stop them sliding back into Division One after one season in the Premier League. That was the end of his top-flight days. Peter finished his career with brief spells at Fulham, Hartlepool United and finally, two games for the Melbourne Knights in Australia before hanging up his boots in 1999.

He immediately returned to Newcastle United once he finished playing to start a successful coaching career. He has spent that time working mainly with the club’s reserves’ side and training youngsters how to finish as an attacking coach. Considering his fantastic goalscoring ratio and record, these young talents have a fine tutor to listen to.